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Leadership Story

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Before joining Midi as Chief of Clinical Quality, Heather Hirsch, MD, MS, NCMP, built several large menopause clinics, most recently at Brigham and Women’s Hospital—Harvard Medical School’s second largest teaching hospital. But she had no idea when she started her career that menopause care would become her driving passion, and take her on an unconventional path to reach vast numbers of women in midlife. Her story:

Discovering a shocking gap in women’s care

“I was an ardent feminist and a women’s studies major in college, and then headed into medicine thinking I wanted to become an OB/GYN and help women bring new life into the world. But I quickly realized I was interested in more than just the reproductive years, so I became an internist, focusing on women’s health at the Cleveland Clinic. There I met my mentor, Dr. Holly Thacker, who specializes in menopause. My two years working with her changed my lens on women’s health drastically. I saw patients coming to her from around the country and around the world, suffering from terrible symptoms and confused by misinformation about hormone therapy and other treatments.”

A second education

“I understood their confusion, because I was realizing that much of what I had learned about menopause in my internal medicine residency just a few months earlier was wrong. I was taught inaccurate facts about women at midlife—that menopause was a static point in time, that women hit it, then it’s over. In fact this transition involves physiologic and emotional changes that stay with you for decades, if not the rest of your life. The risks of hormone replacement therapy were exaggerated, and the benefits were downplayed. Dr. Thacker flipped those med school lessons upside down for me.”

Brand new ideas about care

“I began growing my own menopause practice, and because I had limited time with each patient, I started to experiment with new ways to offer counseling. I turned to audio and video as a means to extend the visit. My patients loved these modalities and shared the content I made with their friends. Then the pandemic hit, and I was stuck at home, so I started putting out longer form YouTube videos and really committed to my podcast, both of which were growing by leaps and bounds. Educating women about menopause became a real passion, but it couldn’t replace actually treating them. As I watched telemedicine expand dramatically, I became frustrated that only women who were geographically or financially lucky were able to see me.”

A new chapter with Midi

“When I learned about Midi, I realized immediately that this company could scale what I do enormously, allowing me to reach 1000x and eventually 100,000x the number of patients I affect. To that end, as Chief of Clinical Quality, I am building what we call ‘Midi University,’  training our team of clinicians and supporting them in every way—from answering day-to-day questions to setting overarching goals. It’s so satisfying to see this new model actually working: Patients are coming back feeling better and truly thriving again. It’s just like bringing new life into the world, but instead of a baby, it’s a rebirth for the woman herself.”

Heather’s regimen
  • Morning and night mediation, for daily intention setting
  • Exactly 20 minutes of daily exercise (her sweet spot), essential for mental health
  • Morning Vitamin D (for bones & more) and nightly magnesium (for brain health)
  • Mirena IUD for contraception and a side benefit, no periods!
  • Her plan: at the very first sign of perimenopause, oral estrogen added to IUD

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