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Patricia Sulak, MD

sulak photoA Different Perspective
The 2006 University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio Distinguished Alumnus is Dr. Patricia Sulak.  She is currently Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas A&M College of Medicine.  In addition to her busy clinical practice, teaching, and research, she is Director of the Scott & White Sex Education Program in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Scott & White Memorial Hospital, Temple, Texas. 

Like so many of the Distinguished Alumni from the School of Medicine, Dr. Sulak has a long list of awards, publications and other notable accomplishments in her field of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  There are two major events in her life that make her life journey and road to success unique.

Born and raised in Hillsboro, Texas, Dr. Sulak is the middle child of seven.  She spent her childhood on a farm and credits her childhood experiences for learning the basis for her career in medicine – working hard and taking care of a family.

With much support and encouragement from teachers and family, she excelled in school and graduated from the University of Houston college of Pharmacy in 1975.  She started her professional career as a pharmacist.  After a few years practicing, a co-worker urged and convinced her to go to medical school. In addition to initial hesitations due to her self- image of just a “country girl”, she had financial challenges.  Once again, the same pharmacy co-worker not only convinced her of her ability and talent, but became her benefactor, taking her in and providing room and board.   Armed with her new found confidence and the strong support of caring individuals, she completed her M.D. degree from the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio in 1980. 

Dr. Sulak did her residency in OB/GYN at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington, D.C. in 1985 where she was named the Outstanding Resident of the Year among all WRAMC residency training programs. She received the Armed Forces District Award for “Best Scientific Research Paper.” 
She served as a Major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps until 1987 and was awarded their Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Achievement Medal. 

Her medical professional activity centered around clinical research, conducting numerous studies on women’s health problems.  The Scott & White OB/GYN Resident Research Awards were renamed the “The Patricia Sulak Award for Excellence in Resident Research” in honor of her work in creating the residency research program in 1987.

In 1996 while attending a Temple school district Parent Teacher Organization meeting at her son’s school, her interest would peak in another realm.  The school’s principal asked for her help in developing a sex education program. 

 “I wanted to have nothing to do with sex ed,” says Dr. Sulak, “But I thought it would be simple – review a few programs and pick one.”  She was in for a long ride.  Not only did she find that the curriculums she reviewed were not up to date, but she found that there was virtually no teacher or parent training in the existing programs. This was the second major professional challenge to undertake.

Together with a team of health care professionals, the Scott & White Worth the Wait program was created. Dr. Sulak and the team collaborated with the Temple Independent School District and began a sex education program based on medical, legal, and socioeconomic issues.   “I think the most valuable thing about the program is that it‘s all research-based and developed upon fact,” says Kelly Gordon, a science teacher with the Holland Independent School District.  “People can’t argue with facts.” The curriculum arms teachers with facts about sex and involves parents with projects to encourage the students to discuss lessons.  It is based on the practice of abstinence, sending a strong message that sexual activity is worth waiting for.  The program is aimed at middle, junior high and high school students.  Sulak emphasizes, “Kids need to know…that not having sex is the healthiest choice.  It is a straightforward message.  The award winning program has been adopted by numerous school districts in Texas and beyond with outcomes published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Patricia has been interviewed by many national media sources including CNN, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Cosmopolitan, US News and World Report, and Newsweek

Dr. Sulak is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) and is also a Board Examiner for ABOG. She is actively involved in clinical research, conducting numerous studies on women’s health problems. 

For the past 15 years, Dr. Sulak has worked to alleviate menstrual problems such as severe cramps, headaches, and heavy flow.  She is one of the creators of  Her intent is to “silence” a woman’s reproductive system. ”My life, is really about periods and sex,” says Sulak.  

Patricia Sulak is married to Dr. Jeffrey Waxman and they have two sons, Bart and Gabe. 

Congratulations Dr. Sulak!

Information taken from an article in The Austin Business Journal: Family Ties 12/11/2006