Generations Connect 3 OB/GYNs

Posted on Oct 5, 2015

OB-GYNs web

Pictured L to R: Risa Kagan, M.D., Clare Rudolph, M.D., and Marilyn Honegger, M.D

Strong partnerships and working relationships among physicians are a vital part of great health care, but Clare Rudolph, M.D., has unique and enduring connections to her current medical partners Risa Kagan, M.D. and Marilyn Honegger, M.D. 

This familial circle began when Dr. Kagan delivered Clare Rudolph at Berkeley’s Alta Bates Hospital in 1984 and Dr. Honegger was the Rudolph family’s neighbor in Lafayette.

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Dr. Honegger delivered Bennett, Dr. Rudolph’s second son in December 2014

Dr. Rudolph went to elementary school with Dr. Honegger’s son David and over the years their family bonds grew stronger — they even had golden retrievers at the same time.

In the 1980s, Dr. Kagan was one of the first female OB/GYN’s in Berkeley, Dr. Honegger opened her practice in Berkeley and in 2005, they became partners in the newly formed Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation.

In her formative years, Rudolph was encouraged by Kagan and Honegger to become a doctor – just like them.

“I started thinking about going into medicine in high school and then after my first year of medical school I shadowed Dr. Honegger at the Alta Bates Birthing Center and it changed my life,” says Dr. Rudolph. “I observed Dr. Honegger perform a c-section, a vaginal delivery and a postpartum visit all in one day. It was emotionally overwhelming but I liked it!”

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Dr. Kagan holding Dr. Rudolph’s son Bennett.

When Dr. Rudolph was choosing a residency program, her mother contacted Dr. Kagan to see if she would advise her daughter. The email led to a phone call and a candid conversation about Dr. Rudolph’s career prospects as an OB/GYN.

“I remember having a great conversation with Dr. Rudolph and I recommended that training at an academic institution would be the best course for her,” says Dr. Kagan. “It was great to offer her some guidance and I’m so proud that I’m now practicing with such a well-trained physician who just happens to be a baby I delivered.”

After completing her medical degree and residency at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Dr. Rudolph expressed a desire to return home and practice in the Bay Area. Dr. Rudolph and Dr. Honegger kept a regular correspondence with each other and when an OB/GYN position became available, Dr. Rudolph interviewed and was offered the job.

“It’s been fun to be part of Dr. Clare’s life and I’m glad she fell in love with becoming an OB/GYN on my watch,” says Dr. Honegger “I remember sharing many wonderful moments with her over the years and now she’s my partner. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

To complete the circle, and to Dr. Honegger’s delight, she delivered Dr. Rudolph’s son at Alta Bates in December, 2014.

“They’re both trailblazers in our field and it’s a privilege to work with such strong role models,” says Dr. Rudolph, who has been in their practice for just over a year. “I think they’ve really helped to empower women in so many ways.”
Dr. Rudolph says she recently had one of her own patients, a UC Berkeley pre-med student, shadow her for a day.

“It’s nice to be able to share my knowledge and teach another student,” she says. “I remember having the same feeling of excitement and I love to help students the same way Dr. Kagan and Dr. Honegger helped me.”

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