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PRODUCED BY AND FOR MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY August 2017 | Archived Issues

Two Minutes With …

Jennifer T. Anger, MD

This question-and-answer feature will help you get to know some of the faculty in the Cedars-Sinai Department of Surgery.

Jennifer T. Anger, MD, MPH

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Manhattan Beach, California. I trained in urology at Cornell University in New York City, and planned to stay there as faculty after graduation. However, while visiting home on vacation, I met a New Yorker in Hermosa Beach. This New Yorker, Lowell, became my husband and brought me back to my hometown, where I live today.

Why did you decide to specialize in urology, urogynecology?

I was inspired by the dedication of my urology professors at the University of Southern California. I also realized that there was a real need for more women doctors in urology. In fact, I was the second woman to graduate from the urology residency program at Cornell. Even today, only 8 percent of urologists are women, despite women comprising 30 percent of patients seeking urologic care. During my residency, I developed interest in urologic trauma and reconstruction, which led me to pursue a fellowship in this subspecialty with George Webster, MD, at Duke University. I trained in both female and male incontinence, female pelvic organ prolapse and male urethral reconstruction.

Today, urologists receive fellowship training in either male urethral reconstruction or female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPMRS), also called female urology or urogynecology. My partner, Karyn Eilber, MD, and I came to Cedars-Sinai in 2010 to build a program in the field of FPMRS. I am thrilled that, after recruiting our third partner, A. Lenore Ackerman, MD, in 2016, we are now in the process of applying for our own ACGME-accredited fellowship.

What is the most rewarding aspect of our job?

Surgical success is the most rewarding aspect of my job. It is incredibly gratifying when a patient with urinary incontinence who, after years of suffering, tells me, "You changed my life." Also rewarding is a career that balances clinical work, research, and teaching residents and medical students. Every day is different from the next.

What is the funniest thing a patient has ever said to you?

Recently, I removed a man's testicle, which had ruptured in a motorcycle accident. Before his surgery, I wrote "yes" on his left inguinal area, which is routine protocol to assure correct-sided surgery. He was an artistic man with a great sense of humor, and had my "yes" permanently tattooed on his groin!

What did your parent(s) always tell you that you now have to admit was correct?

My mother, who is a retired high school principal, once said that it is not always necessary to win arguments. Sometimes, it is best to say, "You might be right." I have found this to be very useful in life and negotiating.

If you could spend the day doing one thing, what would it be?

There is nothing like spending a day at the beach with my family. My children have very distinct interests, yet they all like to boogie board. I could boogie board with them all day long. Taking children out of the picture and speaking more selfishly, I love to travel with my husband. Although we don't get to travel together often, we went to Israel, had the opportunity to go to Italy together twice, and last year we made a vacation out of a urology meeting in Japan. We are "foodies," and love to try new places together. I keep snapping my fingers and hoping I will be in Kyoto eating green tea soft serve ice cream.

And speaking even more selfishly, if I had a day to myself and nobody cared where I was, I would catch up on writing papers, and grants, then spend the rest of my free time in a Zumba class!