Dr. Becky Martinez earned her Bachelors in Science Degree at the University of Miami in 1982 where she received her degree in Chemistry as well as Religion. She took her first bioethics classes in this undergraduate setting and it would resonate years later in her medical practice. During her years at the University of Miami School of Medicine, she was exposed to the extremely busy inner-city hospital, Jackson Memorial Hospital. This was during a time that saw a significant increase of vulnerable populations including newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS patients as well as the increased influx of immigrants into the City of Miami, from both Cuba via the Mariel Boatlift as well as the political turmoil in Haiti. She wanted to make a difference in these vulnerable populations and believed that she might be able to, and thus applied to JMH’s OB/GYN internship and the residency there as her first choice.
Dr. Martinez received excellent training in OB/GYN during one of the busiest times of the JMH OB/GYN program. The 20,000 deliveries a year offered excellent opportunity to become proficient in not just normal OB/GYN care, but also extremely high-risk deliveries. As one of the few places with a large population of HIV+ mothers, we studied the importance of prenatal as well as intrapartum treatment of the mother, which would lead to the decrease in transmission to the babies. The busy GYN department also allowed her to be exposed to excellent GYO Attendings, who were patient as well as surgically gifted. Here she saw first-hand the complications of delayed diagnoses and of lack of access to medical and surgical aide. These experiences allowed her to be well-trained in all aspects of OB/GYN and become a very proficient and confident clinician and surgeon, but she continued to be aware of the discrepancies in the health care system. There were few, if any, cases that she had not seen in the busy atmosphere of JMH. These formative years reinforced in Dr. Martinez the need to connect bioethics with clinical medicine.
When she finished her residency, she joined one of her fellow residents to become a small new practice within a larger practice that included very well-known local OB/GYNs, one of which was the immediate prior president of ACOG, Dr. William Mixson. Through this experience she learned the different aspects of clinical practice that she had not been exposed to at JMH: how to run a private practice and how to deal with patients through the continuity of their lives during good health and not just at times of crisis. How preventive care and connection to a physician improves the health of many. Here, she was also exposed to giving to the entire community via involvement in associations such as Planned Parenthood and its needs, as well as to local OB clinics such as Rosie Lee Wesley clinic in South Miami, where she offered her time and medical care. She became the Co-President of Planned Parenthood Miami Chapter and became aware and exposed to the medical needs of women whose medical needs were not being addressed or met by the present health care system. Dr. Martinez became a very busy local OB/GYN and is well loved and appreciated by her many patients, delivering many of them through all their pregnancies. During her years in practice she also became a founding member of Femwell Group Health, a Corporation that was founded by a group of OB/GYNs that merged to become a strong enough force to deal with insurance companies as well as to streamline Human Resources for their smaller office. When more than half of her private practice retired or moved out of the states, she had the great opportunity to return to the University of Miami and revisited her interest in teaching the future OB/GYN’s.
The time she spent in JMH as an attending renewed her interest in medical education and also exposed her again to the medical discrepancies that many patients face on a daily basis. She had always been interested in Bioethics and took the time to earn her Masters in Bioethics from Creighton University in 2012. When certification in Clinical Ethics was first made available in 2019, Becky sat for the test, passed and is now one of the few MDs that is a certified clinical Bioethicists. She has presented nationally and internationally in leading bioethics conferences such as International Clinical Ethics consultants and in the Cambridge International Bioethics Consortium.
Teaching and education is the best marriage for Dr. Martinez’s passion: good clinical medicine and the implementation of bioethics into all aspects of medical care. It is imperative to her that future physicians understand that the combination of bioethics and clinical knowledge is the basis for good physician patient relationships and the basis of social justice in medicine. This is achieved by the education of students, educators as well as patients on their medical options.
The opportunity presented itself that she could participate in teaching a course in FIU’s HWCOM and this began the next aspect of her career. From voluntary faculty, her involvement in HWCOM increased from involvement first only in the bioethics courses, to teaching throughout all 4 years of the medical school curriculum as well as creating new curriculum in OB/GYN and 4th year capstones & OB/GYN bootcamps for graduating 4th year medical students and newly beginning OB/GYN interns in Mount Sinai OB/GYN residency. She has become actively involved in student advising and mentoring and has taken great pride in seeing the interest in OB/GYN residency increase in the medical students that have gone through her rotations as well as seeing them match in extremely competitive programs. She has become more active in national associations such as the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to help her students match in the best residency programs available as well as to learn what other programs are doing and disseminate what we do here at HWCOM to a national and international audience.
Dr. Martinez is also the Clinical Chief for GYN at the FIU Health Clinic and the Student Health Clinic. She is in charge of supervising the clinical aspects as well as practicing. She is happy to state that the clinical department of GYN, and she as an individual physician, have excellent reviews from patients. She continues to take pride in providing excellent care for her patients.
Her interest and desire to be as effective and as well-versed in any aspect of her job, has led Dr. Martinez to attempt to increase her expertise in education not just by the practice of education, but also by formal education. To this end, Dr. Martinez enrolled in Johns Hopkins University to obtain a Masters in Health Education. She has completed the 18-credit certificate in Education for Health care professionals and is hoping to finish the Masters’ program in 15 more credits. Medical Education is only an extension of the education that Dr. Martinez has done through the years, first with her patients and now with her students. She views all her diverse educational endeavors as interconnected in allowing her to both care for her patients that she educates daily in how to care for themselves, and how to educate future clinicians and educators who will provide the health care to future generations while always allowing them to keep in mind that bioethics guides how we not just treat individual patients, but populations. It is how we honor our medical oath to continue to learn, continue to teach and care for our patients. Her goal is the improvement of medical care to patients through her own practice and through the education of the next generations of physicians.