From a young age, Sarah Cross, MD, M Physicians maternal-fetal medicine physician, knew that she wanted to go into medicine.

She had an aunt, uncle and grandfather who were all physicians and, every year at family reunions, the three of them would have very animated conversations about their work.

“I remember as a young child liking the idea of being able to travel and help people,” Dr. Cross said. “It’s sort of cliche, wanting to help people, but I thought that it seemed like such a great thing to get to do with your life.”

After completing an undergraduate degree in Psychology, she planned to take one gap year between undergrad and medical school – but the summer she graduated from college, her mom passed away unexpectedly.

“That experience took time to recover from,” Dr. Cross said. “Not that you can really ever recover from something like that, but recover to the point where I could imagine setting foot in a hospital again.”

But eventually she did, and four years later, she enrolled in medical school at the University of Chicago.

“At first, I thought I was going to be a psychiatrist, because of my psychology background and my passion for trying to understand the way people think,” Dr. Cross said. “However, during my third year, I did a rotation in obstetrics and ended up falling in love.”

For her, it stood out amongst everything. 

“There are so many different things that you could do within obstetrics, and I loved that,” Dr. Cross said.

After she completed her medical degree at the University of Chicago, she returned to the East Coast for her residency and fellowship and worked for a short period of time as faculty at Yale Medical School.

“Not long after when I started on faculty at Yale, my husband decided he wanted to try something new,” Dr. Cross said. “On a whim, we decided to look for jobs in Minnesota, and when we came to interview at the University of Minnesota, we ended up loving it here.”

They’ve been here since 2017, and for the most part, they are incredibly happy with their decision to move to Minnesota. 

“Now, with COVID-19, it feels very far from family,” Dr. Cross said. “But aside from that, it’s been an absolutely lovely place to live.”

In March – in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – she took over as the medical director of the Birthplace at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center.

“I was really working on COVID-19 full time, scouring the literature and asking other people across the country what they were doing, what their protocols were,” Dr. Cross said. “We changed a lot of things — we developed detailed protocols about how to do cesareans on COVID-19 positive patients, how to handle different types of emergencies, how to approach labor — there was so much work that went into it.”

Not only has she taken care of patients during the pandemic, but she had a baby of her own in April, as well.

“So, I really understand what mothers are going through right now,” Dr. Cross said. “I went through a lot of the same things and while obviously my insight into it is a little bit different because I have so much knowledge, it was still a scary experience.” 

Since her return from maternity leave, she has continued to focus a lot of her time on COVID-19.

“There’s new data coming out all the time,” Dr. Cross said. “In fact, I  just received two publications this week from the CDC about pregnancy and COVID-19. However, we are working on other things as well now, too. It’s a very interesting time.”