Valerie Baker has been named director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and the inaugural TeLinde-Wallach Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Baker says she aims to integrate services and streamline workflows to improve the patient experience.
Valerie Baker becomes Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
In 1981, the country’s first IVF baby was born after Howard and Georgeanna Jones—doctors who trained and held leadership positions at Johns Hopkins—brought this procedure to the U.S. In the years since, the department team continued making advancements in fertility care through breakthroughs in research and technology. In 2019, the Johns Hopkins Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility began a new chapter linking this legacy to the present as Valerie Baker, who previously served as medical director and chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Stanford, became the division's director. She is now the inaugural TeLinde-Wallach Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins, a position endowed by Howard Jones.
“I feel so grateful to be able to lead the division I’ve been learning about since I was a medical student,” Baker says. “It’s an incredible opportunity to join this team during such an exciting period of growth.”
Baker, who received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and residency and fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, takes the helm of the division as its ambulatory clinical space expands dramatically. The division plans, she says, to move the majority of its services and academic offices into a consolidated space.
Rather than sending patients elsewhere for procedures such as sperm retrieval, hysteroscopy, or dilation and curettage, these procedures will eventually be performed onsite, Baker explains. The assisted reproductive technology laboratory will also move to the same space and will broaden its services, offering more access to preimplantation genetic testing of embryos, ovarian tissue cryopreservation, egg freezing and others.
Baker also aims to streamline workflows in ways that improve patient experience — for example, she says, making it easier for patients to coordinate care with other specialists at Johns Hopkins, such as rheumatologists or maternal-fetal medicine specialists, or to finance their treatments and work with insurance companies.
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Each of these changes will be key to helping the division care for an increased number of patients, says Mindy Christianson, an assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology. “In the past five years, the number of patients who come here for just IVF has doubled,” Christianson says. “Dr. Baker’s leadership will help us better serve patients as our volume continues to grow.”
Baker says that she’s excited to have joined the division during a time of rapid research discoveries, such as the outcomes and fertility preservation work by Christianson; research on nutritional contributors to uterine fibroids by Chantel Cross; and studies on uterine fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and genetic causes of fertility by James Segars. She additiionally hopes to increase the number of outstanding physician-scientists within the division and mentor those early in their careers.
“Johns Hopkins has a strong legacy in this field," Baker says, "and a group of clinician-scientists who will continue to advance patient care and research discoveries into the future.”
Fetoscopic Spina Bifida Repair Procedure
Watch as Ahmet Baschat, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Fetal Therapy, and Ob/Gyn Jena Miller narrate surgical footage of a fetoscopic spina bifida repair procedure and discuss the benefits of the approach, recovery for mother and fetus, and ideal candidates for the operation. For more information, contact 1-844-JH-FETAL (1-844-543-3825)