Natalia Richey, CNM, MSN is a nurse-midwife on the Midwifery Service in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mass General. She cares for patients at the Mass General main campus in Boston and the Chelsea Health Care Center.

How long have you worked at Mass General?

Just over six months.

What is special about Mass General?

Although I’ve only been working here a few months, my impression so far is that Mass General is an incredibly high-functioning hospital that attracts hard-working, diligent people. Everyone here is ready to work as a team to achieve equity in healthcare.

What do you like most about your job?

I love the excitement of working on the labor floor and caring for women of different socioeconomic classes all in the same setting. I also love being able to provide many of our patients with quality prenatal care, primary care and social services that they may otherwise not have access to.

Describe your journey into health care.

Since I was little, I have been interested in caring for people. When I got to college, I declared a major in anthropology and decided to be pre-med. Since many of my anthropology classes were focused on women’s health, I became drawn to this field. I decided to shadow a team of OB/GYNs and midwives at a local hospital. After several weeks of being in the clinic and on the labor and delivery floor, I knew that obstetrics was exactly the place for me.

Has there been an influential woman in your life who supported or inspired you on your journey into health care?

My mother has been one of the most caring, loving and inspirational women in my life. She came to this country from Peru over 30 years ago and barely knew anyone. She and my dad worked tirelessly together to build a woodworking business that certainly would not be as successful without her. In that way, my mother has always taught me by example. She encouraged me to work hard and to never be afraid to ask for help. She always encouraged me to pursue a career in health care because she knew that’s where my passion and my heart were.

How can we encourage more women and girls to enter the sciences?

Here at Mass General, we have many strong female mentors who have taken the time to work with students at all levels. To that end, we should make every effort to expose young women to the breadth of careers in the sciences at a young age. We should introduce them to talented and intelligent female professionals. One approach would be to implement more shadowing opportunities for students, whether at a hospital, laboratory or university.

What contributions have women made in the field of medicine that influenced your role or specialty?

As someone who is passionate about public health, I have always been inspired by Florence Nightingale.

She used her skills as a statistician to help guide her nursing care. Through her tireless efforts, she revolutionized hygienic practices in health care and undoubtedly saved countless lives. Moreover, her social reforms were also impactful, including advocating for better hunger relief and helping to abolish prostitution laws in India.