Dr. Karen Noblett: Leading By Example

Dr. Karen Noblett is leading the women’s healthcare clinical initiatives at UCR Health. As the UCR School of Medicine Chair of OB/GYN and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, she oversees all aspects of the department which include clinical specialties in gynecology, oncology, urogynecology, family planning, high-risk pregnancies and female reproductive health. Currently there are 12 full-time physicians/researchers providing patient care and there are plans to grow and expand clinical care locations throughout Inland Southern California.
Access and availability to quality healthcare have been barriers for many women in our communities and Dr. Noblett believes that UCR Health provides an opportunity to create a close-to-home answer for patients. As an organization, we have a great mission – one that Dr. Noblett feels privileged to have. “To create something new and bring it to our local communities is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As a surgeon, I love positively impacting my patients’ lives. But the chance to impact a whole community is what moved me to accept this position.”
Dr. Noblett’s inspiration to work within a community and bring help to those in need came from her parents. Her father was a dentist who served patients in the central valley. Growing up in Fresno, Dr. Noblett watched Cambodian refugees come to her town in need of resources and assistance. Upon retiring from his dental practice, Dr. Noblett’s father and mother dedicated their time to help these refugees by opening a dental clinic providing free dental services for 18 years. Their gifts to the community have influenced Dr. Noblett’s career as she strives to help those in need and make the community in which she now lives a better place.
Dr. Noblett began her path to UCR Health as an undergraduate at Fresno State. She then headed to University of California Irvine where she completed medical school, her residency in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in urogynecology and in pelvic floor reconstructive surgery. Then, after a three-month fellowship in electrodiagnostic medicine at Methodist Hospital, Indiana she returned to UC Irvine and joined the faculty of the medical school. She chose her specialty in urogynecology because she felt it was an area that was underserved, despite the fact that there are so many women who suffer from urogynecological issues. While at UC Irvine, Dr. Noblett founded and developed the urogynecology division within the obstetrics and gynecology department and created a board-certified fellowship program. Now at UCR Health, she plans to grow our department in a similar fashion with a goal to create a residency program by 2017, and subspecialty fellowships shortly thereafter.
Dr. Noblett is passionate about teaching and leadership training. She tries to instill in her students excellent surgical and diagnostic skills, and knowing the importance of being a compassionate doctor – one who listens to patients and connects with them on a personal level. She knows that bedside manner is essential to being a great doctor and empathy, respectfulness and professionalism are key in developing patient trust. Dr. Noblett wants to create this culture of respect and professionalism among her medical students and residents and to begin this in their initial learning environments. One of the basic tenets endorsed by Dr. Noblett is that cell phones and other electronic distractions are not permitted in meetings or during grand-rounds out of respect for the speaker. This is an expectation not only of the student and residents, but reciprocal behavior is expected from mentors and the professionals who are working with her learners. She wants to create an atmosphere of learning and career development that will propel her students and faculty into leadership roles.
Another key priority is to create a wellness program for students, residents and faculty to promote healthy, happy and productive healthcare providers that will in turn provide the most outstanding care to patients. 
Dr. Noblett’s high hopes and high standards have already influenced the doctors and staff she is recruiting to UCR Health. Since her start one year ago she has successfully recruited many world-renowned faculty to the department. Her ultimate goal is to create a comprehensive women’s wellness center with resources that include cardiology, dermatology, rheumatology, a breast center and therapies that will promote overall health. She envisions a state-of-the-art facility that will not only train the next generation of doctors but also will provide Inland Southern California women with unsurpassed medical care in an accepting, caring environment.

Learn more about Dr. Karen Noblett >