Alumni of our OB/GYN residency program often attribute their career growth to the faculty members who mentored them during their time here―and for many, Dr. Carlene Quashie has been one of the most influential. “Our alumni remember her fondly,” says Dr. David Jaspan, a Solvay Scholar and three-time “Excellence in Teaching” award recipient. “She has influenced many residents with her knowledge, professionalism and genuine concern for the women we care for. She has always had time for the residents, who often refer to her as their ‘residency mother.’”
On faculty with our residency program since 1993, Dr. Quashie is now director of our Maternal Fetal Medicine division. She is a graduate of SUNY Upstate Medical University who completed her residency and internship at Temple University School of Medicine and a fellowship with Pennsylvania Hospital. A 2012 Philadelphia magazine “Top Doc,” she is board certified in maternal/fetal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology and specializes in treating pregnant women who are at high risk or have medical complications such as HIV. She is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and an active member of the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Philadelphia Perinatal Society, and Einstein’s Credentials, Medical Education/Resident Promotion, and Patient Safety Improvement and Management Program committees.
Discover what drives Dr. Quashie’s quest for excellence in this inaugural Faculty Spotlight.
Q. Are you from this region?
A. No, I am from Trinidad. I came to the United States and went right into college in New York, and then I moved to Philadelphia for my residency at Temple. I have been living here since 1984.
Q. When did you decide you wanted to go into obstetrics and specialize in maternal fetal medicine?
A. I realized I didn’t really like general surgery because I didn’t want to spend all of my time in the OR, but I also didn’t want to spend all of my time in an office. OB/GYN work was appealing because it was a combination of medical and surgical management.
Q. What attracted you to working and teaching here?
A. After I finished my fellowship I was in private practice for three years―but after about six months I realized I missed actually working with residents. When the opportunity to teach in a residency program came up I felt I would be more satisfied teaching and mentoring residents.
Q. What aspects of our residency program do you feel make it stand out?
A. One of the things I really value about our program is that we have a group of attendings who all have a real interest in teaching. We work together very well; the cohesiveness of the group helps us to be able to teach better. If you have a lot of infighting or practice styles that are very different, it can inhibit that goal. Our common way of teaching and being able to pass that knowledge on is what I like about our department, especially since Dr. [Arnold] Cohen came on board. Of all of the people I have learned things from, Dr. Cohen has been the most influential person in my career.
Q. What do you like most about teaching and mentoring?
A. I like to watch the residents grow. They learn a lot in those four years, and it feels good to pass on knowledge. I had people who mentored me, so it’s just satisfying to show others what I learned and pass on some of the traits I think they should have. They need people to do that, and if you do it well you’ll be happy. It’s a bit like raising kids. I put a lot of effort into teaching them how to be a good person.
Q. Why do you think it’s important to be involved in professional committees and organizations?
A. Medicine is so vast; it’s a lot more than taking care of patients and teaching. It makes you more well-rounded to understand what’s going on in the hospital community. We’re just one department within a bigger group, so it’s important to be aware of what’s going on outside of the scenes of OB/GYN.
Q. What advice do you emphasize to current residents and recent alumni?
A. The one piece of advice I give to all residents that should follow them no matter what they do is, if you treat the patient the way you would want to be treated, you can never go wrong. I tell them, “Look at the patient as your sister, your family member or yourself. That should guide you in how you talk to patients and respond to their questions.” Sometimes we have the knowledge but don’t always pass that on in the right way. The patient may not always like you, but you have to serve them the best way you can. That’s the way I approach every day.