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Beyond the White Coat

Profiles of our Women's Health Providers
Keyword: urogynecology

Meet Dr. Steven Swift
Dr. Steven Swift and wife in Italy
Dr. Swift and wife Alisa in Sienna, Italy. 

One might think of Leonardo DaVinci as the quintessential renaissance man – master of art, engineer, and anatomy expert –the list goes on and on. But we don’t have to travel back in time or all the way to Italy to find our DaVinci-like renaissance man at the  Medical University of South Carolina. To meet that person,  just travel to the sixth floor of the clinical sciences building at MUSC and there you will discover professor, surgeon, oenophile, sports enthusiast, father, husband, chef, carpenter – our very own renaissance man, Steven Swift, M.D., board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, and in female pelvic medicine & reconstructive surgery, Dr. Swift speaks very proudly, yet humbly of his many interests and talents.

“I love creating and I think that my passion for cooking, woodworking, and being a surgeon are interestingly similar when you think about creativity,” he says. “There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end in any project-and in each of these situations I use creativity to adapt to each individual project. Creativity comes into play when I think about the result I am trying to achieve. Most importantly, when treating my patients, I adapt the therapy or the treatment to what my patients want, expect, or need to make their lives better. It’s truly about quality of life and because each patient is different, I have to treat each situation differently. This is where creativity in medicine comes into play.”

Laughing, he continues. “That’s why I started building furniture. I had to creatively come up with a place to keep our clothes.” When asked to explain, he continued on to describe the experience that prompted that first piece of  woodworking. “I was a second year medical student with a wife, little money, living in a small apartment in an old house with no closets. We couldn’t afford to buy an armoire, so I decided to build one.” Laughing again he added, “We still have that armoire. It’s in our garage and we keep our sporting equipment in it.”

When not treating patients or building his next piece of furniture, Steven loves to travel to different regions throughout the world that offer great cuisine, great wine and great vistas. Italy floated to the top as one of his favorite places as he described his take on Italian wines and food. “When I think of Italian food I think of pasta, loud and boisterous crowds, and deep, rich wines.” When asked about his favorite Italian restaurants in Charleston he quickly listed Al-di-la in West Ashley, Pane E Vino in downtown, and La Pizzeria in Mt. Pleasant. “The restaurant doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be good.” An avid fan of Italy, he and his entire family plan to visit the medieval village of Soave in Northern Italy where they grow the very special Gargenega grapes for a particular style of white wine. He looks forward to the trip and to spending time with his wife, three adult children and their significant others.

Family for Steven includes his wife of thirty-three years, two sons, and a daughter. He proudly points out each of them positioned on top of the desk he built himself, the bookshelves and the walls. The myriad pictures of his family from across the globe brighten his office as does the smile on his face when he speaks of each of them with pride.   

The conversation continues and eventually lands on the topic of his work and his patients. “While I love cooking and traveling and building things, I am really most satisfied when a patient says ‘thank you’ for fixing me,” Steven states with satisfaction. “While much of what I do is not life-threatening, I know that I can improve the quality of life for the women who put their trust in me,” he continues. “It’s my job to listen to each and every woman who comes to me. And, in that process, I want them to know how together we will overcome their particular issue.” When asked what his patients might say about him, he laughs and says, “They almost always ask me where my bowtie is when I see them just before surgery. I always wear a bowtie when I see my patients in the office, but you just can’t wear a bowtie with surgical scrubs,” he laughs. 

A renaissance man in a bowtie? Why not? It is Charleston, South Carolina after all.

For more information about Dr. Swift or to make an appointment call 843-792-5300 or visit Women's Health at MUSC.

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.