Background: Dr. Birru Talabi is passionate about women’s health and improving health disparities. Add in her respect for patient relationships and the longitudinal aspects of the field, and it’s clear why a rheumatology career fits her perfectly.
“I want to help to improve family planning care provided to young women with rheumatic diseases,” she says. “We know some of these women have worse maternal, fetal and pregnancy outcomes compared to healthy women. I research ways to improve these outcomes through better family planning and preconception care, patient education and medication risk communication.”
She recently completed her fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. Under the tutelage of Sonya Borrero, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine and clinical and translational science, she’s using administrative data to assess contraception care and age-appropriate screenings for women with rheumatic diseases. She plans to develop interactive resources to help women make family planning decisions.
Dr. Birru Talabi is a faculty mentor for her local chapter of the Student National Medical Association and participates in her department’s diversity committee, and she’s active with the Center for Women’s Health Research and Innovation and the Society for Family Planning. She says the award is special and humbling, and “further inspires me to forge ahead with my clinical and research efforts.”
‘I was exposed to so many interesting ideas at the meeting. I will never forget it.’ —Dr. Birru Talabi
Q: What about rheumatology keeps you so engaged?
A: So many things! No one patient is alike in rheumatology. I’m constantly challenged by cases, and inspired to work and study harder to provide the very best care I can. I also really enjoy diagnosing cases based on history and physical exam findings. I’d argue rheumatologists are constantly exposed to some of the most intriguing cases of all the different medical specialties.
Q: What’s the value of mentoring?
A: Exceptional mentoring has made all the difference to me, at every stage of my career. Mentorship is a selfless investment in someone you believe can make contributions to medicine and science. Mentorship also is about role modeling academic excellence and rigor.
Q: What has the ACR meant to you as an early-career rheumatologist?
A: The ACR has been integral to my development as a rheumatologist. I first presented a poster as a resident at the ACR national meeting involving data from the Women’s Health Initiative Rheumatoid Arthritis study. I was exposed to so many interesting ideas at the meeting. I will never forget it. It was an invigorating experience, and after that I knew for sure rheumatology was for me.