February 1, 2024

FACTS Teacher Series: Jamie Obst, DO 

Mission Work, Medicine, and Motherhood

By: Maura Gentry

Director’s Note: As part of our FACTS Teacher series, we highlight the diverse set of physicians and clinicians who contribute their time and expertise to help us educate the next generation of medical professionals via our FACTS elective. Our series continues with Dr. Jaime Obst, an OB-GYN who also has training in the Creighton Model and the Family of the Americas method. With diverse experiences that range from missions work in Ecuador to her current medical practice in Fort Worth, Texas, she lends invaluable experience as an elective case study leader. We are also excited to welcome Dr. Obst as one of our keynote speakers at our 2024 annual in-person conference  — Authentic Women’s Health: Advancing Access Across the Lifespan in Austin, TX on April 19th and 20th.  Register opens soon, so sign up today!

 

Mission and Medicine

 Growing up, Dr. Jaime Obst was naturally drawn to the sciences and was told many times over the years to consider becoming a doctor. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, she was accepted into medical school at Ohio University but decided to defer her acceptance for a year to do a longer mission trip to Ecuador.

“It was a really great year for me,” said Obst. While in Ecuador, Obst connected with a plastic surgeon working for Operation Smile and was offered the opportunity to assist him in surgeries, doing both non-medical and medical work.

“I thought it was amazing how much you could change someone’s life with surgery — and plastic surgery at that,” she said. Ultimately her time in Ecuador reaffirmed her decision to pursue the profession of medicine.

Upon her return to the United States, Obst began medical school in Ohio and her interest shifted from plastic surgery to obstetrics and gynecology. Her mastery of the Spanish language while on mission continues to serve her well: Now, Obst is an OB-GYN in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood in Fort Worth, TX, where she works with many Spanish-speaking patients, including a patient that flies in from Mexico just to receive her care.

Encountering Holistic Methods

Dr. Obst’s current practice, WholeLife Authentic Care, is a multi-specialty office where she provides full-spectrum OB/GYN care. Her present holistic approach has been shaped by various encounters with natural or fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) — initially through her own Catholic faith and then her mission work in Ecuador. While serving on mission, she witnessed the intersection between Natural Family Planning (NFP), restorative reproductive medicine, and the dignity of the human person. It was there that Obst realized how profoundly women’s lives can be changed through a deeper understanding of the female cycle.

“While serving on mission…Obst realized how profoundly women’s lives can be changed through a deeper understanding of the female cycle.”

“I was trying to share this information with people as much as I could,” Obst said. “I saw a hunger for it there, especially in the poorest communities, which really whetted my appetite for sharing NFP and the ways it can help women naturally learn about their bodies.”

Another turning point for Obst arrived during medical school. She spent a summer working with an organization called One More Soul that provides education about the beauty of natural methods of family planning and alternatives to hormonal contraception. Not only did her experience allow her to train in the Family of Americas method and learn more about the Sympto-Thermal Method, but it also gave her a glimpse of her future career.

“That was really the moment that I decided I wanted to be an OB.”’

During medical school, Obst furthered her studies in restorative approaches to women’s health care by completing the Creighton medical consultant training at the Pope Paul VI Institute, where she learned how to apply the principles of natural procreative (NaPro) technology for medical management of common women’s health concerns, including infertility.

Overcoming Adversity

After medical school, Obst was challenged with finding a residency program that recognized the value of her additional training in FABMs and supported her use of these methods in clinical practice. Fortunately, she found such an environment at the Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo, NY.  Obst noted that this OB residency program was just one of “a handful of programs across the country where her approach to women’s healthcare was not only tolerated, but welcomed.”

After completing her residency in 2013, Obst and her husband spent a number of years serving patients in Buffalo. However, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, she and her husband made the difficult decision to move their family of seven nearly 2,000 miles south to Texas due to the restrictions in New York.

Working with FACTS

Dr. Obst balances her professional and personal responsibilities with grace — as Dr. Marguerite Duane, FACTS co-founder and executive director, can attest: “Dr. Obst is an amazing role model for our students, seamlessly combining her work as a physician and educator with her role as a wife and mother. She is an example of what we at FACTS really try to do – empower people with knowledge about their fertility, so they can make informed choices to build their families and balance their career goals.”

“Dr. Obst is an example of what we at FACTS really try to do – empower people with knowledge about their fertility, so they can make informed choices to build their families and balance their career goals.”

Duane first connected with Obst at a conference in 2018. Convicted about the powerful role of FABMs in women’s health care, Obst invited Duane to lead a FACTS speaker training at the residency program in Buffalo, where she then served on faculty.

“She recognized that it is not only important to share this information with women, but to educate her medical colleagues as well,” Duane said.

At the 2019 training, Dr. Duane and colleagues trained about 10 new FACTS speakers (including Obst) to give medical presentations about FABMs for family planning and medical management.

Now, Obst regularly gives FACTS webinars and has also become more involved as a teacher in the FACTS elective. Drawing from her years of clinical experience, Obst facilitates case study discussions with elective students, leading them from looking at a Creighton chart to drawing out all of the key historical markers and ultimately mapping out next steps in patient care. Additionally, Obst welcomes FACTS elective students to observe her at her OB-GYN practice in Texas.

Obst is grateful for the support that FACTS provides to medical students like those she mentors in her clinic.

“It’s night and day what FACTS has done,” Obst said. “When I was at Ohio University, there was nothing to support students like us. Just to have that foundation and to be able to take the elective course is great. I love seeing the diversity of students — people from every faith and background are interested.”

“It’s night and day what FACTS has done. When I was at Ohio University, there was nothing to support students like us. Just to have that foundation and to be able to take the elective course is great.”

Despite the wide range of students coming to FACTS for training, there remains much work to be done in the field as a whole.

Reflecting on the lack of accurate information that persists among medical students and professionals, Obst admitted: “It used to get me really angry, but I know that it’s just ignorance. People just don’t know. They didn’t learn it in medical school. I didn’t.”

Looking to the future, Obst hopes to bring more awareness to FABMs through education for young girls and their parents. So many young women seeking medical care for irregular periods or acne are given birth control pills to manage symptoms but not address the root cause. Obst hopes to help inform families of alternative treatment options.

“I want to write a self-help book for parents and teens, so that they know there are better options,” Obst said.

Learn more about Dr. Obst by checking out her entry in the FACTS Physician/Clinician Directory. If you are an FABM-trained medical professional or educator, please apply here to join the directory.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maura Gentry

Maura Gentry is a freelance writer living in Albuquerque, NM. Trained as a librarian, she is an avid reader and runs a blog reviewing her current favorites. Having just welcomed her first child this spring, she is leaning into baking, crocheting, and going on walks with her dog, Pippi.

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