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Spotlight: Mary Pukite, MD, loves caring for patients during moments of greatest need

Mary Pukite, MD, is one member of a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team at the University of Minnesota Health Women’s Health Specialists Clinic.
Mary Pukite, a caregiver and advocate, helps women through pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and other important moments of their lives.

Mary Pukite, a University of Minnesota Health obstetrician/gynecologist, loves caring for women during pregnancy and childbirth—important, joyful moments in their lives.

Pukite is one member of a highly skilled care team at the Women’s Health Specialists Clinic on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota Medical Center. The clinic, which opened three years ago, is designed to provide medical treatment for women based on collaborative and integrative medicine, and is run by an interdisciplinary team of specialists. Today, the Women’s Health Specialists Clinic is recognized nationwide for its expertise in dealing with pregnancy issues, ovarian diseases and a host of other problems that affect women.

That recognition is largely due to the first-class team of providers, like Pukite, who help women achieve optimal health and wellbeing. We spoke with Mary Pukite, MD, a University of Minnesota graduate who now helps train new generations of physicians.

Describe your role within University of Minnesota Health. What interests, skills and experience do you bring to the organization?
I practice obstetrics and gynecology, which means I take care of women throughout their reproductive life—including pregnancy and childbirth—and into menopause. I help women in our clinic, during labor and delivery and in the operating room.

I see patients with a variety of complaints including abnormal or heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, sexual dysfunction, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids and menopause symptoms. And we see a lot of high-risk pregnant patients. Working together with members of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Center care team, I assist these patients during their pregnancies and in the hospital during delivery. At that point, my role is to help deliver the baby through a vaginal birth or cesarean section.

I also perform a wide range of surgical procedures, including removal of ovarian cysts, tubal ligations, removal of tubes and ovaries, hysterectomies and myomectomies. I have a special interest in minimally invasive procedures including laparoscopic and robot-assisted surgery. I’ve completed special training in robotic surgery.

Why were you drawn to obstetrics and gynecology?
I love caring for women at such important times of their lives, and I love teaching the next generation of physicians who will care for women around the state and country. Childbirth has such an impact on the entire family and brings with it such joys and worry. I enjoy being an advocate and caregiver during these times. I also really enjoy complicated surgeries. The problem-solving component of this really appeals to me. When faced with a complex problem, how can I get to the best end result in the safest way?

Learn more about the Women's Health Specialists Clinic.

What do you love about the University of Minnesota Health community?
I have a strong sense of connection here, from both a personal and professional perspective. I went to medical school here and completed the second half of my residency here. I’m proud of the education I received and want to continue to provide that same high level of academic training for other students. Some of my family members have also received outstanding care at our institution.

Describe one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had as a physician here.

Unfortunately, a lot of my most poignant memories are sad ones. As a surgeon, I regularly face difficult situations, helping families through really hard times. These are hard on me, too, but it’s gratifying to help people at their time of greatest need. In terms of happy memories, I got to deliver two of my own clinical partners’ babies; that memory, and my connection to those kids, is pretty cool.

Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.

It surprises many people to learn that I’m also a mechanical engineer. I have a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Perhaps that’s why I’m so fascinated by robotic surgery and robotic technology!