Continuing our physician spotlight series on the blog, we recently caught up with our newest physician, Dr. Erik Mazur and asked him a few questions.
SRM: Where is your hometown?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. My parents were living and working in Europe before my father was transferred to Houston; I was born soon after they moved. I grew up in Houston and then went to college and spent a few post-graduate years in the Midwest. I came back to Houston for medical school where I met my wife, Angie, who is a pediatrician. We did all of our medical training and started our careers and family in Houston.
SRM: When did you first think about going into medicine?
Probably not until I was in college. I was always interested in biology but I don’t think I thought too much about careers until college. Even then, it took some time for me to figure things out. I spent a year in an Ohio greenhouse studying rice genetics. I’m pretty sure that was when I knew that I should find something where I get to interact with people on a daily basis.
SRM: Why did you choose to specialize in Obstetrics/Gynecology and then subspecialize in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility?
A couple of reasons, I think. First and foremost, I was drawn to Ob/Gyn because of my interest in the issues surrounding reproductive health in general. It never sat well with me that—and this was especially true in Texas—legislators spent so much time and effort involving themselves in the reproductive health choices of women and their access to safe, affordable care. I thought that I could be an advocate by taking care of women and their reproductive health needs on a daily basis.
The Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) piece came a bit later. I became a father, and the gravity of what it means to build a family really hit me. I realized how these people were out there struggling and that I could help. The science and technology piece of REI was a big draw, too. It’s a rapidly evolving, high-tech field—pretty exciting stuff.
SRM: What is the most challenging part of your work?
The psychological piece, I think. It’s easy to see how tough it is to struggle with infertility. Again, we’ve got these amazing technologies that can help achieve a healthy pregnancy, but it can still take a lot of time, money, and effort to get there. And that’s after they’ve come to see us. Our patients have usually been struggling on their own for some time before they make it in to the clinic—it can take a real toll. I think giving my patients the time and emotional support they need is one of the most important things I can do to help.
SRM: What kind of work would you choose to do if you weren’t a physician?
Several times I considered becoming a farmer. I was reading about high-intensity grazing, this idea that you can have a really rich, productive ecosystem in a fairly small space. Spending my days outdoors…there’s a big appeal to that, right? That, or something creative like an artist or musician, though I have little talent there. Farmer, artist, musician…I sound like my 4 year-old.
SRM: What do you do to relax?
Music, food, and spending time with my family. I wish I was as good at making music as I am at listening to it: there’s always something playing on the stereo at home, and Angie and I steal away whenever we can to see our favorite bands. Cooking is very relaxing for me, and maybe it’s a creative outlet as well. I just wish my kids liked to eat my food as much as I do.
SRM: What about SRM and Seattle interested you?
Angie and I are lucky to have this opportunity to move our family to a truly amazing part of the country. Coming from a place with little to no access to nature, the natural beauty and outdoor activities seem endless. We wanted to build a home for our kids in a setting that is inspiring and among people who care about each other and the environment in which they live.
As for SRM, I’ve found a home of talented, dedicated people who understand what it means to struggle with infertility. They have built an organization that works to provide their patients with the best possible care and the greatest chance for success. It’s an amazing team, and I’m thrilled to play a part.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Mazur.