Heather van Raalte, MD
I entered the field of medicine because I wanted to make an impact in the way people live their lives. Throughout my medical training, I was drawn to issues in women’s health, which led me to complete a residency in obstetrics and gynecology.
Over years of seeing female patients, I was surprised myself to see just how common pelvic organ prolapse and bladder control issues are among women and the tremendous burden these issues place on women’s lives. Pelvic floor disorders are conditions that can slowly change a woman’s life to the point where she is restricted from doing the things she wants to do. And many women suffer in silence due to embarrassment, fear or the misunderstanding that pelvic floor disorders are simply a normal part of aging.
Fortunately, there has been a tremendous increase in attention to pelvic floor disorders, both in number of the advancements in medical or surgical treatments and in the general awareness among patients and physicians that these disorders can be effectively treated. Through these advancements I found that caring for women with pelvic floor disorders has become one of the most gratifying areas of women’s health care.
I completed a three-year subspecialty fellowship in urogynecology at The Institute for Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. The Institute gave me the opportunity to join a group of dedicated physicians who are “cutting-edge” in the latest therapies and minimally invasive surgery for pelvic floor disorders. At the Institute, I was able to see the impact I can make in a woman’s life. Though pelvic floor disorders are usually not life threatening, the treatments we offer can often give a woman her life back. It is a true privilege to be able care for each patient and work together to restore a quality of life that has been lost through these conditions.
When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with our family, friends and our two amazing sons. My husband, Jamie, and I are originally from the Princeton area and are excited to be back home. We are avid travelers and after living and traveling through many places in the world, we are always looking for the next destination to explore.