By Trishna Buch
Welcome back to another episode of “People Who Have Been Selected to the Texas City Independent School District’s Foundation for the Future.” This week we are featuring Martha Rac. Rac has been selected to the Foundation’s Legacy Hall and will be honored during the banquet on Thursday. In addition to this, she—like the seven other inductees—will also have the honor of having her picture and biography displayed at her high-school, as a way to remind current students that hard-work will lead to great accomplishments.
Born in Houston, Rac and her family quickly moved to La Marque. “My parents have been in the Texas City-La Marque area since the late 70’s and I lived there until I graduated high-school,” Rac told me. She earned her high-school diploma from La Marque High School in 1999, and went to the University Of Texas at Austin to start her college career.
While at UT Austin, Rac studied Chemistry and simultaneously earned a minor in Math. She was also a member of the two-time Big 12 Champion softball team, who came within one strike of going to the National Championship. It was at UT that she decided to pursue a career in medicine. After graduating in 2004, she began medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, earning her medical degree in 2008. From there she moved to Dallas and completed a four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Parkland Memorial Hospital and a three-year fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
Rac—who has been working as a doctor since earning her medical degree in 2008—is well-known in the field of Obstetrics. During 2015, she became aware of the Zika virus and the risks it posed for pregnant women and their unborn children. As a result, she became a part of a collaborative team at Baylor College of Medicine that that opened a Zika-specific obstetrics clinic in January 2016 at the Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “The clinic provides care for pregnant women who have been exposed to the virus,” she told me. Women are referred to the clinic if they are exposed to the Zika virus while pregnant or attempting pregnancy, mostly from travel to areas with endemic Zika virus, and Rac and her team provide them with diagnosis, pregnancy management and long-term follow-up care for both the mother and baby. She also told me she has published several research papers discussing the virus, how to avoid it and the steps to take should one become infected while pregnant. But, when asked, she had a simple solution to avoiding being infected with the virus—“avoid going to the places that have rampant Zika infection.” She clarified her point by explaining that the majority of Zika cases in the United States are travel-related – meaning people have gone to places with Zika virus, became infected and then brought the virus back home. “So the best way to avoid infection is to avoid travel to high-risk areas,” Rac told me.
Along with the Texas Children’s Pavilion for women Zika- specific obstetrics clinic, Rac is also co-director of the High-Risk Obstetrics Infectious Disease Clinic at Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital. This clinic focuses on providing care to pregnant women with high-risk infectious diseases during pregnancy. Rac is in academic medicine, and in addition to taking care of patients, she also teaches medical students, obstetrics and gynecology residents and maternal-fetal medicine fellows at Baylor College Of Medicine.
But medicine isn’t Rac’s only success story. In fact, she was a member of her high-school’s softball team, which ended up winning the State Championship in 1997. “I started in right-field and was the back-up pitcher behind Dee Douglas”.
In her free time, Rac enjoys relaxing, cooking and spending time with her family. Earlier this year she was featured in Texas Monthly’s Super Doctors 2017 Rising Stars and has been featured on Houston Public Radio’s NPR.
The Post congratulates Rac on her selection to the Foundation!