“The World According to Sarp” – Meet Dr. Sarp Aksel
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Dr. Sarp Aksel is an OBGYN with Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates and an advocate for women’s rights. In this episode, he and Dr. Fox start by discussing the origin of Dr. Aksel’s first name, which is a Turkish adjective that means “difficult to overcome or achieve.” Growing up, Dr. Aksel loved animals and enjoyed science. As a kid, his mother suggested he become a doctor after he insisted on wearing new socks every day. Because he knew an obstetric anesthesiologist in his hometown, a young Dr. Aksel then started volunteering and working at the local women’s hospital.
Later, a class on women’s rights in college further sparked his interest in both women’s health and advocacy. There, he completed a thesis on the use of gender-based tools of war in Sub-Saharan Africa, but began advocating for abortion rights in the US in medical school. He previously served as the President of the Board of Directors for Medical Students for Choice, and is currently on the Board of Directors for Physicians for Reproductive Health. Dr. Aksel describes a “huge gap” in training and knowledge in providing abortions for physicians, as well as the difficulty that many physicians across the country face in providing the best care and options counseling in areas where legislative interference limits them.
Dr. Aksel and Dr. Fox also discuss being a male OBGYN, and why men choose to go into this field. They explain that obstetrics and gynecology are interesting and challenging scientifically, a great way to help people, and rewarding overall. Dr. Aksel also describes developing rewarding relationships with patients as an OBGYN, an experience he first had as a resident. However, because most OBGYN residencies and fellowship programs are majority-female, male trainees have to adjust to being a minority, usually for the first time in their lives.
Dr. Sarp Aksel earned a Bachelor of Science at Cornell University before completing Medical School at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Residency at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He joined Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates in September and is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.