Fertility Blog

Cynthia Willson's Biography

I started college still living in a fantasy world. I, like most of the girls around me, thought I was going to get my MRS. Degree and find a husband. I dreamt of that big house with the white picket fence with two and a half kids and a dog. I joined a sorority and after 2 years had almost completed a degree in Home Economics with a minor in English. However, I realized that becoming a Home Economics teacher, especially since I had to pay someone to do my sewing project, was not exactly a good fit for me. So I dropped out of college.

My mother was attending a meeting at the Methodist Hospital ran across a flyer on the wall about a Nurses Aid training program, and encouraged me to attend. I instantly fell in love with anatomy and physiology, the aspects of treatment and the art of healing. It was at this point when I realized that medicine was in my future. So off I went to South Plains College for their Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) Training program. After completing my training I returned to work for Methodist Hospital.

In time, with the encouragement of friends and the financial backing of my family I moved ahead and attended the University of Texas, RN, BSN program in Houston, TX.

Upon completion of my BSN degree, I accepted a position in the Maternal Fetal Medicine unit at Hermann Hospital in Houston and loved it. After nearly 2 years, I became a traveling nurse, which first brought me to California. My first position was at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles and later Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. I always gravitated toward taking care of the high risk moms.

In 1990 I moved to the Bay Area and took a job at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in their labor and delivery unit. It was there I learned about a research nursing job and thought this was something I might be interested in. I have always loved trying to understand why things happen and what could we do better.

After two years at UCSF I was offered a job as a research nurse trainer with a Device Company. I flew all over the country training physicians who were studying our new product on how to obtain samples and collect data. During my travels, I befriended a physician in New York who later became the Department Chair of OB/GYN at New York University Medical Center. I moved east to assist him in setting up his Maternal Fetal Medicine practice, Antenatal Testing Center and later to expand his research department. Since that time I have had many opportunities in the Pharmaceutical, device, and academic world. However, they all led me back to the Bay Area. Since my return I have worked in various aspects of research including Genentech, UCSF-Kidney Transplant, and Stanford School of Medicine. I have continued my love for research in the world of high risk pregnancy and now infertility, which seem to go hand in hand.

Since arriving at Pacific Fertility Center in April, I have worked with a world class team of physicians and support staff. I have never had the privilege of working in such a wonderful organization that has a balance of both clinical and academic expertise. I am honored to be a part of Pacific Fertility Center. I look forward to building a world class research program as well as a non profit organization that will provide continued research and innovation in the world of infertility and ART.

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