Lyndsey Harper, MD, FACOG, has an early story familiar to many who enter the field of medicine. “I was one of those kids that always wanted to be a doctor,” she says. “I loved science, and it seemed to match my skill set.”
However, after becoming a practicing physician, her journey took a turn down a road unfamiliar to most in the field: CEO of a start-up.
Although she always wanted to be a physician, Dr. Harper thought that she would become a pediatrician or neonatologist. After her medical school OB/GYN rotation, though, she was hooked.
“I loved the surgical aspect of it, which surprised me. But the other aspect I loved was taking care of women and developing meaningful, long-lasting relationships with them,” Dr. Harper explains.
An Arkansas native, she decided to apply for residency at Baylor University Medical Center, part of Baylor Scott & White Health, after meeting a resident from the program at a national conference. When she interviewed, she was impressed by the close working relationship and support between residents and medical staff. She also was attracted to the size, scope and quality of the program.
As her residency wound down, Dr. Harper also had her first child at Baylor University Medical Center, with one of OB/GYN’s on the medical staff whom she had tremendous respect for, delivering the baby.
“I was in labor with my first daughter when Dr. Littrell asked if I wanted to come work for her group. So I got a job offer and had my first kid the same day,” Dr. Harper laughs.
Once in practice, Dr. Harper would often get questions from women about sexual dysfunction, particularly low libido. She didn’t have great answers for them and couldn’t find much in the way of readily available, scientific resources to address the issue. She decided to join the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health to learn more.
“Thirty-eight percent of women suffer with low sexual desire, but it’s not a complaint that residents and medical students are taught to address,” explains Dr. Harper.
It was frustrating for her, but she also saw it as an opportunity.
“I became passionate about providing both patients and physicians with evidence-based information on sexual dysfunction, particularly low libido,” she says. “And I thought one of the best ways to do that would be through an app.”
The app she launched is Rosy. She hired a local development company to write the code, work on the design and do the initial product launch. She has now moved on to the next phase of building a company around it.
Rosy is targeted at women 25-45 with low sexual desire, but Dr. Harper plans to expand the content to other groups of women. There also is free content for care providers, including physicians, physical therapists and anyone who might be a resource for women on this topic. Five weeks after launching, Rosy had 1,700 downloads.
Beyond the app
Rosy is just one outlet for Dr. Harper to live her passion for helping women. She also is a hospitalist, providing OB and gynecological coverage for Baylor University Medical Center, as well as a faculty member for the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine program at Baylor University Medical Center.
She also gives a lecture to the residents on female sexual dysfunction, which she views as instrumental to their overall development as doctors. “They are just beginning to understand what the physician-patient relationship means and what the responsibilities we have as physicians are, and how to craft discussions that are often uncomfortable,” she explains.
Between teaching, leading a company and her patient care responsibilities, Dr. Harper stays plenty busy fulfilling her singular purpose for initially becoming an OB/GYN: helping women.