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Beyond the White Coat

Profiles of our Women's Health Providers
Keyword: ob-gyn

“Head-to-Head with Bobby Flay”

The popularity of cooking shows in recent years has spurred men and women alike to create, design and experiment with many different food groups, flavors, and ethnic cuisines. This has never been more evident than in Charleston, SC where the city thrives on its reputation as a “foodie haven.” Yet, it is not along upper and lower King Street where numerous eateries exist, that a most famous chef of Charleston practices her trade. Ashlyn Savage, an OB-GYN extraordinaire, mother, wife and semi-celebrity chef practices her culinary trade in a quiet, family-friendly neighborhood at the end of a cul-de-sac on the Ashley River. This is where the “Queen of Dip” lives.

Dr. Savage and family
Ashlyn Savage and her family on vacation.

“I love to cook,” states Ashlyn Savage, an OB-GYN at MUSC Health who is more often recognized as a popular, and highly respected physician of women, rather than a “top chef” of local fame. “If I do anything for myself, it is cooking. I love to experiment with recipes and ethnic foods, and gather with other friends and families in our close-knit neighborhood where roving, impromptu parties are frequent.” 

“We have nomadic-like parties in the neighborhood moving from house to house on any given night. We also hold contests, with a theme of course, to see who can bring on the best and compete to win a prize or a new title. As part of the contest, you might have to cook a dish that includes a tomato, or collards, or any other random ingredient,” she goes on to explain. “We’ve had a Rib King, a Collards Queen, and I am the Dip Queen,” she laughs. “I won with an artichoke dip, but my best is my 7-layer Mexican dip.”

While cooking and spending time with family and friends is important, most of her days are filled with the responsibility of taking care of women of the low country. Together with her husband, also a physician, the two left the sun-filled days of Charleston for four years of cold and snow in Pittsburgh to complete their residencies. Despite the cold, Pittsburgh proved to be “an easy town to live in,” and they came away with fond memories of the “City of Bridges.”

After moving back to Charleston, another city of bridges, Ashlyn continued her medical career as one of the first female, general OB-GYN’s on staff at MUSC. While she considers herself an “academic generalist” who is involved in clinical care, teaching and research, she describes herself as “more of a teacher than a researcher.” 

“My involvement with learners is that it helps keep me current and is a reminder of how I ended up where I am today.” Ashlyn’s sense of pride in her work at MUSC Health is clearly evident in her voice as she shares her experiences about involvement with women and their families.

“My life is centered on my family, as well as my patients’ families. During a pregnancy, I get to know the whole family, because everyone is involved and by the end of the pregnancy I frequently have met everyone—grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles. It’s not always just the expectant parents who come to hear the heartbeat for the first time—it’s the family. Having a baby is a major life moment, and I cherish that hugely rewarding part of being the OB-GYN for the mom and her entire family.”

Work aside, Ashlyn is also a mother of two boys, aged eight and nine, who keep her busy with the fantasies and realities of football, hockey and baseball. Still huge fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, and other sports teams, the family often chooses to celebrate life events with tickets to sporting events rather than gifts. “We travel instead of buying a thing,” she explains. “Something the entire family can enjoy.” Laughing quietly, she adds, “We still have yet to make it to a Pittsburgh Penguins’ game, but it’s on the list.”

When looking around Ashlyn’s office at photos of her family, posters and art from the special places the family has traveled, and other mementos, you get a sense of a woman who is comfortable, confident and content. She likes being an OB-GYN generalist, she likes being a teacher, she likes being a mom and wife, and she likes being a chef—and her patients more than just “like her” in return. When you hear the admiration and praise from patients, colleagues and her family, we know that with this kind of resume and her knack for creating those “magic moments” for all families, Ashlyn Savage can take on Bobby Flay any day!

Learn more about Women's Health at MUSC Health.

Dr. Edenfield and Cisco on a runThe autumn season often evokes visions of colorful foliage, cool weather, and the beginning of the winter season, but at MUSC Women’s Health, the word autumn for many women in the Charleston area evokes feelings of hope, gratitude, and relief in the form of their local urogynecology expert — Dr. Autumn Edenfield.

While most OB/GYNs gravitate toward the expected path of taking care of pregnant women and delivering babies, Autumn made her way toward an area of expertise that isn’t as easily discussed or shared “out loud” in open conversations.  

As a Charleston native, Autumn has always loved the Holy City, but she gravitated to a much larger city when selecting a medical school by settling on NYU in the heart of Manhattan. For her, experiencing the rigors of medical school and the thrill and excitement of New York City was one of the most exciting times of her life. Not to mention that New York is where she met her future husband, who was also studying medicine at NYU. When asked why New York in particular, she quickly responded with “I loved the feel and excitement of the city where we could walk to restaurants and shops, and run through the park at any time.” 

“This is why I came back to Charleston,” she added. “It’s a smaller city, but the energy of city life is still there.” As Autumn made her way back to Charleston by way of Duke University, it was in her third year of training that she decided on the path to urogynecology. She wanted to remain involved in research and teaching, and as her mentor from MUSC helped to make that connection, Charleston became a likely destination. 

“I always liked science and biology as a child, but I didn’t want to just be in a lab environment and the choice to specialize in urogynecology arrived when I realized I wanted a combination of surgery and medicine. I wanted to “fix” problems, and uro-gyn has given me that option. It’s very satisfying to be able to actually provide great treatment options for some very serious issues experienced by women. My patients are often very active and proactive in their search for an answer. They aren’t embarrassed about their issues and readily share their personal stories as a way of stressing just how strong their desires are to return to a life of normalcy and no embarrassment. ”

Laughing lightly, Autumn added, “I sometimes feel like I’ve put ‘Ms. Humpty Dumpty back together again.’ In all seriousness, women can experience devastating consequences related to their uro-gyn systems, and I’m glad to be the one to give them hope and an answer to their problems. I also am privileged to work with women of all ages because it’s not just an issue that affects senior women, it can affect women of all ages.”

When asked what she does to relax, Autumn describes her personal life as “always being on the go.” In addition to her busy practice in Mount Pleasant and Summerville, Autumn has a 10-month-old son named Cisco and a fellow physician husband. Still attracted to city life, Autumn and her husband live in the downtown area where they can still walk to restaurants and shops, but also run (another passion).

“Before I became pregnant, I ran several half-marathons and the routes in the downtown area were perfect for training. I picked routes which also housed public water fountains, which made it easier to make my way around town — Hampton Park, Waterfront Park, the Cooper Bridge, Folly Beach, and beyond. I just plug in to a podcast to get in the mood, and I am off to the next water fountain.”

“You just cannot go to Duke University and not end up being a basketball fan,” she adds to the list of pastimes. “Whenever we get a chance, we try to take advantage of March Madness and go to an NCAA basketball game. It doesn’t matter who is playing, it’s just fun to watch.”

As we settle into the end of summer with the promise of cooler weather on the horizon, Autumn Edenfield gears up for her next run and her next surgery. Looking very comfortable in surgical scrubs, she epitomizes the lifestyle which many of her patients seek as they look to her for an answer to their problems – healthy, active, and happy. For our uro-gyn specialist, being able to fulfill their needs is a connection in life worth its weight in autumn gold.

For more information about Autumn Edenfield, M.D. or to schedule an appointment in Mount Pleasant or Summerville, MUSC Health Womens' Health or call 843-792-5300.

Image of Dr. Meglin at Machu PichuThe game “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?” began as an educational resource for teaching children about geography in the early 90s, but Michelle Meglin, OB-GYN created her own version of learning about geography by traveling throughout the world with her favorite traveling companions. Most recently, she could have been found floating in a hot air balloon across the Napa Valley in northern California with her gang of nomads who also relish the thrill of adventure in different locales. Having caught the travel bug early in life, Michelle has traversed our country from east to west, and back again, never content to visit the same place or stay in one location too long. “I have spent a lot of time abroad, but now it’s time to conquer all of the states at home,” she reports with a patriotic air in her matter of fact statement.  

“I love to travel,” she adds. “And, I do so quite regularly. “And,” she adds this time with emphasis and a playful grin on her face, “I don’t always know where I am going.” While that sounds somewhat mysterious, the truth is that within her group of wandering friends, each takes a turn in planning their annual Memorial Day weekend outing. “It’s great to let someone else plan out all the details, be surprised at the choice, and enjoy yourself all at the same time.” But, in spite of her international expeditions and the cross-country ventures, her favorite journey to date is the one that landed her in Charleston, SC.  

“From an early age, I knew I wanted to go into medicine,” begins Dr. Meglin, who was raised in Wilmington, North Carolina with her parents and three siblings. “My family had a tremendous impact on my decision to go into healthcare, and it seemed like a natural path for me.” Unfortunately, the main impetus toward a career in medicine was the result of a personal tragedy that befell her family, hitting her square in the face with mortality. Her brother’s illness and subsequent death at age fifteen, inspired her to make this decision – medicine and taking care of others became her path to follow in life and from that fated choice, she did not waver.

Dr. Meglin attended undergraduate school at Davidson College in North Carolina, followed by medical school at Wake Forest. “Once I chose medicine, I always thought I would go into pediatrics,” explains Dr. Meglin, “But was drawn to women’s care at an early junction in my medical training, and I never looked back.” After graduating from medical school, she went to Virginia Commonwealth University, where she completed her residency in OB-GYN. During this time, her mentor suggested she look at MUSC and Charleston as a place to continue her career. The connection was made and as they say – the rest is history.

Dr. Meglin’s spirit and energy for her patients is revealed daily and it is easy to see that why her true passion in life is women’s health. “I am drawn to the variety of care I see in women’s and at MUSC, the relationships I form and the bonds I create as I help my patients through some major milestones of their lives.” This credo and her ability to connect with her patients is what have made Dr. Meglin so successful early on in her career.

Dr. Meglin has been with MUSC for two years and feels at home in this academic setting at MUSC. She is finding her niche in adolescent medicine, family planning counseling and management, and pregnancy. She also finds great fulfillment in the ability to teach. “My biggest joy is not only seeing patients, but to give back to the next generation of OB-GYN providers. No two days of my job are the same and it is what I love most about my career – the balance, the variety, and of course, the amazing women I get to meet!”

The road to medicine has been a greatest excursion for Dr. Meglin. The journey has not always been perfect, and those who know her well, understand that she keeps that very personal reason for this noble choice in careers, close to her heart, and always on her mind. And, at the end of the day when the sun sets on the beaches of California, or the moon rises over Machu Picchu in Peru, or the heather blooms in the moorlands of Scotland, her patients always know that her humble compassion for women are what make this doctor so unique and special to MUSC Women’s Health.

For more information on Dr. Meglin or to schedule an appointment, call 843-876-3292.

Dr. Change and daughter rehearsign Bye Bye Birdy“What’s the story morning glory? What’s the tale nightingale?” is how the story begins. 

“This is what I do when I am at home,” Gene Chang, M.D., from the Department of Ob/Gyn, states somewhat seriously as he waves to an invisible audience.

“It is common in my house for my wife or son to be at home rehearsing lines with my daughter,” he continues. “When they are ready to perform, a hush falls over the room and the mood is as serious as I might find in an operating room. It’s actually quite scary.” Chang pauses, takes a deep breath and continues smiling. “Sometimes I even get to stand-in for rehearsal.”

“Right now, we are helping my daughter prepare for her role in Bye-Bye-Birdie which her theater group will perform at Piccolo Spoleto,” he adds proudly. ”Her acting/singing is something totally different for us and I didn’t think I would ever have been interested in before. I credit my daughter for introducing me to Hamilton, which is now an obsession for me.”

He laughs easily and then adds, “You know, I think I’d love to act. In fact, I’d like to be that actor-what’s his name-Ken Jeong? You know he’s actually a doctor and has his own TV show. I want to be that guy in my spare time.”

These are not the words you expect to hear from this Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist, a physician who cares for some of the most complicated of pregnancies. He continues talking and claims that he always wanted to be a doctor even though he didn’t come from a family of doctors. “I don’t know if that idea was self-generated or parental programming. I just knew from an early age that I would be a doctor.”

“I was born just outside of San Francisco, but my mother’s work brought my family cross country to the East Coast moving first to New York, then Philadelphia and Miami before landing in Virginia. I went to medical school at the Medical College of Virginia and then came to Charleston for my residency where I met my wife who is also a physician. Following 4 years in the Air Force, I did my fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at MUSC and have remained on staff ever since. Now, I spend much of my time seeing patients in our Fetal Care Center.”

“When I was a resident, I actually answered a casting call for the sequel to Ace Ventura which was filming in Charleston,” he adds during a break in the conversation. “one of the questions the producers asked was whether I would be willing to shave my head for an additional $75. Naturally, I said yes. I was actually cast as a monk in the movie but had to pull out last minute because of work. I think if I’d been in that movie, I would have become Ken Jeong!” he teases, with a bit of Dennis the Menace quality in his voice, and on his face. It’s difficult to know whether he is joking or not as he grabs a piece of candy from the candy bowl on his desk, popping it in between the infectious grin spread across his handsome face. Most likely, he is joking.

When asked how he spends his leisure time, he responds without hesitation. “I’m my kids’ dad and I’m my wife’s husband. It’s pretty amazing how accomplished they are, I just ride their coat-tails. I spend time with my daughter rapping Hamilton or learning about her newest role and I am my son’s biggest fan for whatever sport he is playing. His sport is whatever is in season and I try to help him prepare,” he states with pleasure. “You can often see us throwing a football by our house, playing basketball in the driveway, or taking batting practice at the batting cages near our house.”

“As for me, I play guitar when I can and I love to play golf, though I’m no Tiger Woods- I’m more like Happy Gilmore. Thankfully my colleagues Chris Goodier, Robbie Conatser, and Keith Willan don’t talk too much smack and let me play with them.” He smiles again impishly.

Dr. Change and a studentAs the conversation turns to his profession, the humor is checked and the serious, engaged, and dedicated physician emerges once again. “Fundamentally, my instinct is to be a teacher and sometimes I wonder whether I am a doctor who teaches or a teacher who doctors. It’s a toss-up.  Either way, teaching is a big part of what we do with patients when we diagnose abnormalities in their baby,” When asked to describe why he has chosen to care for the most vulnerable of patients, Dr. Chang explains, “Taking care of babies with malformations is tough and can be emotionally draining. My quirky sense of humor is a way to deal with this I guess. Anyway, for the longest time, we could only “diagnose,” but now we can “fix” some of the problems we find in babies which is cool. We are reimagining the possibilities and hopefully making a difference and this is what drives me to do what I do.”

“My job,” he continues “Is to understand and to be respectful of my patients’ beliefs and desires, and to help them achieve a degree of humanity at this most difficult of times,” he states quite compassionately.

Once again, Gene Chang’s quiet, easy manner fills the air and carries you effortlessly into a place which feels comfortable and secure, setting his audience at ease. A quick and faint smile crosses his face as he sits at his desk surrounded by photos of his family, his friends, and his accomplishments, and in that moment you realize this is no act. Dr. Eugene Chang is the real deal and he is no stand-in. Bravo, Dr. Chang.

For more information on Dr. Chang visit MUSC Health Womens Health or call 843-876-1200.