Self-disclosure. I feel as if I must have been living under a rock. It wasn’t until just the other day that I first read about, or even heard the term, “free birth”. I‘m feeling rather sheepish about this, because… well… I’m an Obstetrician. I’m an Obstetrician, and I’ve been one since 1994. I thought that, when it came to movements around unconventional births, I’d heard it all… from the birth planners; to the water movement birthers; to the “plant my placenta” enthusiasts, I thought that I knew about everything out there. Clearly, I didn’t. And, while I was familiar...Read More
Jaishree Ellis, MD
Dr. Ellis was born and raised in New York City. She attended the University of Pennsylvania where she received her undergraduate degree in English in 1990. From there, she went on to medical school at the University of Illinois and graduated with her MD in 1994. Her residency training was in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harlem Hospital Center of the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, and was completed in 1998. She is a Board Certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist and has had the opportunity to practice medicine and be of service to patients of different ethnicities and socioeconomic groups. Some of the work that she feels has had the most impact has been with women who have come from traditionally underserved communities.
She has also made the idea of empowering patients through knowledge an important part of her career. For 18 years, she has delivered speeches, workshops and lectures to her patients as well as to the general public. Her presentations have been on women’s health and well being with a focus on helping women to make the best healthcare choices for themselves. She has spoken at churches, schools, libraries, hotels and restaurants. She has also written articles in women’s health aimed at delivering information to the community.
For 2 years, she served as a Medical Correspondent to an ABC affiliate station in East Texas. Dr. Ellis speaks English as well as Spanish, and has had the opportunity to chair the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Houston North West Medical Center.
She continues to seek out opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the women that she serves.
My life’s dream was to become a physician. Many years ago, I was blessed and able to see that dream come to fruition. At that time, my desire to be a physician rested in the challenge of it; the ability to be all that I could be. I planned to do the best job possible, but in retrospect, I realize that my motives were very much about what I wanted and who I wanted to be. I cannot tell you that I gave a great deal of thought to the lives that I would impact. I did not understand that providing a service to women was not the same thing as serving women. I did not understand that despite the status, respect (and sometimes grandeur) that are awarded to physicians, in its truest essence, medicine is a journey of service. I did not know the path that lay before me, and that at the end of that path, in order to do the best job possible, I would have to develop a servant’s heart.
It took some time, experience and life’s lessons in order for me to come to this awareness.
In the many years since my medical school graduation, I have had the privilege of meeting the health care needs of many women. I have held the honor of being their physician, advocate, and on many occasions, their confidant. What I have learned from working with the many women who entrusted their health and their lives to me, was that there are a few things that most patients need, which transcend conventional medical care. I believe that most patients need: a “safe” place in which to share their concerns (without judgment) as they relate to their medical histories, lifestyles and exposures; a place to come and receive information that will empower them to make the best decisions possible regarding their health and well-being; a place in which their spirits can be fed, as well as their physical selves, as spiritual fitness indelibly impacts physical health.
I have had the opportunity to offer women this safe haven; this place of empowerment and selfawareness; this place that teaches and reminds them that they must learn and practice selfcare; that there is a difference between selfishness and self-preservation; and that in order to live our lives abundantly, we must be able to distinguish between the two.
In this very fast-paced world in which we live, we receive so many messages, both overt and surreptitious, that we must “…do it all…”. We must have it all, otherwise we don’t measure up. As women, we are evolutionarily created to “build the nest”, nurture our young and keep our homes in order. However, for many women who have chosen jobs outside of their homes, there is a constant struggle to find balance with our personal lives, professional endeavors and civic responsibilities. Technology affords us the opportunity to accomplish tasks and goals more rapidly than we once did. But, what do we do with the extra time that technology has granted us? We often fill our plates until they are overrun, so that there is no longer extra time in our schedules and in our lives. In doing this, we sometimes lose our way, and forget what matters most. We tend to address our needs last, if at all; and in so doing, we cheat ourselves and those around us.
What I have learned through my patients and their experiences, as well as some hard won experiences of my own, is that I can only be my best self when I have taken care of myself, body and soul. If I fail to do those things, I will never be the mother, the daughter, the friend, sister, niece or physician that God intended for me to be.
I believe that a part of God’s will for me is to advocate for and teach the women that I serve; to help them to have a more global perspective of all of the factors that impact their health; to learn not to compartmentalize their physical health, and ignore their spiritual and emotional needs. These elements of who we are, are intrinsically linked to one another. And I believe that God desires for me to address the whole being who sits on my examining table or submits to surgery at my hand. I believe that He placed me here so that I can remind her to care for her whole self.
Certainly, I can offer definitive care for medical problems for some of my patients; for others, I can help them to manage lifelong and chronic illnesses. However, the greatest impact that I can have on the women that I serve is in helping them to nurture their own spirits as they tho about tending to their physical needs.
This blog will allow me yet another opportunity to serve others. It will permit me to place an unconventional spin on how we tend to approach health care; to highlight the lesser known elements that can have a profound effect upon how long and how well we live.
My prayer for the reader is that she is blessed with longevity of life, serenity of spirit and fulfillment of existence. If I can help her to achieve even the smallest fraction of those things, then I believe that I am carrying out the will that my God has for me.
Respectfully, Jaishree Ellis, MD
Articles by Jaishree Ellis, MD
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“That was hard to watch. You know that was hard to watch.” -Don Lemon (CNN) I walked past the television on my way to the kitchen, when I looked up and saw Don Lemon peering solemnly into the camera. “That was hard to watch.” For those of you who are Kanye fans (and even those who are not), you know exactly what I’m talking about. There was a lot of media build up and excitement prior to Kanye’s summit with Donald Trump on October 11, 2018. Some of it was simply media hype. For many, it was fanfare. For...Read More
Recently, America mourned the death of a woman known as the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin. While her life and all that she gave to the world were celebrated in grand fashion, many of us wondered about the illness that caused her death and whether we or our loved ones could be at risk for it. Pancreatic cancer. Known for its voracity and ability to cause a painful death, those who are familiar with it understand why it invokes fear. Many are asking if they might be at risk, and if so, what can be done about it....Read More