The Dream Catcher
U-M physician helps American Indian women with mammography service
When Marilyn A. Roubidoux, M.D., was 10 years old, she told her teacher she wanted to be a doctor. The teacher told her medicine wasn't a career choice for a girl. Roubidoux held on to her dream in a different way and became a medical technologist. At age 32, with three little girls, ages 6, 5 and 6 months, she decided to go to medical school. "I applied to only one school. I thought if it was truly meant to be, I would get in." And, she did.
As an enrolled member of the Ioway Tribe of Kansas, she also dreamed of being involved in American Indian health care. She says, "Radiology was my favorite medical specialty but I could not imagine then how this specialty and American Indian health care would connect."
The match is the stuff dreams are made of. Today, Roubidoux is a U-M professor of Radiology specializing in breast imaging. She's spent the past decade involved in breast cancer research in Native American women and develops culturally relevant educational materials about cancer screening for them.
In 2005, the Aberdeen Indian Health Service acquired a mobile truck with satellite capability to transmit mammograms to larger health centers, but needed radiologists to collaborate and read the mammograms. "I thought, maybe this is what I'm supposed to do," says Roubidoux, and she went to work to engage the U-M Breast Imaging Division in this new mammogram screening effort.
Almost 3,000 women at remote reservation clinics in the Dakotas, Iowa and Nebraska have had their mammograms transmitted by satellite and read by U-M radiologists. Roubidoux says, "The women do not have to travel hundreds of miles to get their mammograms, and were detecting the early, treatable cancers."
And her three little girls? "One is a pediatric sonographer, one is a stay-at-home mother and one is an emergency medicine resident," she says. The best part of catching so many big dreams is that she also gets to enjoy the little ones: her grandchildren. -CM
"I really liked this article. Really shows the spirit, perseverence and passion of Dr.Roubidoux. Its a great inspirations story and did inspire me." - Jobby Abraham, Radiology
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