Barnes-Jewish Hospital | Washington University Physicians

Q&A

interviews from the inside

NEW LIFE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

BY CONNIE MITCHELL

PHOTOS BY GREGG GOLDMAN

Marta Perez, MD, Michael Chomat, MD, and their son, Paul, at home

In mid-March 2020, Marta Perez, MD, left her Florida-based private practice in obstetrics and gynecology to return to Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Perez had completed her obstetrics and gynecology residence at those institutions, and now her husband, Michael Chomat, MD, was finishing a pediatric cardiology fellowship at the School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and about to begin a pediatric intensive care fellowship.

Perez welcomed the move because it provided her with the opportunity to change the focus of her career. Rather than continuing in private practice, she wanted to return to academic medicine and focus exclusively on obstetrics. Now, working as an academic laborist, she serves as a hospital-based obstetrician who helps women deliver their babies and teaches residents and medical students about obstetrics.

Two factors in the timing of the move to St. Louis would prove to be extraordinary—for the world and for Perez. First, by early spring 2020, the scope and severity of a new coronavirus became evident worldwide, resulting in a pandemic. And second, Perez had learned she was pregnant with her first child, about to face many of the challenges and uncertainties her pregnant patients were facing.

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MATERNAL-FETAL & NEWBORN TRANSPORT SERVICES: MOBILIZING FOR MOMS

MATERNAL-FETAL & NEWBORN TRANSPORT SERVICES: MOBILIZING FOR MOMS

BY CONNIE MITCHELL
PHOTOS BY GARA DYSON & GREGG GOLDMAN

Jeannie Kelly, MD, MS, and Roxane Rampersad, MD, recently sat down to talk with me about the Maternal-Fetal & Newborn Transport Services, a fleet of aircraft and ambulances prepared to transport pregnant women and newborns in need of specialized care.

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THE CANCER DOODLER

THE CANCER DOODLER

BY STEPHANIE STEMMLER
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN DIPERSIO, MD, PHD | PHOTOS BY GREGG GOLDMAN

John DiPersio, MD, PhD, is deputy director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, and chief of the School of Medicine’s Division of Oncology. Beloved by patients, DiPersio is a highly regarded oncologist and researcher, who also is known for his interest in making art. He and his colleagues have been at the forefront of breakthroughs in cancer research, developing new drugs that have moved from the laboratory to patient care. He has led efforts to create personalized cancer immunotherapies that trigger a person’s own immune system to fight a specific type of cancer. Recently, Curiosus writer Stephanie Stemmler visited with DiPersio to talk about his research and his art.

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THE BRAIN GEEKS

THE BRAIN GEEKS

BY PAM MCGRATH
PHOTOS BY JAY FRAM

Eric Leuthardt, MD, and Albert Kim, MD, PhD, frequently engage in long talks together about the brain and the yet-to-be-solved mysteries of this complicated organ. Because both men are Washington University neurosurgeons treating patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Siteman Cancer Center, it could be assumed these conversations are a natural consequence of their mutual profession.

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COMPASSIONATE ADVOCATES FOR THE UNBORN

COMPASSIONATE ADVOCATES FOR THE UNBORN

BY PAM MCGRATH

Sarah Smith, RN, BSN, CLC, (at left, in the purple shirt) and Heather Weiler, RN, (in the colorful skirt) began their nursing careers in their 40s after working in other fields. Smith was an elementary and preschool teacher, sold real estate and worked in institutional development. Weiler held positions in physicians’ offices and worked as a medical claims processor. Both were working moms and both experienced the loss of a young child: Smith, a twin son after a difficult pregnancy; Weiler, the sudden, tragic death of a young nephew.

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HEATHER WERTIN'S WORLD OF HOPE

HEATHER WERTIN'S WORLD OF HOPE

BY PAM MCGRATH
PHOTOS BY JAY FRAM

From the time she was a nursing student in Houston, Heather Wertin, RN, BSN, MPH, now the manager of abdominal transplantation at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, was fascinated with the field of organ transplantation. Her first nursing job, at Texas Children’s Hospital, involved caring for patients before and after kidney and liver transplants. Eventually, she became the kidney transplant coordinator at that hospital.

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ART & HEALING

ART & HEALING

BY PAM MCGRATH
PHOTOS BY JAY FRAM

Ten years ago, Sarah Colby established the Arts + Healthcare program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. With a master of fine arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art, her background encompassed 25 years of teaching and administrative positions at art schools, community art centers and children’s arts programs in Baltimore, New York City, Cincinnati and St. Louis. Though her experiences had prepared her for most any position dealing with the arts and people, she tackled a new set of challenges when she became part of the complex world of a large teaching hospital.

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