Dr Richard Grazi – his name is pretty synonymous with GENESIS; after all he is its founder. He’s also the Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology at Maimonides Medical Center.
A fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Reproductive Surgeons, Dr. Richard Grazi has published and lectured extensively on clinical and ethical issues related to reproductive medicine. He has been repeatedly named by New York Magazine as one of the Best Doctors in the New York Metropolitan Area for over two decades; and the Castle Connolly Medical Guide has recognized Dr. Grazi repeatedly as one of America’s Top Doctors.
More about Dr Richard Grazi
Q: WHY DID YOU BECOME A REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGIST?
A: Because it is the most amazing field of medicine. While it is true that we are not in a field that saves people’s lives, we have the chance with every patient to change their lives in the most meaningful way. And since most of the children that are born as a result of our work will go on to have their own families, the ripple effect of our work continues forever.
Q: WHO INSPIRES YOU?
A: My patients inspire me, mainly because they are able to go through so much in order to pursue their life goal. Many refer to the treatment process as their “fertility journey”. Traveling this particular road has many challenges; at times it can be emotionally and physically draining. The focus and persistence that most patients’ exhibit is a tribute to human endurance and a wonderful lesson in life.
A patient goes through treatment and is not pregnant, repeat. But she pushes through the failures and is then successful. Knowing how to fail well is truly the secret of life. Megan McArdle writes about this in her book, The Upside of Down. It is definitely recommended reading!
Q: WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO HELPING PATIENTS?
A: The most important thing is for the doctor and patient to have a completely trusting relationship. My goal from the very first visit is for each patient to understand that our goals are aligned, that for the particular problem at hand I am her most trusted resource. This is not so easy given the social climate that often sows doubt among patients. Spending the time educating patients about the source of their problems and the nature of recommended treatments requires a huge commitment. Being available to them is another. That is why we have created a culture at GENESIS that is so responsive to patients during the most anxious periods of their lives. What our staff shows every day is their willingness to address the questions, concerns and requests of every patient.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT?
A: Most physicians in my specialty consider the new lives they bring into the world as their greatest professional accomplishment. That is top tier – the gold medal, so to speak – for me as well. But there are two others that run very close to the top.
The first is the number students that I have trained over my long career. As the Director of Reproductive Medicine at our hospital, I have taught and mentored hundreds of residents during their years of training in Obstetrics and Gynecology. While many of them are now reproductive specialists themselves, the majority of them are delivering health care of other types to women in communities across the United States. Beyond that, I have introduced thousands of students in their formative years – be they medical students, college students, and even high school students through my summer internship program – to pursue careers in women’s health. Teaching can be short or long term, but it often includes for the student a moment of inspiration whose ripple last a lifetime. My life as a teacher and mentor, therefore, wins the silver.
Finally – winning the bronze – has been my life as a political advocate. Delivery of proper fertility care in our country is disjointed at best and unfairly discriminatory at its worst. Insurance companies, in particular, typically withhold proper coverage of services, the result being that access to care is denied for the vast majority of Americans with infertility. In the last decade, I have worked with many advocacy groups, lobbying hard in the halls of Albany and Washington, to end this paradigm and to have infertility treated as the medical disease that it is.
In New York State, this has resulted in opening up access to fertility care to 2.5 million women. The awards and accolades I’ve earned in the category of Visionary Leadership, both at the state and national level, are very meaningful to me. So are the new friendships I have made with other professionals and volunteers across the country. I look forward to further involvement in this important arena so that, one day in the future, every couple or individual struggling to have a child is able to access high quality fertility care in order to realize their precious dream.
Q: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
A: WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. I am very straightforward. Most patients appreciate that – I know my staff does – but not all patients do (this has been the source of the occasional negative review). Although I am in most ways an optimist, I don’t like to give patients unrealistic expectations. This is often difficult because patients often arrive expecting us to be magicians. Even harder, some have been told that we work miracles. But only God makes miracles. And there is nothing magical about medicine. If the situation is not hopeful, I will explain why and then suggest alternative family building strategies to consider. My duty, above all else, is to always be truthful.
Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
A: I have completed 12 Olympic triathlons. Keeping physically fit has been shown to improve not just physical health but also mental acuity. Reading, another favorite pastime, also strengthens intellectual performance. So you might say that I use spare time in ways that benefit my patients as well as myself.
Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT WOULD SURPRISE MOST PEOPLE?
A: I graduated college with a degree in English literature. While the connection to my career in reproductive medicine may not be obvious, my field provides a wellspring of insight into the human drama. In some respects it is richer than the greatest novels.
Q: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU?
A: Everyone wants to find a purpose in life. I have been lucky enough to find mine. Ever since Louise Brown, the first “test tube baby”, was born over 40 years ago I have dedicated my professional life to helping patients overcome infertility. While the road travelled has never been easy, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have crossed paths with so many special people and to have changed their lives in the most meaningful way I could imagine.
Posts by Dr Richard Grazi
Updated July 28, 2023