The road to obstetrics-gynecology began with my fascination with women's health and has developed through intellectual stimulation, clinical satisfaction, and personal exploration. Prior to medical school, I volunteered and worked in women's health. These experiences led me to medical school, and throughout the classroom years I developed a keen sense that I wanted to further my passion through a career in obstetrics-gynecology. Finally, during clinical rotations I discovered my aptitude for surgery, obstetrics, and preventive medicine.
When I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cell Biology, I found myself with a highly technical degree that prepared me for basic science laboratory work. However, after one summer in an electrophysiology lab, I yearned for human interaction. As a result I took a position with Planned Parenthood to expand clinical and educational services to a clinically underserved area in North Lake Tahoe. Through this experience I created a novel high school family planning curriculum, developed a pregnancy prevention group that focused on the role of young men, and pioneered a mobile women's clinic to deliver health care to underserved women. I thoroughly enjoyed educating women and providing clinical services, but was frustrated by the limitations of my education. The limitations sparked my desire to enter medical school.
During the basic science courses I was naturally drawn towards the pathophysiology of the female reproductive tract. Wishing to apply this knowledge clinically, I became an active member of our school's outreach clinic for women. Once a month, under physician supervision, my colleagues and I provided Pap smears, STI testing, and exams to medically underserved women in the local community. I felt at ease discussing female health and illness with women, and it delighted me to provide services to women who may not otherwise receive medical care. Furthermore, in light of the high rate of cervical cancer in Nevada in comparison to other states I realized the importance of the clinical care we provided. After a few months of offering services, the number of Pap smears escalated and we were informed that the clinic may have to be canceled if we were not able to obtain funding. Based on Nevada's higher than average rate of cervical cancer, my colleague and I wrote and were subsequently rewarded a grant from AOA to secure funding for Pap smears. Obstetrics-gynecology allows me to continue to advocate for women's health and in particular, the underserved.
The summer after my first year of medical school I worked with my obstetrics-gynecology mentor. It was this clerkship that solidified my career choice of obstetrics-gynecology. This experience was my first glimpse into the daily life of a physician in this particular specialty. For one month, I worked along his side and scrubbed into surgeries, awoke in the middle of the night for deliveries, and saw patients in his office. I was constantly stimulated by the diversity of his patients and the variety of venues in which he worked. The opportunity to treat patients throughout their lifespan from adolescence to geriatrics and from puberty to childbirth and through menopause is particularly appealing. His dedication and pure love for women's health was infectious and something I hope to apply to my own practice.
Throughout my clinical rotations my interest in women's health was consistently confirmed. During surgery, I discovered my propensity for skilled procedures and ability for preciseness, but missed the follow-up and personal interactions with my patients. Internal and family medicine interested me intellectually, but I missed the hands-on procedures. During my third year, the obstetrics-gynecology rotation enabled me to combine the technical skills of surgery with the continuity of primary care. It also provided a venue to build trusting, long-term relationships with patients. My long-term dedication to women's health and thoughtful exploration of this career makes me an excellent candidate for residency in obstetrics-gynecology. My energy, leadership, and teamwork capabilities are all assets that I will share as a resident in your program. Thank you for your consideration.
Dr. Alice Rothchild (born 1948) is a Jewish-American obstetrician, filmmaker, and social-justice activist. Her films include the documentary Voices Across the Divide, the co-winner of the 2013 Audience Award at the Boston Palestine Film Festival (with A World Not Ours). Rothchild is the co-founder and co-chair of American Jews for a Just Peace—Boston, the co-organizer for the AJJP Health and Human Rights Project, and a coordinating committee member of Jewish Voice for Peace—Boston. Rothchild and her husband currently reside in Brookline, Massachusetts with their two daughters. They are also members of the Boston Workmen’s Circle Yiddish chorus.
Born in Boston in 1948, Rothchild spent the majority of her childhood in Sharon, Massachusetts before moving to Brookline, MA for her final year of high school. Rothchild’s mother was a teacher and a writer specializing in Jewish issues. As practicing Jews, Rothchild’s family observed Jewish holidays and were active in the synagogue. They were members of Temple Israel, a Boston synagogue, where Rothchild attended Hebrew School and had her Bat Mitzvah.
During her time at Bryn Mawr College, Rothchild became interested in US foreign policy and ending the Vietnam War. Graduating in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Bryn Mawr College, Rothchild moved on to Boston University School of Medicine. Rothchild’s interest in the intersections of human rights, social justice, and medicine continued at Boston University, where she joined her first awareness group. Post-graduation, she obtained a medical internship at Lincoln Hospital. She has worked as an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Beth Israel Hospital (now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), and as the Medical Director for the Women’s Community Health Center (1977-1979).
Following her residency, Rothchild founded the Urban Woman and Child Health Inc. in Jamaica Plain, MA in 1979. The non-profit was created as a marriage of physicians, midwives, and nurse-practitioners and offered ob-gyn and pediatric care to the urban poor, neighborhood and women’s health centers, and the general populace. She would work with the Urban Woman and Child Health Inc. until 1988. In a promotion from her previous residency, Rothchild was on staff for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center since 1974. She was also an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School until 2013. Rothchild retired from clinical medicine in 2013. However, she has been a member of the Harvard Community Health Plan (now the Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates) since 1988, and is currently a Corresponding Member of the Faculty for Harvard Medical School.
Through her work with Boston Workmen’s Circle, Rothchild came to co-found American Jews for a Just Peace. She is the current co-chair of that organization, co-organizer of the ACJJP Health and Human Rights Project, and coordinating committee member for Jewish Voice for Peace—Boston.
Rothchild was selected as the Honorary Co-Chairwoman for Our Bodies, Ourselves 25th Anniversary. She had previously contributed to the first edition of Our Bodies, Our Selves.
In 1996, Rothchild was honored with the Key Contribution Award from Harvard Community Health Plan. She was named one of the ten Jewish Women to Watch by Jewish Women International in 1998, and placed as one of Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston’s Women Doctors” in 2001. She has received a Community Service Award from Harvard Medical School Office for Diversity and Community Partnership in recognition of her work with the Jewish American Medical Project in 2004. Rothchild was listed in Barbara Love’s Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975 (2006)
- On The Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion (2014) – on Just World Books
- Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience (2010) – on University of Chicago Press
- Voices Across the Divide (2013) – Documentary