Posted on Tuesday - 01/14/2020 to Up Close
By Barbara Anderson
Carlos Sueldo, MD, Chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCSF Fresno, is world renowned for his knowledge of infertility and reproductive medicine, and when a position opened at his Clovis medical office, Carolina Sueldo, MD, took it as a double opportunity – a chance to work alongside the acclaimed obstetrician/gynecologist/reproductive specialist – and come home to practice medicine with her father.
“Some people say, ‘Oh, I could never work with my Dad,’ but that hasn’t been the case at all. We work really well together,” Dr. Carolina Sueldo said. “We talk about patients, and bounce ideas off each other all the time.”
Dr. Carlos Sueldo is delighted his daughter, who did her OB/GYN residency at UCSF Fresno (Class of 2012), is back home and practicing by his side at Women’s Specialty & Fertility Center.
“There was always the hope that she would eventually be interested in returning to the Central Valley and joining the practice here,” he said.
UCSF Fresno educates medical students and trains physicians with a goal that they will stay or ultimately return to the San Joaquin Valley to provide health care services. Roughly 50% of UCSF Fresno residents go on to practice in the Valley.
Studies show that the best predictors of where physicians will practice are where they complete residency training and where they grew up, and Dr. Carolina Sueldo’s return to the San Joaquin Valley is an example.
She left the Valley to complete an extremely competitive three-year reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellowship at the University of Connecticut, and then joined a large private infertility practice with academic affiliation in South Florida. But after three years there, she decided to return home in 2018.
In returning to the Valley, she has a clinically challenging career and an opportunity to teach, she said.
“There were two really big things that were attractive to my decision to return home, and one was the ability to be an active part of the teaching program. I am a Volunteer Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCSF Fresno Department of OB/GYN and I work with residents on a regular basis.”
Teaching has been a part of Dr. Carlos Sueldo’s life for four decades, since coming to UCSF Fresno in 1978. “I love teaching. It’s always been something very important to me,” he said. Dr. Carlos Sueldo has been recognized by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) with a Star Award that is given to honor members who have dedicated time and service to shape ASRM into a leading society for reproductive medicine.
Dr. Carlos Sueldo is proud his daughter shares his passion for teaching. “When she was in residency, she received the award for “Resident Teacher of the Year” three out of four years,” he said.
Besides the desire to teach, Dr. Carolina Sueldo said she was drawn to the clinical challenges of working at a fertility clinic in the San Joaquin Valley. “In my first six months here I saw more pathology, more complex cases, than in my three years in South Florida,” she said. “It is a very diverse population – and a very challenging one. It keeps you as a provider on your toes, and motivates you to stay up-to-date.”
Dr. Carlos Sueldo said his daughter brings new concepts and a new vision of reproductive medicine to the practice, especially in the areas of genetics and immunology. She also is the only female physician on the staff – and is bilingual. “The fact that she is fluent in Spanish is very important for this community,” he said.
His daughter is an example of the type of physician the UCSF Fresno OB/GYN Department is attracting – individuals who are interested in teaching, research, education and service, Dr. Carlos Sueldo said.
The effort is working, Dr. Carolina Sueldo said. “My father has done a great job of building a program that is attractive to young physicians who are looking to build a long-term career,” she said.
“What I see is a place where you can grow – both as an individual, and as a practitioner – and you can help a lot of people.”
Along with Dr. Carolina Sueldo – who as a volunteer faculty covers the UCSF Fresno reproductive endocrinology and infertility clinic once a week, provides didactic lectures to the residents, and occasionally has them scrub into her OR cases – there have been three full-time core UCSF Fresno faculty added to the Department in the past two years. Angela Hernandez, MD, is fellowship trained At Baylor University in pediatric/adolescent gynecology; Trung Nguyen, DO, is a gynecologic oncologist who joined the Department from Stanford University; and Ragini Sastry, DO, who has a strong interest in gynecologic oncology.