Fenway Health recently welcomed Dr. Anne d’Avenas as the Women’s Health Program Director. Dr. d’Avenas was born in France and raised in California. She holds her B.A. from Williams College and her M.D. from the Boston University School of Medicine, and received her OB/GYN training at Boston City Hospital. Additionally, Dr. d’Avenas earned her Gender Leadership and Public Policy certificate from UMASS Boston in 2016 and completed her Fellowship in Medical Education in 2011. Prior to joining Fenway Health, she served as president of the medical staff at Mount Auburn Hospital. During her time there, she was instrumental in starting and leading the “dignity for all” training program. Dr. d’Avenas currently resides in the South End with her husband of 27 years. Between the two of them, they have five children and four grandchildren.
Q: What inspired you to become a physician?
A: I have always been a science and math person. In fact, I originally thought that I would become a math teacher. That changed during my senior year of high school when I spent a month shadowing a general surgeon and his surgical nurse as part of my studies. This included everything from watching surgeries, observing patient care, and learning about office procedures. After that experience, I knew I had found my passion.
Q: Has it always been your goal to become an OB-GYN?
A: I started med school with the idea of becoming a family medicine provider. There weren’t many female surgeons at that time However, during one of my rotations, I was exposed to two amazing women who were OB-GYN’s. Watching them with patients throughout the continuum of care really inspired me to become an OB-GYN. I was fortunate to be in med school at a time when more women were entering the OB-GYN programs. It was really these two factors that helped drive me.
As an OB-GYN, I have the pleasure of staying with my patients throughout their lives. I’m at a point in my career where I am seeing some of the babies that I’ve delivered having children of their own!
Q: What attracted you to Fenway Health?
A: I’ve been an admirer of Fenway Health since its early days. I trained at Boston City Hospital during the height of the AIDS crisis, so I knew of Fenway Health from their reputation in the community. My ideals closely align with Fenway’s mission, and I’m thrilled to be here!
Q: What do you like about the Women’s Health Department at Fenway Health?
A: It’s exciting to see how focused everyone is on providing care with dignity and how much everyone lives Fenway Health’s mission.
Q: What are some of your goals for the Women’s Health Team?
A: I am looking forward to doing more community engagement. I want to ensure that all people—including non-binary and transgender people—feel welcome here. I would also like to make sure that people know about the services we provide from routine procedures such as pap smears to more specialized procedures like Alternative Insemination and gender-affirming surgery.
Q: What are some things women should do to maintain their health?
A: Obviously, things like not smoking or drinking too much are important. We all need to keep up with vaccinations and routine tests such as pap smears, mammograms, and colonoscopies. I think the number one thing we can do to maintain and improve our health is to keep moving. One thing I recommend to patients is to do exercises that build core strength and improve your balance. Falls are a major risk for older patients, so this becomes especially important as we age.
Q: What is your favorite part of your work day?
A: I like having the space to be able to think outside of the box. Fenway Health is a very collaborative environment and I have been able to brainstorm with colleagues about a broad range of ideas and initiatives. I’m also in the enviable position of being able to mentor some of my teammates. I enjoy watching the people that I work with blossom, grow, and succeed as they pursue their goals.
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
A: I love baseball, especially the Boston Red Sox! My son and I are on a mission to see games in all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums around the country. So far, we’ve made it to 15. I am also an avid runner and finished the Big Sur Marathon in California in 2018 and 2019. I enjoy staying active, cooking and hosting dinner parties, reading, and living in the South End.
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