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Diversity Champion Highlight: Tara Benjamin, MD

2018-07-24_Benjamin_Diversity

About Tara Benjamin, MD

Medical School:  Harvard University
Specialties: OB-GYN, maternal-fetal medicine (high-risk obstetrics)
Career Highlights:

  • Assistant professor, clinical obstetrics and gynecology​​​, IU School of Medicine
  • Faculty advisor, Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
  • Director, Maternal Recovery Program, Maternity & Newborn Health at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health
  • 2017 Women of Influence Trailblazer Award recipient, National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health

Biography

Benjamin specializes in maternal-fetal medicine (high-risk obstetrics). She chose her specialty because it presents an intellectual challenge that gets her out of bed in the morning. It also presents the unique and humbling opportunity to support families in the difficult and delicate care of two patients, which tends to get her out of bed at night! Additionally, she has a special interest in opioid use disorder in pregnancy and has a waiver to provide subutex prescriptions in accordance with the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000. “I’m sure other facilities can’t meet the demand,” says Benjamin when talking about the number of babies born addicted and needed specialized care.

Benjamin was recently named director of the maternal recovery program for Maternity & Newborn Health at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, a comprehensive statewide program designed to improve access to coordinated, safe and high-quality medical care to improve the health outcomes for at-risk pregnant women and infants throughout Indiana. She also completed a Master of Science in clinical research.

Point of pride: Mentoring Patients and Future Physicians

Benjamin is one of only a handful of obstetricians in Indiana approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration to prescribe Subutex, a drug for the treatment of opiate use disorder. In two years, Benjamin has monitored more than 330 patients on Subutex who come from all over Indiana. As many as 95 percent of her patients have experienced trauma. Many of these patients have not yet received treatment for those experiences. Additionally, her work with Student National Medical Association (SNMA) has been a fulfilling way for her to give back in the same way others helped her through her long journey of realizing her dream of becoming a physician. Benjamin also serves as a mentor to other physicians caring for pregnant women battling opioid use disorder.

In her own words: On the Frontlines of Opioid Use Disorder Care

​“It helps me to be empathetic, Benjamin said. “I swear, if you had heard some of these [patient’s] stories, you would be on heroin, too–I know I would. I have to tell them all the time how strong they are. Because they have been through all of this in their life and they’re still able to get up and get themselves to their doctor.”

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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IU School of Medicine

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