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“I Would Choose the Same Life Path”: Dr. Hirata’s 30-Plus Years in Medicine

Mar 30 2022

Meet Alice Hirata, MD, an OB/GYN at our Richmond West End office.

“I entered my specialty in 1991 and I helped start the West End office in March 2017,” she shares. “So, while I was formally hired by Bon Secours five years ago, my professional relationship with St. Mary’s Hospital began in 1991.”

Dr. Hirata shares that her medical calling was guided by her beloved genetics professor at College of William and Mary.

“He encouraged me to pursue medicine. During my medical training, I realized I was fascinated with the ability to ‘fix things’ surgically but I also wanted to have true relationships with my patients,” she shares. “I stepped on a maternity unit prayerful that I’d like supporting the birth process. I had deep relief and sincere joy touching the first baby I helped deliver. It was then I found my home.”

Finding profound purpose and satisfaction in life through her work is one aspect of her job that Dr. Hirata finds most rewarding.

“Without a moment’s hesitation, I would choose the same life path as it has supplied endless mission, close relationships with women who have entrusted me with their care and many ‘mountain top’ moments supporting birth – each unique and magical.”

She continues, “I’m most proud of the advances made in the delivery of care within Women’s Health – be it the support offered to a couple during labor, the initial relationships of trust with a young individual seeking medical care or numerous lifelong experiences with my patients. I consider each of them friends and have treasured our sharing of life’s twists and turns. I guess I treasure it all.”

Dr. Hirata acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous challenges and affected the daily practice of medicine.

“It’s been a fire requiring compassion, teamwork and resilience,” she shares. “Medical care has learned to prioritize, offer care virtually when appropriate and to realize that human kindness and contact remain essential. Communication and relay of evidence-based medical information to patients is critical but constantly evolving.”

When Dr. Hirata reflects on her colleagues, teamwork is paramount.

“I deeply trust and respect what each team member brings to the table,” she shares. “This is especially true in our collaboration with certified nurse-midwives or midwives. Creating a respectful, supportive and fun workplace has gotten all of us through some hard times.”

As for her mentors, she adds, “Amy Burkholder, head of labor and delivery at St. Mary’s, has been great to me. Over the years, she has been a relentless example of compassionate leadership. She is a resource to all who know her and has supported me throughout my professional journey. She is a shining example of sincere focus on optimization of maternal care: one patient, one RN, one provider at a time.

National Doctors’ Day is an opportunity for Dr. Hirata to recognize the challenges and joys of a life full of mission.

“We all are blessed to have this opportunity,” she adds.

And if Dr. Hirata wasn’t a physician, she thinks she would still be helping others but as a midwife in a small town.

Help us celebrate National Doctors’ Day today by sharing a heartfelt message of appreciation for Bon Secours your provider! Please visit bonsecours.com/doctorsday to submit your message of thanks.

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