What motivates you to seek your passion on a daily basis?

We all have a story that is unique which gives us purpose to get out of bed every day. I would love the opportunity to share my story and reveal some of the ups and downs that made me passionate about changing the world as I knew it.

As the oldest of three boys raised by a single mother, in the city of Philadelphia, we experienced the reality of a poverty stricken world. Countless sleepless nights were spent witnessing the struggles my mother endured to provide for us. We regularly went without our very basic needs being met, including but not limited to: stable home, reliable income, utilities and food.

I vividly remember the limited resources available and being turned away from many shelters because children were not allowed. It was from theses early experiences that I made a promise to myself, that I would break the chains that bound me. I had a vision of hope for my future to help my family and others.

Opportunities were scarce and college simply was not an option. My way out was through the military which I joined at the young age of 17. I served proudly and honorably in the United States Navy during my formative years. Throughout my service my family remained near dear to my heart while I continued to provide for them.

Upon discharge, I returned home to move my family to Texas to begin a new life. I attended college where I quickly gravitated toward a career in medicine. I had a strong passion to make the world a better place then what I knew as a child.

Along the journey, my path in health care lead me to my chosen field of women’s health. I believe this was a natural decision given the struggles I watched my mother endure. My career choice was solidified by the bonds I formed with families and colleagues, the service I could provide and the pure miracle of childbirth. I am truly humbled and blessed to do what I do.

It is simply an amazing experience each birth, the first babies cry, the look of joy in a new moms eyes as you bring her baby up to her belly, the nervousness when dad cuts the cord. You can actually see all the unsaid hopes, dreams and promises the new couple makes to their newborn in that instant.

This journey has taught me what is important in life and one person can truly make a difference but it takes a village to sustain real change. This has led me to form “Women and Children’s Global Health Initiative”, a nonprofit with a mission to serve while empowering women and children though providing health care, education, mentoring programs. I believe with a healthy start in life the future becomes just a little easier. Dreams become possible and hope is celebrated.

I have seen the difference we all can make and I am passionate about our mission. To quote the Hopi elders, “the time of the lone wolf is over” … “we cannot do this alone”, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for”.

We can be transformative and change the lives of people in desperate need. It will take all of us leaning in to each other, being bold, thinking differently with purpose. I am excited about our future just as I am every time I hear that new baby’s first cry.

Joseph Stalfire M.D, FACOG