Alumni Profile

Dr. Mandy Pulliam
Class of 2003

What made you decide to pursue OB/Gyn as a career?

My Father is an OB/GYN, and my mother is a midwife, so I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I actually tried to become a pathologist, but each time I walked around in the OR to pick up specimens for frozen section, I realized I wanted to be a surgeon. I did one year of a pathology residency at MGH, and I remember AK Goodman bringing us an ovarian cyst with a 12-15 inch diameter. The pathology form said, “lost to follow up due to fear of cancer.” The exposure to gynecology even as a pathology resident was so compelling—AND I talked too much to ever be a very good pathologist! Eventually I made my way to OB/GYN, where I should have been all along.

What made you decide to go into urogynecology?

May Wakamatsu! I was a second-year resident on the MGH team with upper levels who wanted to go into MFM, and so I was given all of May’s cases that block. I loved it and never looked back.

What made you choose BWH/MGH as your residency?

That’s a complicated question for me. I joined BWH/MGH during my third year of residency. Before that I was a resident at Boston Medical Center. At that time, BU residents spent about 3 months of the 2nd year at MGH. I fell in love with the program and the people (though I also enjoyed BU!), and when the opportunity arose (someone departed BWH/MGH after two years), I took a chance and applied. It was my great fortune to be invited to join the residency!

What unique preparation did the BWH/MGH Ob/Gyn residency give you for your career?

Two things (among so many!). One was an opportunity for a lot of academically based public speaking. Its amazing to me when I think back on how many in house conferences (think Mec rounds!) and presentations we did—and how it has provided me a comfort with that type of public speaking that has served me so well. Also, and I know it sounds trite, but the studious adherence to high practice standards and patient care have been an amazing foundation.

How does your current position correspond to where you envisioned yourself as you finished residency?

Not at all! About a year ago I left clinical practice to take on the role of Chief Medical Officer at startup company called Renovia. Its been an adventure, and not one I anticipated. I was so compelled by the technology, and then I turned 50(!). I decided to make a leap and see what happens. It has been a humbling learning experience, but I am loving every minute.

Do you have a favorite memory from residency?

Night float on the OB floor at the Brigham with Aparna Shah and Stephanie Morris…I even think we wore tiaras one night for a reason I can’t remember.

What do you miss from residency?

Intense camaraderie. Although I certainly get more sleep these days, I sometimes remember being in the fray wistfully…

If you could go back and give advice to your intern class, what advice would you give?

Don’t hesitate- throw yourself into everything! If an opportunity presents itself to learn something new in the research or educational arena, hone your clinical skills, or build a relationship, DO IT! You will never be sorry for pushing yourself. It may not seem to be the case right now, but four years flies by, and the opportunities you have with an amazing group of educators, researchers and clinicians are yours for the taking.

What is the most rewarding part of your current job?

The thought of making a big impact with the new devices we are working on- and making a standard of care change if we succeed.