She improves women’s quality of life and raises the standard for a neglected medical field
Job Title: Urogynecologist, Lois Hole Hospital for Women, President, Canadian Society for Pelvic Medicine
As her parents were refugees to Canada from Iran — where anyone who follows the Bahá’í faith is denied entry to any secondary/post-secondary education — May Sanaee has always felt driven to pursue her education (Canada was the first Western country to open its doors to Bahá’í refugees).
“To know that my mom always wanted to be a doctor but didn’t have the opportunity, that, I think, was my drive.”
It wasn’t until well into her medical residency that she even heard about the field, urogynecology, that would become her focus. Sanaee explains it’s neglected because it involves female anatomy that has been historically ignored in textbooks and many patients have shame sharing their issues.
Sanaee feels real reward by substantially improving a patient’s quality of life.
“Patients who can have sex for the first time in 15 years without pain,” she says, “that’s the patient that’s like, ‘This has changed my life, my relationship.’”
In her role as the president of the CSPM, she’s also helping set the standards for urogynecological care and protecting patients from scam artists, who trick them into paying thousands of dollars for ineffective treatments.
Outside of her medical career, Sanaee volunteers her time with other members of the Bahá’í faith community to support youth in Maskwacis develop spiritual education and serve their communities. Sanaee has hope for what the future will bring her patients. “Just yesterday I told my patient, ‘I learned about this new surgery that I think will help you. Do you want to try it?’ Every single day we can be like, ‘Let’s try this new thing.’”