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Physician uses the media to promote a better understanding of women’s health
Story by Grace Lazzara; photo by Carolina Rivera
The roots of Donnica Moore’s (MD ’86) vocation as a women’s health advocate grew during her time at UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences—but not in precisely the way you’d guess. Then, medical schools everywhere defined a women’s health issue simplistically as any issue that didn’t apply to men. Moore says she continually found herself asking, “‘How does this apply to women?’ All our information was based on a 75-kilogram male.”
That intellectual curiosity, and feminism, stoked her career-long efforts to educate people on women’s health issues. Astutely applying a high public profile formed by extensive national media exposure, Moore trains a spotlight on topics like hormone replacement therapy, breast implants, osteoporosis and the HPV vaccine. She uses media appearances, consulting, public policy and more to build “awareness, interest, action and advocacy” around the issues she takes up.
When Moore was a medical resident, she chose gynecology because it was “an area where you often have positive outcomes.” Fate intervened when her own health problems (she’s had three major spinal surgeries) precluded the physical demands of being an ob-gyn. She moved into the world of pharmaceutical research, where she had the chance to interact with opinion leaders and do lots of public speaking.
At the same time, Moore was rising through the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) ranks, becoming president-elect in 1993. The next day—literally—NBC invited an AMWA representative to speak on air about women’s health problems. Moore stepped in, her natural ability and poise encouraging NBC to call again (and again). She ultimately became the women’s health contributor for a six-and-a-half-minute weekly segment on the network’s “Later Today” show. Over the years, “Dr. Donnica” has contributed regularly to ABC’s “Good Morning America Health” and made hundreds of appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The View,” CNN, “The Dr. Oz Show” and more.
“My goal,” she explains, “is to use my time on air to help doctors and patients with their time in the office to help women put their health issues in perspective.” In addition to the broadcast pulpit she wields so well, Moore is an active presence online, bringing attention to women’s health issues at her award-winning website, www.DrDonnica.com, and as a women’s health expert on several other sites.
Moore also works tirelessly in other venues to help define women’s health issues more broadly. While working at NBC, she founded Sapphire Women’s Health Group in Far Hills, N.J., a holding company for her women’s health education, communications and consulting activities. Through Sapphire, Moore works with organizations and corporations to advance the idea that “women’s health is anything that affects the health of women, period.”
Moore recognizes that her visibility has real value for people who don’t have ready access to information or who might be misinformed. After she appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show” discussing the subtle early symptoms of ovarian cancer, for instance, the show later featured women who had seen Moore’s segment, followed up with their doctors, and been diagnosed and successfully treated.
Says Moore, “The gratifying thing is I still have the opportunity to save lives.”
Brooklyn (Cypress Hills), N.Y.
Making photo scrapbooks for family and friends
Fondest Buffalo memory
Picnics near the Law Library
Fondest UB memory
The medical school follies!
Last book read
“The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides
Favorite vacation spot
Lake Como, Italy
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