Dr. Dustin Costescu is an obstetrician/gynecologist at Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) McMaster University Medical Centre and Juravinski Hospital. Dr. Costescu received this year’s Pat Mandy Inclusion Award for contributions to inclusion work at our hospitals. Watch the nomination video for Dr. Costescu.
What do you do?
My area of care focuses on unmet needs in sexual and reproductive health. This includes sexual dysfunction, vulvar disorders, family planning, complex contraception, adolescent gynecology and transgender care. Or, I can also care for people simply tell me they have a funny case and wonder if it’s a gynecology problem.
Often, these are patients with unique health needs or are referred by other gynecologists when they aren’t sure where to go next.
What inspires you?
Many years ago, my own experiences as a patient were not good. As someone who sought care, I experienced judgment, dismissal of my concerns and I couldn’t trust my health care team.
My area of care focuses on unmet needs in sexual and reproductive health.
I vowed to be better than that. And while I don’t like to privilege one patient’s experience over another, I’m very much motivated by those encounters where you know you’re making a connection a patient couldn’t make before with their doctor.
Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.
It’s hard to pick one positive HHS experience. I am always pleasantly surprised by the effort and care our staff provide to ensure our patients get the best care.
For instance, when I first started offering transgender surgery, I was nervous my patients would experience barriers or insensitive care, which many do along their journey. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone from nurses to health care aides to volunteers, no one skipped a beat. Patients can feel that support.
Our staff very much have a pulse on their community and want to see it thrive. They recognize their role in serving its needs.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m an introvert who will talk to anyone.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
One thing I hear a lot is, “Wow, you are so much nicer than I expected,” which makes me laugh. Anyone who knows me knows I’m an introvert who will talk to anyone.
I think there is an assumption advocates have to be so-called fighters. We can be passionate in our work and be respectful doing so.
How do you use social media in your work?
I use my social media account to educate and advocate for the sexual and reproductive health needs of our community. You can follow me on Twitter @BirthControlDoc.