Meet the Institute’s New Research Fellows

June 13, 2016

Photo: (from left) Drs. Olivia Perlmutt, Seema Shah and Cynthia Calixte.

Our incoming clinical research fellows will be conducting research in women’s reproductive health with mentorship from the Institute’s Director of Female Reproductive Health, Dr. Linda Prine. We asked the fellows to give some insight into who they are and what drew them to researching women’s health.

Institute for Family Health (Institute): Where are you from?

Seema Shah, MD, MPH (MSBI Residency in Urban Family Medicine, New York, 2015):  I was born and raised in Houston, TX and left after high school. I did anthropology undergraduate in Chicago and my MD/MPH training in Atlanta at Emory. Family medicine residency brought me to New York City, and I have stayed on for fellowships in reproductive health and research training.

Cynthia Calixte, MD (University of Maryland Family Medicine Residency, Baltimore, 2016):  I am from Long Island. I grew up in Valley Stream. I attended City College and was part of the Sophie Davis BS/MD program.

Olivia Perlmutt, MD (Columbia University Family Medicine Residency, New York, 2016):  I grew up in Chapel Hill, a university town full of intellectual stimulation and natural beauty. I will always think of myself as a North Carolinian, even if I don’t agree with much of the current political environment. For my adult life, I’ve spent time back and forth between North Carolina, Providence Rhode Island and New York City. I’m finishing up my Family Medicine Residency at New York Presbyterian-Columbia, a place that has given me an excellent foundation for urban family medicine.  Much of my family is still based in NC, while others have settled in New York City, and my mother’s side is scattered around Denmark.  We bounce back and forth in between, balancing the sound of cicadas with taxi cabs.

Institute:  What draws you to research, and what do you look forward to about the two year research fellowship?

Seema:  My path to medicine has been a windy one, largely to pursue my interest in public and community health. I am drawn to research as a public health tool, especially in the context of implementation of services and monitoring/evaluation. As a fellow, I am looking forward to gaining these additional skills – through courses, working with mentors, and getting hands-on training in family planning services delivery within our clinic network.

Cynthia: My interest in preventative health and reproductive health is what draws me to research. I’m thrilled to broaden my research skills and increase my scope of knowledge in reproductive health during the fellowship. I am also excited about pursuing an MPH degree.

Olivia: Thinking about my path to the Institute, research has always been a part of my educational and professional development.  Spending the last 3 years practicing clinical family medicine, my curiosity for larger themes of preventive care and social determinants of health care has blossomed.   I’m especially interested in women’s health, and see the power in data, process and proof to help our patients on both an individual and population basis.  I really look forward to improving my epidemiologic and critical reading skills, and being a force in the research community with my own work.  I can’t wait to pursue an MPH in Community Health, my major in college, now with the knowledge I’ve gained as a clinician.  I also look forward to joining the research team investigating best practices for screening women’s reproductive health needs.

Institute:  What drives you as a provider, and what attracted you to family medicine?

Seema: I love connecting with my patients, hearing their stories and working together for healthy selves and communities. Family medicine is the perfect fit for me, incorporating reproductive health with full-spectrum care and public health.

Cynthia: I love providing care to everyone of all ages. I enjoy seeing a variety of things which is why I chose family medicine.

Olivia: I always knew I wanted to be a primary care provider. I love the continuity of care, the ability truly know my patients, the intellectual stimulation in the variety of medicine, and the inherent social justice involved.  My passion thrives in women’s reproductive health care, but spans from the newborn to geriatrics.

Institute:  Tell us something interesting/unique about yourself.

Seema:  I can make a mean cup of Indian chai – I am looking into ways to make this a little side business of mine.

Cynthia: French was my first language and I went to preschool in Haiti.

Olivia:   My Danish roots have given me a taste for really salty licorice, in fact I’m eating it as I write. I want to buy a tent this year and explore the natural beauty of New York State. I recently had the privilege to officiate my little brother’s wedding- truly a special experience. I’m looking for apartments on the east side – any leads are greatly appreciated!

For more information about our clinical fellowship program and how to apply click here.

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