Donna Dizon-Townson is particularly qualified to respond about the importance of research.
In addition to her responsibilities in Utah, the renowned researcher travels the world teaching physicians, midwives, and nurses in developing countries how to better care for women and their babies during and immediately after birth.
Dizon-Townson also has published several pioneering papers and received numerous national awards.
Her career path began at Baylor, where she was she a biology major and a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta and Kappa Delta.
Next, she attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, which is associated with Parkland Memorial Hospital, one of the country’s largest and busiest maternity hospitals. Dizon-Townson remained there for a residency in obstetrics and gynecology.
“While I was there, we were delivering approximately 18,000 babies a year,” Dizon-Townson says. “I was drawn to OB/GYN by the mix of both medicine
Dizon-Townson then pursued a fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Utah where she focused on molecular genetic research in the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics.
She has expertise in thrombophilias (blood clotting abnormalities) and pregnancy outcomes. Dizon-Townson was principal investigator of a $2 million grant sponsored by the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network of the National Institutes of Health. This large prospective observational study provided a national clinical standard of care for the management of pregnancy in women with a common thrombophilic mutation, the factor V Leiden.
Over time, her work has become more clinical.
“I take care of women and babies with medical and surgical complications, such as thrombophilias, diabetes, hypertension, preterm labor, and birth defects during pregnancy,” she says.
Along with Jhpiego, an international not-for-profit organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, she has helped develop internationally used training modules. One of her recent teaching trips was to Iraq, with the programs jointly administered by Jhpiego, UNICEF, Latter Day Saint Charities, and various in-country Ministries of Health.
“We all have the same goal — healthy moms and babies,” she says.