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Female Gyn/Onc to focus on women, cancer

by Maggie Mullen
Public Relations
Peering over three big stacks of files, Jennifer Young, M.D., leans on her desk. When asked about her return to her alma mater, she states, “To empower women to be their own advocate.”
This is the reason the College of Medicine Class of 2002 valedictorian is back at MUSC.
Along with two former classmates, Ashlyn Savage, M.D., and Angela Dempsey, M.D., Young studied and now works at MUSC’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as the first female gynecologic oncologist in South Carolina.
As a math and science whiz in high school, it was understood that Young would become a doctor, but medical school dreams did not linger long. A chemistry teacher felt her problem-solving brain was more adaptive to an engineering degree. Following that advice, she chose the University of Virginia as her next step.
Sitting on the other side of the desk now, she leans further forward in her chair and says in a whisper, “The other reason is engineering doesn’t have a language requirement.”
After spending a couple of summers working at an engineering plant, Young felt unfulfilled. “There wasn’t enough human contact and not enough real, hands-on experience helping people,” Young said.
Dreams of being a doctor soon became a reality. She later realized that a bachelor’s degree in engineering ended up being the perfect preparation for medical school.
As any young clinician may feel overwhelmed in the early part of a career, Young enthusiastically describes how she will handle a full plate of goals. During September’s Women’s Health Lunch & Learn Series, she ambitiously plans to dish them out one at a time. She wants women to fully understand how and why they find themselves sitting in a waiting room of a doctor’s office.
Young will provide a small taste of what she learned during her residency in Boston and fellowship in Charlottesville to help thoroughly educate Lowcountry patients. The main course will consist of educating women about cancer and the symptoms too many women ignore during this Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month. “Even something as simple as irregular periods needs to be evaluated by a gynecologist,” she adds.
The icing on the cake consists not of Young’s previous work studying Virginia‘s school mandate requiring Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for middle school students; her future goal is to lower South Carolina’s high HPV rate by continuing her research in vaccine counseling.
Young aspires to make MUSC a leader in the Southeast in the treatment of gynecologic cancer .
Employees and students are invited to bring their own brown bag to the Lunch & Learn Seminar from 12-1 p.m., Sept. 22, Room 501, Children’s Hospital. For information, call 792-1077.

Friday, Sept. 18, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.