Michael Thomas, Director of OB/GYN Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility at the UC College of Medicine, has dedicated his career to helping patients, students and the community.
As a reproductive endocrinologist, Thomas’ research and clinical care focuses on both contraception and fertility. While it may seem counterintuitive to both help people get pregnant and help prevent people from getting pregnant, Thomas argues that it’s not. It’s just two sides of the same coin.
Thomas’ contraception work has focused on hormonal birth control but also non-hormonal contraceptives like developing new condoms and intrauterine devices (IUDs). He has also worked on different fertility-related issues from fertility medications to in vitro fertilization (IVF). Thomas is particularly interested in finding ways to make IVF more affordable. Today, IVF is rarely covered by insurance and can cost thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. Thomas’ goal is to make becoming a parent more affordable and accessible for all people.
But Thomas’ passions expand beyond his research and clinical work. He’s involved in the larger Cincinnati community and is a dedicated teacher and mentor to his students at the UC College of Medicine.
“Being a mentor is just as important as doing a lot of things yourself,” said Thomas. “These are people who were trained at the University of Cincinnati who have used their knowledge and gone on to help train others in the Cincinnati way. The University of Cincinnati Fertility Program has disbursed people throughout the country, and they continue the philosophy that we have set out, which is research, teaching, community service and clinical care.”
When interviewing for his program, Thomas says he looks for candidates with an “and” factor—people who want to expand beyond focusing singularly on research or clinical care.
“I think it’s important to be able to not only do the research and--that's where that "and" comes in--do the clinical trial research and do the patient care and do community service and do teaching and education,” said Thomas. “We can't even begin to emphasize the fact that the commitment is not only to our patients, but also to the community that you live in.”
When it comes to community involvement, Thomas doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. Each year he even returns to his junior high school in Robbins, Illinois to speak to seventh and eighth grade students and demonstrate how to perform surgery on a surgical simulator.
“I think it's just so important that we understand that we are more than just the faculty of the University of Cincinnati, we are also thought of very highly within the community, and we should always try to make sure that we're available.”