Kentucky natives Allison Cook, MD, and Sarah Borders, MD, met while attending the UK College of Medicine. 

“I knew that I wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember,” Cook said. 

“As a kid who was born and raised in Kentucky, my dream was always to attend medical school at the University of Kentucky. I only applied to a handful of medical schools, mostly in-state, and when I received my acceptance to UK, I excitedly moved to Lexington and never looked back.”  

Dr. Borders also had her sights set on medicine, and the University of Kentucky, from a young age. While attending UK for undergrad, she participated in the BS-MD Accelerator Program, which has since evolved into the College of Medicine’s Early Assurance Program

In the late 2000s, they joined the UK College of Medicine. The two women became fast friends during medical school and both pursued obstetrics and gynecology residencies following graduation. 

Dr. Cook moved south for her residency at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, but she returned to Kentucky in 2017 to practice at Lexington Women’s Health. Similarly, Dr. Borders traveled out of state to complete her residency at The Medical College of Wisconsin, but she “couldn’t wait to move back to Lexington.” 

The two physicians stayed in touch throughout their residencies and were excited to reconnect and work together again at Lexington Women’s Health

Dr. Borders shares that the two “talk constantly and support each other a lot through their careers and day-to-day stresses.” They even delivered each other’s babies which she said is “next-level friendship”.

In honor of Mother’s Day, a holiday first celebrated in Kentucky, Dr. Borders and Dr. Cook answered the following questions related to their careers, motherhood, and balancing the two. 


Q: How do you balance the demands of work and family?

Dr. Borders: I am still working on modifying and finding balance. Setting boundaries at work helps - before kids, I came in and did all of the deliveries. Now, I come in when I’m on call. I also use the drive home to “shut off work” and plan for the evening, basically the "OB hat" comes off and the "Mom hat" goes on. I also love to be outside with family, go to the park, and go on walks or runs. 
Dr. Cook: Having a supportive husband and parents/in-laws is essential to balancing the demands of work and family. I could not keep up with my busy office practice or frequent call shifts without their help and support. My daughter understands that my job of “delivering babies” often requires me to work long days and nights, and although this is extremely difficult, she is always excited to hear how many babies I delivered and wants to know what all of their names were when I finally make it home. 

Q: Do you think your role as a physician makes you a better mother or vice versa?

Dr. Borders: Both I think. I became a better doctor once I had kids, going through the process made me more empathetic. My first delivery was an emergency C-section, which opened my eyes to the anxiety my patients experience. I was also nauseous and sick during pregnancy, which allowed me to better understand and empathize with patients. I truly love delivering babies, being in the operating room, and going through it all with my patients. The best part is continuity— being able to follow patients throughout their entire lives.
Dr. Cook: I think my role as a mother definitely makes me a better physician. In particular, I feel that it makes me a more empathetic obstetrician. Having experienced pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period firsthand, I believe that I can connect with my patients on a more personal and deeper level. 

Q: Advice for working mothers, especially those working in health care?

Dr. Borders: It’s important to remind yourself that you are providing a necessary service with your skills and setting a wonderful example for your children. I think it means showing that you can work hard and save lives and still be present and be a good partner and parent at home. Spend time wisely now that you have children, and savor every moment that you do have with them when you’re not working!
Dr. Cook: Find your village. Ask for and accept help when needed and offered. Never feel guilty for working hard in your career because your ability to do hard things serves as an excellent example for your child(ren).