Continuing our physician spotlight series on the blog, we recently caught up with Dr. Gerard Letterie and asked him a few questions.
SRM: Where is your hometown?
My home is Seattle. I grew up on the east coast in inner city Philadelphia. The neighborhood was a mixed bag demographically. My extended family lived in close proximity to one another (not unusual for that area); so shuttling from household to household was a daily event. Most remain in that area still!
SRM: When did you first think about going into medicine?
I started thinking about it sometime in high school. I was taught by Jesuits who emphasized service to others. I thought working in medicine would be a powerful way to serve people and with family being such an important value growing up, it led me to obstetrics and gynecology and then to infertility.
I love helping people build families but also the power that medicine has given me to participate in medical missions abroad in Africa and the South Pacific.
SRM: What do you find the most challenging part of practicing fertility medicine?
I think the most challenging part is that outcomes are uncertain. I wish I had a guarantee I could give patients: follow my advice and..voila..you’ll be proud parents. Emotional support is paramount. It can be hard on patients to accept that they require assistance, especially if they are otherwise well and they see fertility come easily for others.
You have to treat yourself gently when you’re a patient and that can be the most difficult part to convey to our patients. Kindness, patience and small steps to achieve a big goal are bylines I like to use.
SRM: What do you do to relax?
Time with my family is at the top of the list. I also love sculling on Lake Union early in the morning. It’s the sound of water beneath the boat and the physical effort needed to move it forward. Being on the water when the sun rises and silhouettes Seattle is a bonus!
Click here to learn a little more about Dr. Gerard Letterie