Tara Allmen, MD, FACOG, NCMP
Center for Menopause, Hormonal Disorders, and Women’s Health
New York, NY Q. Dr. Allmen, please tell us about your life in medicine. How did you find your passion for menopausal medicine?
A. When I was a resident at the University of California, San Francisco, I was inspired by Dr. John Arpels. He was one of the founding members of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and the only gynecologist I had as a teacher who really focused his practice on menopausal women. When I became an attending physician, he encouraged me to attend my first NAMS meeting. It was held in San Francisco that particular year, so it was easy for me to go. I can still recall a lecture by Dr. Fredi Kronenberg on complementary and alternative medicines as substitutes for hormone therapy. The room was packed, so I had to stand in the back. That meeting changed the direction of my professional life. Q. Has your career progressed as you expected? What has surprised you? What is most gratifying to you about your life as a physician and what drives you to do this work?
A. My career has progressed in many unexpected ways. After practicing obstetrics in New York City for a while, I got the courage to focus only on menopausal medicine. Luckily for me, Dr. Michelle Warren had started a Center For Menopause, Hormonal Disorders and Women's Health in New York City, and she was looking for a gynecologist to join her. I joined in 1999 and have been there ever since. At the start of my menopause practice, I was seeing about two patients per week! Word of mouth from my grateful patients is how my practice grew.
Dr. Warren also introduced me to the art and science of lecturing. I found this new part of my career very exciting. It gave me the opportunity to meet other thought leaders in the menopause community around the country. As a result, I have a wonderful team of mentors including Dr. Lila Nachtigall, Dr. James Simon, Dr. James Liu, Dr. Murray Freedman, Dr. Steven Goldstein, Dr. Philip Sarrel, Dr. Bruce Ettinger, Dr. Jan Shifren, Dr. Pauline Maki, and Dr. Wulf Utian.
Whenever I have a complicated patient question, I send an email around to these experts looking for the right answer. The funny thing is that I usually get a different answer from each one!
Q. In 2006, you established The Allmen Foundation to support women’s health. You have been a truly generous donor to NAMS, most recently supporting the creation of a new edition of The Menopause Guidebook, one of our key educational projects. Why do you contribute and how has the Society helped you and your medical practice?
A. I established The Allmen Foundation in 2006 after my mother, Renee Allmen, died. At first, I gave money to animal-related charities because that is what she would have liked. After Wulf Utian announced his retirement as NAMS Executive Director a few years back, I suddenly realized that NAMS had had a profound impact upon me and my career. So I wrote my first check to NAMS and have been donating every year since. Most recently, I supported the creation of The Menopause Guidebook, because Dr. Margery Gass reached out and asked for my help. As a NAMS Foundation Board member, I had a fun time during the last Annual Meeting inspiring others to donate. I offered a matching gift to all new donors and we were able to raise a lot more money. I plan on doing this again in 2012. I would like to thank Dr. Lisa Larkin for helping me in my fundraising efforts at NAMS.
Q. You also created an educational DVD and guidebook, Menopause In An Hour, to help women through the menopause transition. Tell us about this project.
A. I created Menopause In An Hour 2 years ago because my husband suggested it. He was instrumental in completing that project. We also came up with the idea of creating a DVD for men! We call it What's Up With You Know Who? I was inspired to do that after so many of my patients asked me to call their husbands and tell them that their wives were not crazy, just menopausal. We made that DVD only 30 minutes long and funny, because we didn’t think men would sit still for longer than that.
Q. What new projects are on the horizon?
A. I was recently invited to be on the inaugural Medical Advisory Board of The Dr. Oz Show, and I am now pursuing more television opportunities to teach midlife women about their journey through menopause and beyond. It has all been a thrilling ride so far.
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