Carmen D. Zorrilla, MD 
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine

I am a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UPR School of Medicine, certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Academy of HIV Medicine. I have experience in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and HIV related research that includes behavioral interventions and clinical trials with HIV infected and at risk populations, as well as with pregnant and non-pregnant women. I established an infrastructure for the care of pregnant and non-pregnant women living with HIV and have provided expertise in the development of a prenatal care educational video (Spanish). The transmission rate of HIV infection among the more than 500 infants born to pregnant women living with HIV during the past 16 years at our clinic has been zero.

We established the first group prenatal care program in PR (Centering Pregnancy) with funds from the Innovation Center of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This is the first Spanish Centering Program outside of the Mainland US. One of the outcomes of the program was the reduction in preterm births and low birth weight among infants born of women enrolled in group prenatal care at the University Hospital. Expanding the program to impact and improve the health of mothers and infants is also one of my professional goals. I am part of the group of leaders who spearheaded the research response to the emerging Zika epidemic among pregnant women in PR. I’m leading part of the UPR Ob-Gyn Department service and research response. We also established a multidisciplinary clinic for pregnant women with Zika as well.

On September 20, 2017 Puerto Rico was impacted by Hurricane Maria (Category 4) which devastated the island and produced a collapse in the Island’s power system. Because of this, water, health services, education, economy, fuel distribution and essential services were interrupted. I had the opportunity to write a perspective article in the NEJM describing our initial experience. We are in the process of implementing a study to explore the impact of the hurricane among a group of recent mothers who experienced the hurricane with young infants and a group of women who were pregnant and delivered within 6 months of the hurricane.