SUNY Corning Community College alumna Dr. Teresa Danforth ‘01 is working to get more women in the healthcare industry and improve the patient experience. For Teresa, those two things go hand-in-hand.
The Corning, N.Y. native is a practicing physician in Buffalo for UBMD Urology, primarily based at Buffalo General Medical Center. Her focus is female urology, where she takes care of patients with female urinary issues, those who have suffered strokes, have spinal cord injuries, and have Multiple Sclerosis.
“A lot of my research has focused on patient preferences and outcomes,” said Teresa. “Many female patients prefer to see female doctors because they feel more comfortable.”
As an Associate Professor of urology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Teresa has been recruiting female physicians into the urology field.
“Urology is a small field in the scope of what students learn here at UB,” said Teresa. “My goal is to spark their interest in urology so we can get more female professionals in this field.”
Teresa’s interest in urology began when she was pursuing her MD at UB in 2003. She completed her internship and began to focus solely on urology during her residency. Teresa had an opportunity to do a fellowship under Dr. David Ginsberg at the University of Southern California in 2012. With him, she began working with patients with spinal cord injuries, Spina Bifida, Parkinson’s disease and other various neurologic disorders.
It was at USC when Teresa began noticing the lack of female representation in healthcare.
“I chose to do a fellowship in female urology and neurology for many reasons, one being that only 8% of practicing urologists are female,” said Teresa. “There are many patients who seek out female physicians, especially in urology and USC gave me the opportunity to learn and provide care for these individuals.”
When Teresa came back to Buffalo she was offered a position as an assistant professor.
As an educator, Teresa focuses on preparing well-seasoned physicians by teaching them to effectively communicate and empathize with their patients.
“I want to teach young surgeons medicine, but I also want to teach them all of the things you can’t find in a book,” said Teresa. “I want to teach them how to listen to their patients, how to ease their nerves, and to help them feel comfortable.”
Teresa plans to continue her research on patient preferences by dissecting survey data and recording patient satisfaction when seen by a female doctor.
“My hope is that we continue to fight for the best care possible for our patients and that women continue to step up and lead this charge,” said Teresa. “In a profession that has been primarily led by men, females are finally recognizing that we all have a voice that deserves to be heard.”