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MCH Leaders in the Southeast: Kentucky

A native of Campbellsville, Kentucky, Connie Gayle White M.D. is a Clinical Professor in the Department for Health Behavior at the College of Public Health, University of Kentucky. She serves as a Women’s Health Consultant to the Kentucky Department of Public Health, the Kentucky Cancer Consortium and the Kentucky Maternal Child Health Institute at the University. Her teaching responsibilities involve classes in the MCHI and UK College of Medicine. She is the former Director of the Division of Women’s Health in the Department for Public Health. Prior to coming to the Division of Women’s Health Dr. White had been a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist for over 20 years in Frankfort, Kentucky. She is a graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She received a Master of Science in Toxicology and worked as a researcher in Teratology at the National Center for Toxicological Research in Little Rock, Arkansas. She later attended medical school at the University of Kentucky. She completed her OB-GYN residency program at the University of Louisville. She is board certified in OB/GYN by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. A special emphasis of her work was patient education and preventive medical care.

Connie was happy to answer a few questions about her work and why she is involved with Every Woman Southeast.

How long have you been in your current position? 

I practiced medicine for 20 years (OB/GYN) in Frankfort, KY before coming into Public Health. When I joined EWSE I was the Director of the Division of Women’s Health for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This involved the Title X program, teen pregnancy prevention and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. After two years, I moved to my current position as a Clinical Professor in the College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky for the past year. I have the independence to participate in projects that relate to women’s health: Cervical Cancer-Free Kentucky, Kentucky Cancer Consortium, co-teaching classes and working as a Women’s Health Consultant with the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

What is your favorite thing/task/part of your work? 

Instead of dealing with women’s health issues on a one-on-one basis with an individual patient as I did in my medical practice, I now feel my work reaches across the Commonwealth to all Kentucky women. Not being limited to a defined job description, I can pick the projects that interest me and be flexible for my family (after 20 years of clinical medicine, they deserve that!).

What is your biggest challenge? 

Pacing myself to not take on too many projects so I can do my job completely and to my own personal high standards.

Why are you involved in/interested in Every Woman Southeast? 

I find the idea of pooling our best thoughts and actions to allow each state to ‘borrow shamelessly’ from each other will allow better things to happen in our Region IV. Our data shows, and I saw firsthand in clinical practice, the misery of short intraconception time, repeat high risk pregnancies and the total lack of a reproductive life plan (mainly because they didn’t understand they had that right!).

If you had a million dollars what would you do with it? 

Fund some of the desperately needy non-profits that I work with that provide critical needs for patients that fall through the cracks of our society (i.e. summer camp for children/siblings with cancer, navigation system that just provided a soft mattress for a Stage IV breast cancer patient that asked to die in comfort, etc.). I would also provide myself all the yarn I needed to knit up all the community/church projects that I want to share with others!

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