Dr. Asima K. Ahmad is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist with a passion for improving access to care for all patients, irrespective of social, economic or financial circumstance. Dr. Ahmad earned combined medical and public health degress from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health. She then completed her internship and residency in OB/GYN at the Yale School of Medicine, followed by her fellowship training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of California, San Francisco. (As you might imagine, she is thrilled that her career has come full circle back to Chicago, treating patients in her hometown!) Dr. Ahmad has published extensively in academic literature on a wide range of topics in infertility, women’s health and global health delivery, with special interests in PCOS, ovarian reserve and novel technologies in infertility access (particularly the INVOCell device). Outside of work, she focuses on global infertility and women’s health, having worked on projects across the globe from South Asia to the World Health Organization in Geneva. Dr. Ahmad believes every patient deserves an individual, personal approach to fertility, formed through a deep understanding of a patient’s goals and the best of medical science and innovation.
Q & A with Dr. Ahmad:
What do you like most about what you do?
I’m driven by the challenge of improving societal access to high-quality, safe and effective reproductive health, whether in the United States or abroad. My life’s work focuses on securing that human right to have a family, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, class or country of origin. Helping my patients find the best path forward to meeting that goal is what drives me – and seeing the fruits of that work, from the fetal heartbeat heard on that early ultrasound to the babies themselves, is what brings me incredible joy. Everyone has a right to have that feeling – and I’m here to help make that a reality.
In practice, what are you most proud of?
Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, I saw first-hand the challenges women face in managing their health amid the pressures of daily life. During my education and medical training, I focused on projects that assessed and increased access and quality of care through improved communication and education of health care providers and community members.
I’m proud to have continued that focus as an infertility specialist, where my research works on increasing access to fertility services for patients who might not otherwise get the care they need. At the University of California San Francisco, I performed a randomized-controlled trial on a novel medical device (INVOcell) to determine cost-effective means to providing fertility care in resource-limited settings. I paired that work with social entrepreneurship efforts, co-founding a YCombinator-backed fertility benefits startup specifically designed to democratize access to high-quality fertility care. Our field is an incredible one, and I’m committed to helping every patient identify the best path forward for their unique needs.
Why did you choose to work in the field of reproductive medicine?
I firmly believe that the right to health – including the right to optimal fertility – is a basic human right. I see each patient as a woman or man ready to be empowered – and I’m committed to providing the tools, medical knowledge and coaching necessary to make each individual’s dream a reality. I revel in the entire spectrum of fertility care – family planning and building, the initial diagnosis and management of infertility, fertility preservation, LGBTQ care and single-parent family building. My reason: each aspect of our work contributes to the realization of that human right. To me, there’s no more humbling, or greater, honor than to help men and women on that journey.
What do you consider your special areas of interest in reproductive medicine and why?
Broadly, I believe in giving our patients options to build their families on their terms – at the right place, at the right time and in the right way. With that in mind, I’ve always been attracted to certain conditions that present unique challenges to that process, such as polycystic ovary syndrome and ovarian aging.
My work also focuses on delivering care of the highest value – that you’re getting the kind of safe, effective and nurturing care you deserve. I am very interested in cost-effective treatment options like the INVOcell device and minimal stimulation or natural cycle IVF, and I’m always on the lookout for the latest research and innovations that could transform my patients’ lives.
What is your approach to medicine?
I take a simple approach to medicine. I remove the barriers that society puts between us – desks, computers and the like – and take the time to understand your unique journey to this point. To be able to treat you to the best of my ability, I take pride in learning where you’re coming from and building a deep understanding of your values, beliefs and goals. No two patients are alike – and I love each patient’s treatment plan to be tailored to their unique needs.
Share something unique people don’t know about you.
I bought an electric guitar years ago on a whim – and I still secretly hope to one day pull it out and blow everyone’s mind.
What do you do for fun in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
I’m thrilled to be back in Chicago, exploring the city I once called home. Living in the heart of downtown makes it easy to pursue my dual passions of art and fashion design. Whether it’s using the body – or an actual canvas – as the place to express an artist’s dreams and beliefs, I find the arts exhilarating. Having bounced around some of the country’s finest culinary scenes, I’m also a certified foodie, and I’m pumped to explore the best of what Chicago has to offer. No bio of me would be complete, however, without paying homage to my first and most deep-seated passion: Bollywood films and South Asian music. If you feel like talking about the latest Shah Rukh Khan movie or analyzing the depths of Arijit Singh’s most recent ballad, come find a seat next to me!
Fluent in Punjabi, Urdu, and Hindi, can speak basic Spanish
Doctor of Medicine, Pritzker School of Medicine – University of Chicago, 2005-2010
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences – Yale School of Medicine, 2010-2014
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences – University of California San Francisco, 2014-2017
Masters in Public Health and Global Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 2008-2009
Awards & Accreditations
Finalist for Clinical Research Fellowship and Mentor Award in Women’s Health, Endocrine Society – 2016
Pacific Coast Reproductive Society in-Training Scholarship – 2015
Outstanding Resident Teaching Award, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine – 2015
NAMS/Teva Women’s Health Medical Resident & Fellow Excellence Award, North American Menopause Society – 2013
Arnold P. Gold Humanism Honor Society (Resident Inductee), Yale School of Medicine – 2013
Resident Reporter, American Society for Reproductive Medicine – 2012
Medical Staff Patient Experience Award, Yale-New Haven Hospital – 2012
Calvin Fentress Research Fellowship, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago – 2009
Humanitarian Award, University of Chicago – 2008
Keith Edson Global Health Scholar, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago – 2006
Dean’s List, University of Chicago – 2000-2004