Donnica Moore is influencing women’s health through her podcast and other forms of “medutainment.”
Donnica Moore was a junior studying pre-medicine at Princeton before she met her first female physician. It was the late 70s, at the height of America’s cultural revolution, and she and her female friends were having their first gynecological appointments.
“None of us knew a woman gynecologist,” she says. “I had never even met a woman physician in person.”
That same year, she discovered a growing organization called the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). At a membership meeting she connected with Lila Wallis, MD, known today as the godmother of women’s medicine. Wallis introduced Moore to a roomful of female doctors and, throughout their decades-long relationship, to the power of advocacy and networking.
A nationally recognized women’s health advocate, author, medical advisor and media commentator, Moore has been involved with AMWA ever since, establishing UB’s first chapter during her first year in medical school and later serving on its board of directors.
In 2022, Moore received AMWA’s 2022 Lila Wallis Health Award for her work to advance women’s health, education, and research. “I’ve come full circle,” she says of the honor, named after her longtime mentor.
A Brooklyn native, Moore initially chose the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences because it was affordable, had a strong reputation and was an easy flight from home. But it became much more than that, she says.
Among Moore’s earliest influences were pioneering ENT physician Linda Brodsky, the first advisor of UB’s AMWA chapter; revered professors Peter Nickerson and Alastair Brownie; and Gloria Roblin, one of the few women on medical faculty at the time and who offered, Moore says, what may have been one of the first medical school classes on human sexuality. Her UB mentors challenged her, helped open doors, and fired her ambition to study endocrinology and obstetrics/ gynecology to improve medical research, treatment fand outcomes or women.
Now 60, “Dr. Donnica” as she’s called, has built a remarkable and unconventional medical career. A mother of two, Moore has practiced clinical medicine and worked for the past 30 years as a published researcher, board member and sought-after public speaker for consumer and medical groups, including AMWA and the National Council on Women’s Health, among many others.
Moore is perhaps best known for her cheeky, self-described “medutainment” style in her hundreds of television and radio interviews on women’s health, and as the medical expert for programs like “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and NBC’s “The Today Show.”
Since the late 1980s, she has also been recognized for her influential role in educating physicians, politicians and the pharmaceutical industry about under-researched women’s health issues, starting with her award-winning work in public relations at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals (now Novartis).
The founder and president of Sapphire Women’s Health Group LLC, a multi-media health communications and consulting firm, Moore hosts “In the Ladies Room with Dr. Donnica,” a podcast focusing on demystifying women’s health.
In 2021, she received a SUNY Honorary Degree. Her acceptance speech paid tribute to her UB professors and highlighted the importance of seizing opportunities, no matter how challenging they seem to achieve.
“I was always a lemonade type person,” she says. “Then my daughter changed the saying to ‘when life gives you lemons, make grape juice—then sit back and watch everyone try to figure out how you did it!’ I love that, doing something totally unexpected. That has been the story of my career.”
Published February 9, 2022