I am the I in IWK – Dr. Jillian Coolen

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Dr. Jillian Coolen, maternal fetal medicine specialist with Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been IWK staff for nine years this month, but her passion started well before that.

“When I was 14 I told my dad that someday I was going to work at the IWK and be a pediatrician,” says Coolen. “I was 50 per cent right.”

“I was in my first year of medical school when I did an elective with Dr. Catherine Craig, who’s one of my colleagues now,” says Coolen. “She really sparked my interest in obstetrics and I recognized through medical school that, although pediatrics was an amazing specialty, that this was the better fit for me.”

Coolen followed that path towards taking care of high-risk pregnancies but it still led her back to her hometown and her aspiration of practicing at the IWK. Now, as a mom of three kids and many more titles to go by, Coolen says that it’s her deep roots with the IWK and the focus on bettering women’s health that drives her to continue learning and educating.

“The IWK just always seemed very collegial and was known for providing excellent care, and I just wanted to be a part of that,” Coolen beams.

As a clinician, Coolen provides pre-natal care to women with high-risk pregnancies and is the medical lead for the IWK Pregnancy and Diabetes clinic. Through this clinic, Coolen is involved in research and clinical trials for pregnant women with diabetes. When not on the clinical side, Coolen can also be found educating residents as the program director for the maternal fetal medicine residency training program.

After a recent 8-week professional development opportunity at the University of Alberta, Coolen has returned to the IWK with more even more to contribute. All this while completing her masters in medical education.

Coolen says that she’d eventually like to have a pre-natal clinic in her home community of Spryfield to help the women there and hopes to continue improving on the care she can provide.

“There seems to be movement forward in women’s health care. To have healthy children, we need healthy women. With great pregnancy care, we can really make a difference in future generations.”