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7 Quick Questions with Urogynecologist Monique Vaughan, MD

urogyncologist Monique Vaughan, MD

Urogynecologist Monique Vaughan, MD, evaluates and treats pelvic floor disorders, including:

Vaughan also treats more complex pelvic floor conditions through medicine or surgery.

Meet a UVA Urogynecologist

These conditions can make exercising and other activities you love uncomfortable and embarrassing. In our 7 Quick Questions, Vaughan explains why she loves urogynecology and her work with patients.

1. Why did you become a doctor?

I chose to become a doctor for many reasons. I think the biggest is that it allows me to combine many of my life goals and interests into one career. It allows me to show people kindness every day. It consistently challenges me to grow and do better, and it is just a fascinating field.

In my mind, it is the best way that I can use my personal strengths and skills to impact the world around me. 

2. Why urogynecology?

Urogynecology and pelvic surgery was fascinating to me as a medical student. I remember my first day on my urogynecology elective when I was a fourth-year student. I remember the faculty member I worked with and how caring and intentional she was.

The same was true for my urogynecology attendings when I was a resident. I remember scrubbing into vaginal surgery cases in med school and residency and thinking that there was no better or more interesting way to do surgery.

Ultimately, I realized during my OB-GYN residency that urogynecology was the perfect subspecialty for me. I wanted to use my mind and hands to improve the quality of life of women in my community. 

3. What is your favorite thing about Charlottesville?

I can't name just one — I just feel content, like I belong here. Charlottesville has felt like my home since I was here for residency. I love the mountains, the amazing restaurants, the music scene, the small-town feel, and the kindness of the people that live here.

4. Where did you grow up?

My family moved around a bit when I was growing up. I was born in Charleston, West Virginia, but spent most of my middle and high school years in small communities near Gainesville, Florida. I went to high school in a tiny north-central Florida town called Trenton.

When I was growing up, we only had one stoplight in our whole county. I only had about 60 people in my senior class. It was quite a culture shock when I went to college at the University of Florida and had over 300 students in some of my freshman classes. 

5. What’s the most urogynecology research happening right now?

I think the most exciting area of research in my field is the urinary microbiome. This area of research is also growing very rapidly over the past 5 years. We're beginning to learn the characteristics of the normal healthy urinary microbiome and how certain bladder disorders, like overactive bladder and spinal cord injury, disrupt or alter it.

One of my research projects is looking at how the urinary microbiome is different in menopausal women with recurrent urinary tract infections, compared to healthy menopausal women. As a whole, we still have so much to learn in terms of how the microbiome impacts health and disease, including in the bladder.

Pelvic Floor Treatment

Our urogynecologists offer caring, personalized treatment and minimally invasive surgery.

6. Who is your inspiration?

So many people — my grandparents, my aunt, and my mom shaped me into who I am from a very young age. They taught me my most important core values of kindness, diligence, and hard work. They also taught me to make the most of what I have.

My husband has also been a huge inspiration for me every day for the past 12 years. He is the kindest, funniest, most hardworking, and creative person I know. He is a true Renaissance man.

Finally, I find inspiration from my partners, Drs. Elisa Trowbridge and Kathie Hullfish. They possess all of the qualities that I think make one truly successful in our field — they are kind, compassionate, astute clinicians. They are patient yet wise teachers and talented surgeons. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by these wonderful people in all aspects of my life. 

7. What’s your favorite thing about working at UVA?

The combination of excellence in research, education, clinical/surgical care, but also in a collegial setting. I think having all of those things in one place is truly exceptional. 

View Transcript
Transcript: I'm Monique Vaughan. I am a female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery specialist here at the University of Virginia. I see patients with a variety of pelvic floor disorders. That ranges from patients who have pelvic organ prolapse, which is where the pelvic organs drops down or bulge into the vagina, causing a lot of discomfort. I also see patients who have urinary and bowel control issues as well as those who have more complex pelvic surgical problems. Treatment options can range from more conservative things, like medicine or pessaries, to surgical options. We have various surgical options that we can discuss. I try to gauge my discussion with patients based on their values and what they're most interested in. I see a lot of patients who, because of these pelvic floor issues, can't experience the activities that they love. For instance, they can't jump on the trampoline. They can't chase after their kids or their grandkids. They can't exercise because of their pelvic floor issues. And what I love most about my specialty is helping patients get back to those things that they love.

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