Posted: April 23, 2015 Contributor: PRJKT RUBY

I AM RUBY: Interview with Dr. Samar Rashid

This month, we interview U.S. physician Dr. Rashid, who reflects our PRJKT RUBY ideals. A physician at University of California San Diego Medical Center and health coach, her passion for medicine coincides with her love for nutrition and wellness. She shares with us tips for integrating birth control into a daily regimen and what she has learned from her work in the developing world.

What interests you most about PRJKT RUBY and Take1Give1?

The greatest appeal is the intention behind contraception in the project, looking at birth control as a movement of empowerment instead of simply a medication. Women’s empowerment is an incredibly important aspect of healthcare to me; for centuries our women have been the true leaders in a household and many of them lack the opportunities and resources in their communities. The campaign focuses on not only educating women but also connecting them to one another. When you combine both those things you attain an incredible force.

For someone who may have never taken birth control before, what should they know or expect?

Understanding the way the pill works on the body hormonally is important. Almost all of our hormone systems in our body are regulated by negative feedback loops with the brain. The pill uses our body’s regulatory system to prevent ovulation and implantation of the embryo. What’s important is to take the pill everyday at the same time.  When first starting the pill, it takes a full 3 months for the body to adapt to this new system. I always stress the importance of a back up method when first starting the pill, especially in the first month. Condoms are a great option.

Tell us a bit about your work as a physician in the developing world. What women’s health barriers have you encountered? 

As a physician training within family medicine, our perspective of woman’s health and obstetrics follows not only the woman but the child as well, which is an incredibly special and meaningful practice to me. While volunteering in Peru one summer, I witnessed complications during labor that were often times because of educational barriers during pregnancy – not knowing to take additional folate or understanding the health needs for the body in waiting over a year before conceiving again. My motivation in fighting these challenges is that most of these obstacles are educational barriers – which we can tackle as healthcare providers. Most of the women just don’t know the resources or information available to them.

You have a great interest in holistic/integrative medicine. How does that, or related influences, inspire your practice? 

As doctors we so often focus on all the things in our patients going wrong, that we forget to use the ease and regulation of the body to our advantage in treating them. My holistic and integrative teachings are constant reminders for me to look at our patients as one beautiful entity with incredible strength. My aspiration is one day all my patients will see that in them. I see it so clearly during labor when I really emphasize breath work during pushes. Women are capable of miraculous things (such as a baby!) when they are in tune with their breath and use it to assist during labor. I see a willingness laboring mothers have that bring an incredible reflection to myself about connecting to our own self.