Growing in up in Honduras, Zaire and Egypt, Dr. Cannon-Smith watched her mother, a family medicine physician, treat American Embassy staffers on the family dining room table. “From a young age, I remember helping her care for people in our home and when she would go on calls to deliver a baby or stitch up someone who had stepped on glass or had a minor accident. Unlike my siblings, the sight of blood really didn’t bother me, so I was always my mother’s helper.”
It inspired her love for medicine. When she finally returned to the United States (she was born in Colorado), she studied biology at Brown University, and then went on to medical school at the University of Michigan. “I knew on day one of med school that I was going to be a surgeon of some type,” she admits.
During a rotation in urology, Dr. Cannon-Smith knew she’d found her calling. “I enjoy the personal side of urology, taking care of people, educating them,” she says. A residency in urology at Loyola University Medical Center reinforced her decision.
While she is an expert in treating urinary incontinence in both men and women, Dr. Cannon-Smith received fellowship training in female incontinence and pelvic floor reconstruction at the University of Pittsburgh. There, she received an NIH grant for her work on innovative treatments for stress urinary incontinence.
Now two decades later, she provides patients with individualized therapy as a founder of Urology Partners and one of the few urologists certified in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. “When I see a patient there is a period of re-education, she says. “I explain things in a very simple way so she can understand there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment.”
Dr. Cannon-Smith understands when women are apprehensive about treatment. “Sometimes, I meet with someone two or three times before she’s no longer fearful. But when she’s ready to move forward, I’m happy for her because I know treatment has the potential to change her life. And when she comes back afterward and gives me a hug because it has changed her life, that’s very rewarding. That’s the difference I want to make in people’s lives.”
When she is not caring for her patients, Dr. Cannon-Smith enjoys spending time with her husband and four children. They reside in Grapevine.