Joshua A. Copel, MD, is an obstetrician-gynecologist who specializes in high-risk pregnancy and is an expert in prenatal diagnosis and fetal therapy.
Dr. Copel focuses on prenatal diagnosis of heart abnormalities. “If you think of the heart as the size of your fist, imagine the tiny fist of a fetus at 20 weeks, whose heart is beating about twice as fast as it is in children and adults,” he says. “There are challenges in trying to see and make diagnoses about those hearts early, but because our group was the first to show that children do better with a prenatal diagnosis of heart problems, we have the right team assembled to care for the baby after he or she is born.”
Dr. Copel, who originally set out to become a psychiatrist, says that the background is useful. “When pregnancies don’t go well, having the ability to talk to the couple and to sense where they are and what they need is vital,” he says.
An active researcher, he looks forward to a future without invasive tests, where doctors can predict problems like Down’s syndrome with something as simple as a low-cost blood test.
Dr. Copel is a professor and vice chair of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, and professor of pediatrics. He also serves as associate chief medical officer for Yale Medicine. He has also been recognized as one of the best doctors in the state by Connecticut Magazine.