Dr. Anna Burgansky, chief of the Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Why I care for women: The most rewarding aspect for me is the ability to create a lifelong connection with my patients. From teenage years through adulthood, I help them plan a family, guide them through pregnancy and childbirth, and keep them in good health for many years after. One of the defining moments in my career was caring for a patient in the aftermath of a severe complication. The patient had preeclampsia with severe hypertension, which caused her to have an acute stroke. She had an emergency cesarean and the baby did well. The patient, however, required emergency brain surgery, a long ICU stay, and extensive rehabilitation. Seeing the long-term effects on the patient and her family was devastating. The case sparked my interest in preventable maternal mortality and morbidities and led to my involvement in 2015 in the Safe Motherhood Initiative, which works to reduce maternal deaths and complications in hospitals across New York State. Today, I continue this work locally and regionally, focusing on improving clinical guidelines and standardizing the way clinical teams respond to common obstetric emergencies.
Words of wisdom: There is strong scientific evidence that pregnancy is an important opportunity to predict women’s future health risks. We know that women with common pregnancy-related complications, such as preeclampsia, preterm birth, low fetal weight, placental abruption, and diabetes are at significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. For these women, regular care with their primary care provider, lifestyle modification, regular screening, and early intervention are critically important. Women need to know about their future health risks and use every opportunity to prevent chronic illness and disability.