Introducing Kirstin Mac Dougall
Growing up in a small town in New England, where the population of dairy cows outnumbered townspeople and the nearest neighbors were miles away, gave me the desire to work with people. As an Amherst College student in Massachusetts, my anthropology studies led me to an economic development project in eastern Africa. Upon my return the social and economic needs of people right here in the United States became more clear to me. My honors thesis included field work with homeless populations in southern California documenting their remarkably savvy ways of engaging in local politics and with the media to meet their basic needs and improve their quality of life.
As a graduate student at the University of Southern California I studied visual anthropology and media production in the schools of Anthropology and Film and Television. I received a Masters Degree in Film Production with an emphasis on ethnographic film. My focus then shifted to interactive communications. I spent several years working for companies in Northern California that were developing low-cost and easy to use interactive technologies that would enable increased communication among distributed populations. I worked in usability and market research, which meant discovering how people interacted with these products in order to improve their usability and user experience.
I am privileged to now work with the amazing talent at Pacific Fertility, where as a Research Analyst on Cynthia Willson’s team, I shepherd clinical studies that continue to increase our understanding of human reproduction and the ways in which new and old technologies may improve fertility outcomes and patient experiences. One of our current studies investigates how the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine such as Acupuncture may affect birth outcomes and patient quality of life during treatment. Patients enrolling in this study may have the opportunity to receive acupuncture treatments before and during IVF at our in-house acupuncture clinic as well as having some IVF medications donated while they are in the study. I also have the honor to be helping conduct a trial of a ground-breaking imaging technology that is designed to predict which embryos at early stages of development will be most likely to result in viable blastocysts and subsequent pregnancies and births. Patients enrolling in this study are helping future IVF patients improve their chances for success while they also may be eligible to receive some reimbursement of IVF expenses. New studies are in the works that will be expanding our knowledge about the role of genetics in treatment as well as aspects of patient decision-making. Stay tuned for updates as research opportunities become available. I am incredibly excited to be at the crossroads between the highest standards of treatment and patient care and new technological innovation that will continue to allow more people to create their treasured families.