Julia S. Edelman, MD, FACOG, NCMP, is the 2010 “NAMS Menopause Practitioner of the Year.” Dr. Edelman is a board-certified gynecologist practicing in Middleboro, Massachusetts. During her fulfilling career, she has enjoyed teaching and learning from her patients, medical students, residents, and colleagues. Dr. Edelman was selected to receive this prestigious award by an independent NAMS Awards Committee. The award was presented at The North American Menopause Society’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL.
Learn more about Dr. Edelman through a recent interview.
What first attracted you to becoming a physician?
My mother is a pediatrician whose office was in our house. From age 10, I worked with her and saw her love of practicing medicine. She was a great role model. She studied constantly to keep up with the latest developments. She enjoyed taking care of her patients and followed them for years; when they grew up and had children, their children often became her patients.
My two brothers and I all share my mother's love of practicing medicine. I chose gynecology as my specialty because I found surgery fascinating, and I also like solving clinical problems. I too enjoy following patients long term, and am gratified when they send me their mothers and daughters.
Can you tell us about your medical career?
As an undergraduate at Yale, I wrote a newsletter for the Yale Health Plan. I discussed health concerns that affected faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students. This was my first chance to identify healthcare issues in a particular community, and to write about them in a compelling and understandable way.
At Columbia Medical School, I was introduced to gynecology and surgery, and also received terrific training in general medicine and clinical problem solving. After Columbia, I did my residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Then, I became an attending physician at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge and served as a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School.
After getting married, I moved to southeastern Massachusetts and opened a solo private practice. This gave me the flexibility to chart my own course. I have been able to pursue additional training in different areas I think will best meet my patients’ needs. Sharpening my expertise in menopausal issues has been high on my list.
Can you tell us about your career as an educator?
At Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Mount Auburn hospitals in the Harvard Medical School system, I taught medical students, residents, nurses, and midwives. Since moving to southeastern Massachusetts 25 years ago, I have done community lectures in addition to educating my patients one on one. About 10 years ago, I began writing a women’s health book that would make up-to-date medical information about women’s health from age 35 to 65 and beyond available to readers in an appealing and accessible format. Eventually, I landed a contract with Johns Hopkins University Press, and they published Menopause Matters: Your Guide to a Long and Healthy Life. I wrote the book with the goal of educating the general reader, but I also wanted it to be a resource for medical professionals. The book has opened the door for me to return to teaching medical students and residents, and I am gratified by the positive feedback from colleagues who found it informative and also passed it along to their midlife patients.
How and when did you become involved with NAMS?
I have been a NAMS member for over fifteen years. I attend the annual meetings, and value the experience of connecting with colleagues, as well as hearing the clinical and research updates. It is interesting to hear from healthcare providers in diverse specialties as well as experts from a wide range of disciplines such as basic science research, pharmacology, journalism, and even anthropology.
How has your NAMS membership benefited you?
I value the colleagues and friends I have made through NAMS, and I look forward to seeing them at NAMS meetings. It has also been rewarding to serve on the Professional Education Committee. Recently, I was invited to review abstracts for the Chicago meeting, which presented a new and interesting challenge.
Why is the NCMP credential important to you and your patients?
Menopause presents a complex set of issues and challenges. New research findings and information published in both professional publications and the popular press can change how physicians and patients make decisions. I value the input I get by going to conferences and hearing my colleagues’ insights and critiques of current research. The NCMP credential is important to patients because it gives them a way to know I have the in-depth knowledge to guide them through the decisions they will make about medications, alternative remedies, and lifestyle choices at this time in their lives.
Do you encourage other healthcare providers to sit for the NAMS exam?
Yes, I encourage colleagues in all phases of their careers to obtain NAMS certification. They will enhance their knowledge, and their patients will know that they have demonstrated current expertise in this area.
Do you use NAMS education materials for yourself? For your patients?
Yes, I find Menopause Practice: A Clinician’s Guide, the NAMS Web site, Menopause Flashes online magazine, position statements on hormone therapy and osteoporosis, the Menopause Guidebook, and the Early Menopause Guidebook to be terrific resources. I often refer patients to the NAMS Web site.
I am honored to be selected “Menopause Practitioner of the Year.” I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues at NAMS and in my community to improve health care for women in midlife and beyond.