Purpose mixed with drive is what I see in the presence of Dr. Monica Moore. I first met her a few years ago when I particularly went searching for a black female doctor. I walked into her practice then and immediately, I could see she was a woman about her business making sure everything was timely and in order.
Who Is Dr. Monica Moore?
“My name is Monica Moore I am an obstetrician/gynecologist in Chicago and I have been practicing for the last twenty years. It is something that I’ve always wanted to do since I was five years old. I believe it was a combination of being lucky enough to know what you wanted to do at an early age and then taking the steps needed to get there.” Dr. Moore is a woman who is completely about her business and from what it looks like, she has been that way since she was a little girl. At the age of five when she decided she wanted to be a doctor, she knew then that it would require hard work however, there was no doubt in her mind whether or not she could do it. For Dr. Moore, it was only a matter of time. She says, “I have a mother who is a mother’s mother she’s always been the type of person to identify a need or want from her children and she will get what is needed to get it done. My father worked at the hospital and was extremely encouraging and he helped with the whole self-doubt/self-esteem aspect of things.” She credits her strong family background for instilling the belief in her ability to do whatever it is she set her mind to. She says, “For my father there was no such word as can’t. From a young age when my father and I would play games together, he would always say paging Dr. Moore.” An encouraging father and a supportive mother was the perfect combination Dr. Moore needed as an already motivated child. When I ask if at any point her parents had to do more to make her stay on track to accomplish her dreams, she says “My parents accommodated me more than anything else. I was a very motivated child so there wasn’t much else they had to do other than be supportive and provide me with the tools to get there.”
Dr. Moore was born and raised on the south side of Chicago where she attended Little Flower and Elizabeth Seton Catholic School for grammar and high school. She went on to the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign where she got her bachelors degree and attended University of Michigan Ann Arbor for medical school and the school of public health. She says with pride, “There are five other practicing OBGYNs from my grammar school and I’ve always thought that was cool.” I ask Dr. Moore about challenges she faced while attending medical school and she clarifies, there were twenty-five black students out of two hundred, which was excellent at the time allowing them to be a community within a community. She continues, “I was qualified. I had what it took to be there so nothing else really crossed my mind. I scored well on the MCATs and had excellent grades so I was not going to allow any other issue detour my journey.” She said many of her challenges over the years have involved the management of her staff and are more gender based. She is challenged in ways she hasn’t seen with her male counterparts. Giving an example, she recalls having employees address her male counterparts with respect while addressing her as a sister-friend whom they are not obliged to take orders from. This has been a struggle throughout her medical career and it has forced her to become very firm.
In the past year, Dr. Moore has taken on the role of Medical Director of Women’s Health at a Federally Qualified Health Clinic (FDHC) and while the role is different and rewarding, she is challenged by the managerial aspect of things because she is not only tasked with managing the women’s health department but also her colleagues and that is very different for her. She says, “I don’t want to be consumed by human resource issues . I want to be part of an initiative where people are passionate and we are driving change. I don’t like the HR part I just want to be a doctor that impacts the community [Laughs].” Dr. Moore is currently trying to change the face of her private practice. Building social media awareness and being able to reach out to women and children in marginalized neighborhoods. She is looking to reinvent herself by focusing more on tween/teen girls who are in between seeing a pediatrician and a gynecologist. As a mother of two girls herself, she sees a need to help educate these girls so they are empowered for their future understanding their body and general health. She says, “Teenage years are so crucial for girls because when I look at the evolution of a woman, this is the time where I believe they need a lot of care and they should be able to go to a center and see different doctors who cater to their current needs and also look like them. Having some type of multi disciplinary approach where they can see a psychologist, nutritionist, pediatrician and gynecologist in one place Dr. Moore said several times during our session that she wants to be known as someone who impacted her community not just a practice owner. She is starting to look at diversifying her role as a doctor to potentially seeing all the options she has out there. She states, “reinventing yourself isn’t easy but I’m a goal oriented person and I like to be challenged.”
As a wife, mother, medical doctor and owner of her own practice, Dr. Moore has her hands full and as many reading this may wonder, how does she reset? She loads herself and her family on a plane and finds a new country to visit each year. Last year they visited the Netherlands and France and this year, she’s thinking of Spain . For Dr. Moore, the ability and privilege to reset is not taken for granted. She loves what she does but understands that in order to function the way she should, she needs a break. She speaks on the importance of taking her daughters on trips to explore the world. The goal she says is that exposure shapes their ideas for the future and they begin to channel their talents. Much like her, she wants her daughters to have a story they can look back on and see the trajectory. When speaking about having a goal, she says, “I knew what I wanted to be from a young age and I understand it doesn’t always come that easy for many so I encourage mentoring, shadowing and getting out there to explore any profession of interest. That way whatever doesn’t work, we can cross it off the list and move on to the next one but we won’t know if we don’t try.”
As I round up, I ask what we can expect in the next five years? [Pausing to think] She says, “I had to figure out how old my girls will be by then. Hopefully by then I would have gotten some of my initiatives going and I can be in a role where I’m influencing the world around me. Being a doctor is nice but I am yet to change the world. I was supposed to be a doctor but I don’t feel like I have challenged myself.”
As I complete this interview, I conclude that Dr. Moore has what I call the curse of the ambitious. Nothing we do is ever good enough. At all times, we want to be on the move challenging ourselves to be better than we were before. A lot of times the world makes it seem that as women we are not capable of doing everything we want but with Dr. Moore, ‘I can’t’ has never been an option it was always a matter of I will when I’m ready. For the parents out there, understand that you are your child’s first critic, fan and friend and what you pour into them, is what they give to the world so pour support, pour encouragement, pour discipline, pour faith and the best of them all, pour lots of love and you just sit back and watch them flourish.
I hope you enjoyed this rant of a true Goal Digger.