Christopher C. DeStephano, M.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Senior Associate Consultant, Division of Gynecologic Surgery
What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a clinician?
I cannot point to one discrete experience or moment, but a combination of experiences that still influence my decisions as a clinician. These included volunteering in a community hospital and working in a Mayo Clinic neuroscience lab as a high school student. My interests further evolved as I worked on research in the Mayo Clinic Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine and participated in an undergraduate summer service-learning program in Cambodia.
What motivated you to become a Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar?
There were numerous motivations culminating in a realization that the scholar program was perfect to further develop my interests in the science of health care delivery and improve the care of patients from diverse backgrounds.
I completed residency outside of Mayo Clinic and experienced the inefficiencies that plague the health care system, especially for women in underserved communities.
After my fellowship at Mayo and my first month joining the staff, my wife was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I experienced the health care system from a caregiver's perspective and experienced firsthand how new technologies and treatments can be used to improve the care provided within and outside of Mayo.
What is your focus as a scholar within the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?
I plan to empower patients and providers to incorporate new technologies and treatments with as little disruption as possible. My focus as a scholar is to explore the perceptions of new technologies for the evaluation of abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Tell us about your mentoring team.
My primary mentor is Aaron C Spaulding, Ph.D. I'm excited about the opportunity to have mentors from across disciplines, both in Florida and Minnesota, with expertise in qualitative methods, disparities research, implementation science, statistics, epidemiology, pathology, clinical management of abnormal uterine bleeding and patient-reported outcome measures.
How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?
My patients make it clear that the current diagnostic methods for evaluation of abnormal vaginal bleeding are disruptive. For patients outside of the clinic setting, this leads to delays in receiving a diagnosis and treatment. For women already being seen in the clinic setting, testing is invasive and burdensome, often requiring multiple visits for benign conditions.
My research will address this dual issue of overtesting versus undertesting in different populations of women within and outside of Mayo Clinic.
Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to pursue your career?
As a Jacksonville, Florida, native, I experienced the positive role Mayo Clinic had on the community throughout high school and college. I then attended the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and experienced the resources available to medical students to develop skills within the three shields of patient care, research and education.
After residency outside of the Mayo system, I returned to Jacksonville to pursue a fellowship in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and personally experienced how the needs of the patient come first on a daily basis as a fellow, and finally in the continued treatment of my wife.
With rapidly developing technologies, diagnostics and treatments, I am optimistic that Mayo Clinic will be able to touch more lives from all walks of life through the three shields.