“It’s important to balance the academic life at Adelphi with the social opportunities—and now there are clearly more opportunities than ever on campus.”
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Medical and Laboratory Director, Reproductive Specialists of New York
Chief, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, Winthrop University Hospital
Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stony Brook University Hospital
Value of Adelphi degree: “The biology department was strong. It’s no coincidence that my three brothers and I—who all earned our undergraduate degrees at Adelphi—ended up in medical school.”
After Adelphi: Completed medical school at Penn State; obstetrics and gynecology residency at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical School; and fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at UCLA
Advice: “It’s important to balance the academic life at Adelphi with the social opportunities—and now there are clearly more opportunities than ever on campus.”
Putting His Patients’ Needs First
When choosing a medical specialty, Dr. Gabriel San Roman remembers being drawn to the intense science of reproductive endocrinology. “The incredible privilege of seeing embryos under microscope prior to transferring them into a woman was just so scientifically fascinating,” he says.
As he “started maturing more in the field,” he found curing infertility to be the inspiration for his work. “It is intensely rewarding to see a couple, who has been struggling for five, ten years, finally become pregnant. When they come back a year later with their baby, and give those great hugs, you know you’ve changed their lives forever,” he says. “You helped make them a family, and they are forever grateful they have their children. It’s hard to explain how that really makes you feel.”
Dr. San Roman has been helping people achieve healthy pregnancies for 23 years. While today he is medical and laboratory director of Reproductive Specialists of New York—New York State’s largest infertility practice—Dr. San Roman began his career in academia.
In 1991, he joined Stony Brook University as an assistant professor in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. By 1995, he was appointed director of Stony Brook’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology.
He credits this accomplishment to his teaching efforts, the fact that he was already building his practice and, most importantly, to his work on an $11 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant called “The Women’s Health Initiative”—which focused on the major causes of death, disability, and morbidity in postmenopausal women.
“It is the largest research study in our country’s history [to date] devoted to women, specifically to the causes of breast cancer and heart attack in the menopausal age group,” he says. “I participated in meetings with specialists of all different capacities from forty different medical schools,” he says. “It was a very cool thing to be a part of.”
In 1997, Dr. San Roman made a major career transition when he became the laboratory and medical director of Reproductive Specialists of New York. “My focus changed from an academic life to the clinical track at my private practice.”
Reproductive Specialists, an in vitro facility located in Mineola, has three kinds of laboratories: an endocrine lab, to measure female hormones daily; an andrology lab, for semen analysis, sperm washing, and sperm freezing; and an embryology laboratory, where the sperm and egg are mixed together and embryos are cultured. Reproductive Specialists’ embryology lab is one of only three on Long Island
“We treat the infertile couple in methods to help them achieve a healthy pregnancy, and we treat female reproductive hormone disorders,” he says. “We provide ultrasound monitoring to follow egg development, and we also biopsy embryos for genetic testing prior to implantation.”
In addition, the practice freezes eggs and sperm for fertility preservation. “We have women with breast cancer who come in at 28 years old. They are about to have chemotherapy, and while that will cure their cancer, it’s not a good thing for the ovaries. So when these women are 35 and they are cured from their breast cancer, now they can’t have children. When they come to us before their treatment, we are able to preserve fertility for them,” he says. “Young men come in who are 18 or 20 years old with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, so we can preserve their sperm prior to chemo.”
Providing patients with this world-class medicine requires staying up to date with the latest technology. Since he entered this field, Dr. San Roman has seen vast advancements in equipment and techniques, which are drastically improving success rates. “When in vitro first began, the pregnancy rate [on average, per patient] used to be measured in the teens,” he says. “Now it is as high as 50% or 60%.”
Ongoing innovations and cutting edge technology hold much promise for the future: “I think there is going to be a lot more genetic testing of embryos to select the best embryo to put back,” says Dr. San Roman. “That’s important because many times you have a few to pick from—and you’re not sure which is the one to choose. It would be good to have advanced technique to hone in on that.”
Dr. San Roman and his wife Michele have four children. In his free time, he enjoys running, skiing, music, cooking, and spending time with his family, particularly going to concerts with his kids—everything from Kiss to Taylor Swift.
Published June 2012.
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