Dr. Gigi Reveals Her True Identity and New Career!


It’s a very exciting day because our OB/Gyn physician, “Dr. Gigi” reveals her identity and her new career direction! If you’ve been following along, a little over a year ago “Dr. Gigi” kindly agreed to share her career transition with us in real time. In the initial post, she told us she was considering a second residency as well as a variety of nonclinical options. In her post from last September, she had narrowed down her direction to two choices.

Today, she not only tells us what her new nonclinical career is, but…….

Drum roll………

She also reveals her true identity!

“Dr. Gigi” is none other than the wonderful Dr. Xiomara Santos! Please read on to hear her update.

Q: What’s happened since last September with your interests in informatics and medical writing?

Dr. Santos: A lot has happened. I’m now working as a freelance medical writer! The pivotal moment came when I was watching a webinar on being a freelance medical writer by Dr. Emma Nichols.

When she described the ideal personality traits to be successful in the field (detail-oriented, analytical, ability to work alone, organized, etc.) I felt as if she was talking about me. Honestly, I got chills. All of my “must-haves” for my ideal job were on the list. I enrolled in her 6-week course and then decided to start my own freelance medical writing company.

Q: How was the freelance medical writing course?

Dr. Santos: The course was a great resource, covering all the aspects of working as a freelance medical writer, including how to run a freelance business, set up a website, reach clients, etc. In addition, it included feedback modules (which do require time), where you submit writing assignments and receive feedback. Besides learning from her feedback, the modules were very helpful in understanding how to approach the common types of projects in the field.

Q: What happened after the course?

Dr. Santos: I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on projects with Emma’s company. I continue to receive work from her. Having this experience gave me the confidence to reach out to other clients. I guess you could say I’m biased towards the course, I think it was completely worth it, and it played a key role in what I’m doing today.

Q: What do you like about being a freelance medical writer?

Dr. Santos: I believe in playing to your strengths and I feel that’s what I’m doing with this type of work. Being an introvert, I prefer (and I’m better at) working independently. Other strengths and skills needed in this field, such as being detail-oriented, analytical, and able to concentrate for long periods of time, are skills that I’m good at and enjoy.

I like that I get to research different medical specialty areas and learn about the latest advances in the field. And I like having control of my schedule. As long as I submit a project by the deadline, how I organize my days is completely up to me. What a change from practice!

Q: What’s challenging about being a freelance medical writer?

Dr. Santos: Finding the balance between too much work and little work can be challenging. You don’t want to turn down projects, but you also don’t want to commit to a project you can’t complete on time.

Reaching out to potential new clients can be challenging because of the time involved in researching and creating a contact list.

This is not necessarily a challenge but I should mention that it is not “relaxing” work. It requires intense concentration and can be mentally exhausting when working on something for several hours. Also, some projects sometimes take longer than anticipated and you might have to work long hours to meet a deadline.

Q: Do you miss clinical medicine?

Dr. Santos: I miss discussing cases with my colleagues and communicating with them in general. I do not miss being in clinic. However, while I’m happier doing what I’m doing now, and I cannot picture myself happily practicing medicine, feelings of guilt still resurface from time to time… but not enough to make me want to go back.

Q: Any advice for physicians interested in medical writing?

Dr. Santos: In the past, I was sort of interested in medical writing but I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure if it was a good fit for me. But then I realized I didn’t really know the full scope of the field. So, I encourage anyone with even a slight interest to learn more about it.

Medical writing has different areas and so far, my focus has been in the educational area, which includes CME and other content for a clinician audience. The website for the American Medical Writers Association has a lot of resources regarding all types of medical writing, including a new medical writer toolkit.

If you’re interested in medical writing as a freelancer and want to learn more, you can watch the free webinar by Emma that clinched it for me.

Q: Any advice for physicians considering a transition?

Dr. Santos: Be honest with yourself and keep an open mind. Learn about your Enneagram personality type. Instead of asking yourself if you could make yourself fit the jobs that you’ve heard of, ask yourself what type of ideal jobs fit you, and start from there.

Thank you so much, Santos, for being an intrepid member of the career transition posse! I greatly appreciate your participation and candor.

If anyone would like an overview of medical writing, you can take a short online course for $89 through the University of Wisconsin. This can help you decide if Emma’s course could be right for you.

Tomorrow (Thursday) I’ll be sending out the survey results on the future of The Doctor’s Crossing. Whoo hoo!!!

Stay tuned for the next blog on May 29th with a special guest whose voice you may be familiar with! Hint.. his initials are “JJ”


I do not have any financial affiliations with Emma Nichols or her course.



Latest Posts

Find what you're looking for:

Heather Fork

Leave a Comment

Tim O

The coaching I have had with you has been life changing."

You helped me find the courage to seek out leadership positions and become a medical director as well as a physician advisor. I am grateful we crossed paths and am a different person because of it. You have inspired me to "believe" in spite of my inner skeptic. I consider you one of my most important mentors and am proud to also call you a friend. This says a lot given the apprehension I felt when I took a chance with our first coaching session. Even though I have already made a successful transition, I still value your ongoing mentorship and can enthusiastically attest that the value of your services is tremendous!

- Tim Owolabi, MD

Family Medicine
Lynette Charity

“I was at a crossroads in my medical career. I asked myself, "Do I stay or do I go?" 

I met Heather at the SEAK conference. She and I revisited this question.  Did I want to quit being medicine completely? She helped me to identify my needs, wants, and my vision for my FUTURE, not just in medicine, but in life!!!

She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

- Lynette Charity, MD

Gail Miller

“I am forever grateful to Heather for helping me to recognize, I am more than just my M.D." 

Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

- Gail Miller, MD

OB/Gyn physician

“Thank you, Heather, for helping me transform my career, my faith and my life."

What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Heather helped me to discover my passions...by doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth...

Today...my wife and I are opening our first concierge medicine clinic in a community we love. I’m actually excited to have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I believe it’s meant to be, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship and an emphasis on faith. I know if I had not reached out to Dr. Fork, my life would not be where it is at today.

- Steve Lapke, MD

Papillion, NE
Sue Zimmermann

“Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart."

She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

- Sue Zimmermann, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Devki Patel

After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

Through her encouragement, practical advice, and professional connections, I was able to find a non-clinical position at a state Medicaid agency that aligned with my passion for population health and serving low-income communities. In addition to her coaching sessions, Heather has built a community of like-minded physicians through her blog, and I feel honored to recommend her to friends and colleagues who seek to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives.

- Devki Patel, MD

Jay Macregor

Working with Heather ultimately helped me leave my job in corporate healthcare and find a path that was much more fulfilling."

My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

I was able to find a surgery job that better aligned with my goals and professional interests.  Additionally, Heather helped me start a consulting business which has allowed me to pursue a true passion: helping medical students, residents, and attendings surgeons navigate the challenges of high-stakes standardized exams.    

If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

- Jay MacGregor, MD

Colorectal Surgeon

“I gained the confidence in myself to develop an action plan that blended the best parts of my experiences and interests into a cohesive career." 

Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

By feeding my creativity and interests in other realms of my professional life, I’ve found renewed compassion for my patients and myself, making every shift an opportunity to actually care for people. Thank you Heather. I really couldn’t have made these changes without your help!

- Liz McMurtry, DO

Emergency Medicine Physician

The simple truth is - Heather Fork totally helped me change my life."

I never would have had the courage to make the changes I’ve made without her unwavering support, wealth of knowledge and commitment. 

When I first started working with Heather, I was downtrodden...I’d been practicing medicine for 20+ years and yet had never quite found my place.  During the first year I worked with Heather, I left the practice I’d been working at, and recreated an entirely new professional purpose.

I’m now an executive and leadership coach, a university professor, and a Brené Brown Daring Way facilitator, and I have never looked back.  I love what I am doing more than at any other time in my professional life and I credit Heather with seeing in me what I was never able to see in myself, until now.

Don’t hesitate, don’t doubt yourself, schedule your time with Heather as soon as possible- she can help you reconnect to your purpose and reinvent your life.

- Amie Langbein, DO

Family Physician
Untitled design

"After 30 years in academic medicine, I wanted a career change but had no idea where to start. Medicine was all I knew."

I signed up for coaching with Heather and it transformed my life. She helped me get clear on what I wanted my life to look like. We reviewed my skills, values, and strengths. She instilled hope in me that change IS possible after 50 years! 

The outcome is that I have created a life I love! I practice endocrinology part-time and own a life coaching business! Coaching with Heather is one of the best investments I have made in my life. 

- Karen Barnard, MBBCh, MPH

Endocrinologist and Life Coach

"Heather’s approach was great! She would listen to me and helped me appreciate who I am."

I remember when she said ‘do your resume before our next meeting’, I was about to push back but she gently nudged me along and I’m glad I did exactly what she wanted me to do. We also did interview prep via Zoom and I was offered a great job in UM. She has continued to follow up even after I was offered this job, helping me with pointers about negotiating. I will totally recommend the Doctors Crossing and Heather to anyone feeling stuck like me and looking for a great coach! Thank you Heather!

- Modupe Oladeinde, MD

Family Medicine