Contributions to STEMM
Dr. Santiago-Muñoz has a pivotal role in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, where her “life as a physician mostly consists of patient care and education,” she said.
As a clinician, “I care for high-risk pregnancies, whether they are at high-risk due to a medical or pregnancy-related problem in the mom, or because of an anticipated problem in the baby. I provide prenatal care and prenatal consultation to these patients so they can have the healthiest outcomes possible.”
As an educator, Dr. Santiago-Muñoz serves “as the fellowship director for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, where I oversee the training program for six MFM fellows a year, making sure they are successful in completing the requirements for board certification and to practice independently.” At Parkland Hospital, “I participate in the education of our large obstetrics and gynecology residency. I mentor the fellows and several residents as well as medical students interested in obstetrics and gynecology.”
“My family is full of lawyers: parents, grandparents, great-grandparents,” said Dr. Santiago-Muñoz. “So, it was not really my family but my amazing elementary, middle, and high school science teachers, all of them women, who made medicine a possibility for me.” Specifically, “my favorite teacher was Mrs. Lucy Trani, my ninth grade biology teacher. She made the inner workings of living organisms a fascinating story. She peppered personal stories – many of them incredibly funny – into what we had to cover from the textbook. She was inspiring, supportive, and she made sure the girls in the class owned up to the fact they were just as smart as the boys.”
The UT Southwestern Difference
Dr. Santiago-Muñoz is “humbled to have been chosen to participate in the Celebrating Breakthroughs Together project. One of the things that keeps me working at UT Southwestern is what I learn every day from my colleagues, my peers, my teachers. I look up to those who have come before me, and I hope to inspire other women in the same way.” The project also hits home in her personal life. “As the mom of two teenage girls, I hope I am doing enough to show them that the world is theirs for the taking and that they ARE smart enough to do math or engineering or medicine and to also EXCEL in these fields.”
Looking to the next generation of women in medicine, Dr. Santiago-Muñoz stresses the importance of embracing challenges and obstacles. “When applying to Ob/Gyn residency, I was one of the small percentage of applicants who didn't match. I ended up staying at the program at my medical school. This program ended up being the best place for me,” she said.
“Never underestimate what a momentary setback or disappointment can lead to. Take every stumble on your path for what it is: an opportunity to grow and learn.”