Recipe inventor. Hebrew speaker. OBGYN.
Though she has been caring for women for more than a decade, Dr. Keren Rosenblum still feels a sense of awe when she attends deliveries.
“It’s amazing to see a parent’s face when they first look at their child,” she says, confessing that there are few things more magical or fun than helping women have their babies.
However, the truth is that she also loves the other parts of her job as an obstetrician and gynecologist at Vancouver Clinic and as chair of the organization’s physician board.
Dr. Rosenblum chose to be an OBGYN because she enjoys taking care of women of all ages and getting to know them personally over time. She believes that it’s important for women to have a health ally, someone they can trust with their physical and emotional concerns. This is particularly key for women with high-risk pregnancies. Helping them through their experience is one of her passions.
“There’s so much wonder in being pregnant, and it feels endless when you’re in it, but it’s actually so fleeting, so I want my patients to get to enjoy the moment,” she says. “I tell my patients, ‘Let me take the worry so you can enjoy the pregnancy.’”
Dr. Rosenblum spends extra time talking with her high-risk patients about their concerns and comes up with a plan so that it doesn’t feel like they are making important decisions alone. She also involves the clinic’s Maternal Fetal Medicine physicians so that women have a full team of experts behind them. Yet she recognizes that pregnancy may still be a struggle for some women—and that’s okay, too.
“I was a miserable patient because I am that ‘lucky’ person who was sick through the whole pregnancy, so I know how difficult it is,” says the mom of three.
Beyond being adept at co-managing complicated pregnancies, Dr. Rosenblum also has extensive expertise with complicated hysterectomies. Through robotic laparoscopy, she is able to take care of the needs of women whose weight, internal scarring, or overall health present surgical obstacles. A tiny camera and robotic instruments allow her to operate carefully and precisely, while reducing risks and recovery time.
“It’s really gratifying to be able to do something that’s hard but has such a huge impact on someone’s quality of life,” she says.
An eagerness to do hard things is typical of Dr. Rosenblum. This spring she accepted the opportunity to chair the clinic’s board of directors. It’s always a big role, but now it includes a new urgency around social justice issues and the unprecedented challenges created by COVID-19. Washington state started shutting down two weeks after Dr. Rosenblum began her term as chair. There was no transition or ramp-up time. Instead, she had to start making decisions.
“Maybe that was good for me,” she says. “I didn’t have to worry that I was doing okay, I just had to do it. Plus I’d rather be in the room being part of the discussion about how to fix things instead of waiting to see what happened.”
One of the fixes Dr. Rosenblum is most excited about is the new Diversity and Inclusion Committee she is helping co-sponsor. The group is tasked with creating opportunities for clinicians and staff to participate in diversity initiatives and to find ways to dismantle racism and discrimination. It’s a small, yet important step toward transforming what it’s like to work at the clinic or come in as a patient. The positive response has been tremendously inspiring, she says.
“I want to be an ally for a cause that matters, not because I know all of it, but I’m in a role where I can create a space that allows people to share their voice,” says Dr. Rosenblum.
If busy and fulfilling are two of the words that describe Dr. Rosenblum’s career at the clinic, they’re also apt words for her home life as well. Away from medicine, Dr. Rosenblum is a mom to two girls and a boy, all of whom carry Hebrew names to celebrate their Jewish heritage. She is wife to a wonderful husband who understands her commitment to her patients and colleagues. She says her support system is her secret behind being able to handle such a full plate.
“I never feel alone,” she says. “My husband does so much for our kids and home life. I have friends at work and outside. I have a lot of family and incredible people around me to fill in the gaps. And I remind myself that I’m doing the best I can.”
In the future Dr. Rosenblum hopes that she’ll be able to work a little more “me” time into her life. She loves inventing new recipes, going on long walks, and listening to live music. But for now, she says she’s happy using her many roles to listen and make a difference in her community.