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Faculty Focus: Janet Andrews, MD

Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Janet Andrews, MDMeet Janet Andrews, clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology - maternal/fetal medicine.

What is your hometown?

Montreal, Canada

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

I joined the faculty in 1998.

How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?

As a psychology major, I was fascinated by behavioral disorders and aspired to become a clinical psychologist. Following college graduation, I worked as a research assistant for Howard Gardner, PhD, a developmental psychologist who studied the creativity of brain-damaged adults and exceptional children.

What interested you to pursue a career in OB/GYN?

Before I started clinical rotations, I had a summer research job performing Doppler flow studies on fetal umbilical arteries. It was an exciting time for Doppler research.

As investigators, we were just beginning to understand the clinical application of Doppler flow of the fetus.

Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?

I have been fortunate to work with so many inspiring teachers. Two stand out for their impact at different stages in my training.

Robert D. Collins, MD, a Vanderbilt pathologist, was an iconic role model to so many medical students and physicians. He instilled professionalism and the true meaning of doctor or “teacher” in all of us. He stressed the importance of being organized, focused, and prepared.

Frank J. Zlatnik, MD, was one of my most influential mentors during residency training. During his long career at the University of Iowa, Dr. Zlatnik mentored hundreds of students, house staff, and faculty. Few students and residents could forget his morning rounds, marked by such a wonderful sense of humor and emphasis on clinical accuracy and relevancy.

How or why did you choose the University of Iowa?

My husband is an infectious diseases faculty member, and we moved to Iowa City in 1998 so that he could pursue a fellowship in clinical microbiology.

The University of Iowa’s faculty members are united to provide exceptional patient care while advancing innovations in research and medical education. How does your work help translate new discoveries into patient-centered care and education?

Our prenatal practice integrates the most recent advancements in human genetic screening and molecular technology.

What kinds of professional opportunities or advantages does being a faculty member at an academic medical center provide?

Working in a constant learning environment that encourages us to provide the most comprehensive and highest level care for our patients.

Please describe your professional interests.

My subspecialty is maternal-fetal medicine, the practice of high-risk pregnancy. A woman’s pregnancy may be considered high risk because of maternal or fetal complications.

What led to your interest in your field?

The University of Iowa has a rich tradition of excellence and leadership in the area of maternal-fetal medicine. I am fortunate to have trained under many of these current and former Iowa faculty members who are nationally respected for their research and clinical expertise.

How does working in a collaborative and comprehensive academic medical center benefit your work?

We work in a constant learning environment–whether we are reviewing a pregnant woman’s delivery plan at a multidisplinary care conference or listening to our peers at weekly grand rounds. It is this perpetual learning environment that encourages us to provide the most comprehensive and highest level care for our patients. I know it sounds cliché, but I learn something new every day!

What are some of your outside interests?

Discovering my Cuban ancestry and family. Traveling with my husband and son. Learning Spanish. Visiting friends and family who are scattered across the country. Hockey. Running.

Do you have an insight or philosophy that guides you in your professional work?

Be considerate of the patient’s experience of care at all times.

If you could change one thing about the world (or the world of medicine/science), what would it be?

Reduce maternal mortality to zero. No woman should lack the resources for a safe childbirth.

What is the biggest change you've experienced in your field since you were a student?

It’s too hard to pick one. There have been so many major changes over the past three decades‒from genetic testing using cell-free fetal DNA to in utero fetal surgery.

What one piece of advice would you give to today's students?

Be on time, be prepared, and smile!

What do you see as "the future" of medicine/science?

Advances in genomics will allow for increasingly precise and personalized care for women with complicated pregnancies.

In what ways are you engaged with the greater Iowa public?

I have participated in public service trips to Latin America, including Guatemala and Cuba. Last fall, our group brought medical equipment and textbooks to resource-poor hospitals in Cuba.

I am an active participant at my alma mater, Bowdoin College, serving on the Alumni Council, Alumni Interview Committee, and pre-med discussion panels on campus.

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