March 21, 2013

By Nicole Williams

LAWT Contributing Writer

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You know her as an Emmy-nominated co-host of the award-winning talk show “The Doctors,” but you may not know that Dr. Lisa Masterson among many other things, is a humanitarian and an advocate for women’s empowerment.

Masterson is a board certified specialist in obstetrics, gynecology, infertility, adolescent gynecology and family planning and is on staff for Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica and UCLA. She also owns a private practice and is the founder and medical director at Ocean Oasis Medical Spa in Santa Monica. The spa offers programs specialized for women in all phases of their lives through exercise, nutrition and spa treatments. Masterson also has a charity called Maternal Fetal Care International (MFCI), which helps pregnant women all around the world sustain healthy lives. She says that being a co-host for “The Doctors” has helped her charity and has been a rewarding experience.

“The show has been monumental for that. I was mostly doing my charity and it was a friend who told me if you get this then you could actually speak to people all over the world. It’s very interesting because the countries that I go to, they actually get the show in Africa and they’ll hear what I say on the show and they get that even when I’m not there, ” she said.

But before becoming such a well-known image in the health world, Masterson has had life experiences that started to pave the way for her career. Growing up, she had the responsibility of taking care of her younger brother. It was the long days of watching over him that stirred something inside of Masterson to find an escape. Even currently, with all of her success, you’d be surprised to know she didn’t initially know she wanted to be a doctor.

“I never knew in high school that I wanted to be a doctor, but my mother had my brother and we’re 13 years apart and I was stuck babysitting him because she had to go back to work because she was a single parent. So to get out of the house, because I spent one whole summer babysitting, I volunteered at a hospital and as a candy striper that’s kind of where I knew I wanted to be a part of medicine and it blossomed from there,” she said.

In fact, it’s Dr. Lisa’s mother who inspires her in everything she does. Her memories of joy and also memories of struggle are captured in her book, “Paper Dollhouse: A Memoir.” The book captures the struggle her mother faced being a single parent living in the South during times of racial segregation. An excerpt from her book proclaims the adoration Masterson has for her mother.

“My mom was my best friend and biggest supporter, and as I’ll say on the show, I owe everything to her unflagging belief in me. It was the one thing I had in abundance growing up in a crazy childhood that seems almost impossibly far from here (Paper Dollhouse: A Memoir).”

The doctor has spoken on her mother’s lost battle to breast cancer both in the book and on “The Doctors.” It is one of the main reasons, she said, for her efforts in improving women’s healthcare.  On an episode of “The Doctors”, titled “Dr. Lisa’s Life Lesson,” she spoke about the pain of losing her mother and the inspiration it brought her.

“I’m so proud of my mom because the thing that my mom left with me was that she was all about surviving, success and serving others. She was a human rights and civil rights champion and people don’t know that about her, which is one reason I do what I do (The Doctors: Dr. Lisa’s Life Lesson).”

The strong bond between Masterson and her mother is one of the reasons she says her most important duty is being a mother to her son, Daniel. She says balancing all of her responsibilities and being a mother can be a little challenging.

“It’s tricky,” she laughs.

“My son knows I’m a human being. When he was little, he would come with me to work. I went with my mother work. I think it’s a very good thing for your kids to be a part of your life,“ she said.

Even with the large workload and responsibilities that Masterson has, she says it is all equally rewarding. 

“When you do things that you love, then everything is exciting and fun. Just like being up all night and not even realizing it; it’s almost invigorating. I think the idea is people have the privilege or can do what they love or find what they love to do,” she said.

Through Masterson’s love of helping others, she has proven to be a world-class caretaker. She has won awards such as the Red Cross Humanitarian Award and the March of Dimes Golden Rattle Award, which she was awarded for her efforts made to improve healthcare for women and children. She also holds seminars on adolescent sexuality for teens and their parents. She continues to be a part of “America’s medical dream team” on “The Doctors” and strives in her continuous effort to improve women and children’s health care around the world.

Category: Health