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Q&A with Mona Yezdani Gillen '01

Share a little about your career and what you've done since completing school.
I am a urologic surgeon practicing in Wilmington, Delaware, with Brandywine Urology Consultants. Since graduating from THS in 2001, I graduated with a Bachelor of Art degree from University of Pennsylvania and a Doctorate of Medicine from Thomas Jefferson Medical College. In 2015, I completed a residency in Urology at George Washington University Hospital and went on to do a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Urology at University of Pennsylvania.

On a daily basis, I am either operating or in the clinic treating patients. I take care of patients with problems related to their kidney, ureter, bladder and female/male pelvic organs. This includes diseases like kidney/bladder/prostate/penile cancer, kidney stones, voiding dysfunction, female prolapse and infections.  

I am also married with two children so a lot of what I’ve been doing recently is running after them. My husband is Peter Gillen and our children are Caelen (going to be in PreK next year at Tower Hill) and Isla.

Why do you do what you do?
I went into medicine because it melded my interest in how the body works with my desire to take care of people. As I learned about different specialties in medicine, I realized I didn’t want to do anything other than surgery. You have the opportunity in minutes to hours to heal and completely improve a patient’s life. In that time period, you take another person’s life into your hands, and they have to trust you entirely.

In addition, urology is such an interesting field. I have stories from cases that most people wouldn’t believe are possible. It really is one of the most intimate medical fields when you consider that what we talk about on a daily basis is really what we’ve always been taught not to talk about. As a urologist, you have the ability to help patients with these diseases that they can’t talk to anyone else about.

What are you passionate about at work?
I am passionate about the trust that patients give me and the care that I provide them. That bond is the most important thing to me. I always try to imagine how I would feel if I was in that patient’s circumstance and the care I would want to receive.

I also am dedicated to promoting and supporting women in surgical fields because there are so few of us in surgery, especially in urology. Being a woman and a mother adds positively to the care that I can provide my patients.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Spending time with my friends and family is what I love to do. Peter, Caelen, Isla (she’s 14 months so she just tags along usually) and I love just about anything outdoorsplayground, park, swimming, hiking, basketball, golf and tennis. We love to travel and just got back from an adventure in Spain with my parentsany European trip with two kids is an adventure. We enjoy cooking as a family and trying new foods as well.

What was your experience like at Tower Hill?
I was at Tower Hill from Kindergarten until 12th Grade. As you can imagine during all those years, I constantly learned new things about myself like what subjects interested me or what sports I enjoyed or what extra-curricular activities I wanted to spend my time on. The thing I always remember about Tower Hill is that no matter what my interests were at that time I had an outlet to practice them. And there was always someone who shared those interests. I played piano for years and I could practice and apply that interest in the band or string ensemble. I enjoyed tennis, field hockey, cross country and basketball at different points and had a team I could share that with. I was interested in Spanish and science and was able to go to Costa Rica for spring break with a number of classmates to learn more about both. The overarching theme is that my experience at Tower Hill was shaped by all the opportunities that are possible there.

How do you feel that Tower Hill influenced your life and career?
Tower Hill really was a second home for 13 years of my life. My dearest friends are still the ones that stood next to me on graduation day and who I have pictures with from when we were 4 years old. Those friends have shaped the way that I look at situations and to this day provide me with advice on what to do at home and at work. They are the greatest thing that I received from Tower Hill.

Also, having the opportunity to learn and make mistakes in the supportive community that is Tower Hill allowed me to have confidence in who I was and who I wanted to be after I left the school and went on to college. Having this confidence in myself, my interest in science and my desire to help others led me down the path to medicine and allowed me to achieve my goal of becoming a urologist.