Katherine Campbell, MD, MPH, specializes in maternal-fetal medicine, managing health concerns of the mother and fetus before and during pregnancy. She is the medical director of Labor & Birth and the Maternal Special Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital, where she delivers babies.
Dr. Campbell says work she did for a non-governmental organization (NGO) in El Salvador years ago exposed her to obstetrics.
“I was working in a hospital there and I had to choose between the emergency department or labor and delivery. Labor and delivery won me over,” she says. “Even in the developing world, with limited resources, obstetrical problems are solved in a straightforward manner. What you really need for good care is the technical skills of an obstetrician or midwife, antibiotics, blood and sterile instruments.”
Today, Dr. Campbell has a special interest in patient safety and health care quality. “We want to ensure our patients are getting the best and safest care at all times when they are admitted for child birth,” she says.
Dr. Campbell is also co-chair of the severe maternal morbidity review committee, which is a multidisciplinary group that meets on a regular basis to discuss information that can be applied directly to improving the quality of care delivered to patients.
Dr. Campbell continues to hold an interest in global health care and has traveled to Rwanda several times to train obstetrical residents. While she is not currently traveling due to COVID-19, she has continued to work with various committees overseas to prepare labor and delivery units to take care of patients with COVID-19.
And while the rate of sickness and illness in pregnant women is on the rise in the United States (outside of COVID-19), Dr. Campbell is working to understand why. Here at Yale Medicine, she spends a lot of her time reassuring patients.
“If a baby needs surgery or is in the ICU and the mom is sick, it all becomes something the mother didn’t expect. But the good news is that we have all of this great technology and skills to help,” she says. “I let them know that we’ll take care of them and that there are things they can control things they cannot.”
At the end of the day, it’s the stack of letters and cards from grateful families on her office shelf that keeps her going, says Dr. Campbell, who is also an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine.
Years In Practice