Since fifth grade, Luissa Kiprono, D.O., MBA, MS, FACOG, knew she would be a doctor. There were nine other kids in her elementary school class that also wanted to become doctors, but she was the only one who pursued the career. Later, her own high-risk pregnancies led Dr. Kiprono to further specialize in Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM).
Dr. Kiprono currently serves as the practice medical director for Texas Perinatal Group in San Antonio, Texas, and, in December 2020, completed her second master’s degree and now holds a Physician Executive Masters in Business Administration (PE MBA).
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A calling to women’s health
Over her career, Dr. Kiprono has committed herself to providing quality care to women worldwide. When practicing in other countries, Dr. Kiprono says it’s important to keep in mind cultural differences. “Last year, when I was working in Kenya, I visited one of their biggest hospitals where it is not unusual to have large rooms with two to three patients in one bed. There are still many patients who deliver at home because they either don’t have the resources or have to travel extremely long distances to get to the hospital.” She mentions that in many countries she’s visited, the ratio of patients to clinicians is very skewed, often leaving medical staff overwhelmed. Despite the challenges she’s seen, Dr. Kiprono says it’s inspiring to see the theme of quality patient care in every hospital.
“I know this is my calling,” Dr. Kiprono says. “I have my own LLC, and when I retire, I would like to set up telemedicine teaching programs for rising clinicians in high-risk pregnancy care and help decrease pregnant women and their unborn baby’s mortality rates all over the world. I want to be able to offer medical assistance in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, where consistent and safe prenatal care for pregnant women is practically nonexistent.”
In addition, Dr. Kiprono would like to form teams with both an MFM and neonatologist to teach safe obstetrical and neonatal care in rural hospitals. Dr. Kiprono knows this is a big undertaking but believes the secret to success will be partnering with people who have the same mindset and goals. Specifically, finding people who are committed to teaching and learning from each other.
Becoming a leader
Reflecting over the time she’s been practicing, Dr. Kiprono states she’s had almost two different careers: one as a doctor and another as a leader. While her desire to be a doctor was innate, becoming a leader was a transformational process. Through her experience, five things have stood out as the qualities of a strong leader:
- Practice what you preach. A good leader works with their team on new initiatives and is open to new ideas.Strong leaders should do “rounds” at a practice—stopping to ask and listen. It’s essential not just to hear but listen.
- Ask for honest feedback from your peers. Engagement and caring for others makes big waves in a medical practice.
- Be open to constructive criticism and don’t belittle others who have differing opinions.
- Stay humble and never forget where you came from. All of us were once a child, a student or a resident, and were given the chance to make mistakes and learn from them. No one is born knowing all the answers.
- Know that knowledge is meant to be shared, not kept. View every moment as an opportunity to teach your staff and peers something new—and subsequently, a chance for you to learn something from them.
The transition to Mednax
Having traveled the world, Dr. Kiprono has been a part of many organizations, but she says MEDNAX stands out above the rest. “We are a very friendly and communicative physician-based organization. We try every day to be better, and it falls on listening ears,” she says. She remembers walking into the room during her first medical director’s meeting in 2019 and being surprised at the number of people who wanted to introduce themselves and get to know her. “I even had lunch with Dr. Roger Medel. We discussed the importance of MFM telemedicine as the future of our organization. To me, that experience was worth a thousand words!” she exclaims.
Dr. Kiprono says she is so grateful to be at an organization that values clinician input and looks forward to continuing teaching and improving women’s access to pregnancy care worldwide.
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