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In making career and life decisions, Permanente obstetrician-gynecologist Kim Warner, MD, focuses on one statement that she holds true: If you empower girls and women, you have better cultures and societies. With her combination of candid honesty and awareness of cultural influences affecting women, Dr. Warner has connected with teenagers in Africa as well as policymakers in Colorado.
Dr. Warner, of Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG), has always had an interest in understanding the educational, economic, social, and health disparities among girls and women in society. Her passion for women’s health education has taken her to Africa, where she does volunteer work to improve the health of girls and women in places like Niger and Uganda.
Dr. Warner emphasizes that she tries to make education a component of the volunteer work so that patients continue to practice self-care after she returns home. “My philosophy is you have to teach someone how to fish, not just catch the fish for them,” she says.
Back home in Colorado, Dr. Warner serves as CPMG’s government relations chair and works with partners at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado to monitor policies that affect the health of Coloradans. She regularly speaks to high school students on topics such as sexually transmitted diseases and does volunteer work helping teenage girls at shelters.
Policy and government work in Colorado and volunteering in Africa may seem worlds apart, but Dr. Warner says it’s important to understand the forces that shape the society we live in. “It just adds to the richness of what you can offer and the different places you can fill in,” she says.