Honoring Pelvic Health Superheroes: The Life & Legacy of Dr. James E. Carter

pelvic floor physical therapist Dr. James E. Carter

By: Dr. Julie Sarton

Most people involved in pelvic health can tell you that increasing awareness can be an uphill battle. That’s why we wanted to highlight our "Pelvic Health Superheroes" during the month of May—a month dedicated by the International Pelvic Pain Society to increasing pelvic pain awareness.

One of our many Pelvic Pain Superheroes (which includes doctors, trailblazers, health professionals, and patients alike) is my late uncle, Dr James E. Carter, who helped co-found of The International Pelvic Pain Society (pelvicpain.org).

He touched SO many lives and without his influence, I wouldn’t do what I do today.

In terms of Jim’s accolades – he left some serious shoes to fill. As The Owner of The Women's Health Center of South Orange County, A Fellow of The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Clinical Associate Professor at UCI, Jim was well know for his treatment of chronic pelvic pain. With a love for writing, Jim authored over 40 research articles, co-authored the book, "Pelvic Pain: Diagnosis and Management," and served as editor for many professional journals. He co-founded this society years ago with his good friends and colleagues Dr. Perry, Dr. Butirck and Dr. Howard and then went on to serve as a past president.

He previously received 5 U.S. patents for surgical devices and lectured both nationally and internationally. Born in Kansas City, Missouri on October 31, Jim grew up the 6th of 8 children and was the awesome but definitely quirky Uncle to 26 of us cousins. Jim was married to Grace, the love of his life, whom he ran his practice with, traveled with and enjoyed hitting the ballroom dancing floor with.

What I personally remember most was not his accomplishments, but THE WAY he practiced medicine. See below for a few highlights of the hundreds upon hundreds of comments his patients left as a tribute to him.....

“Dr. Carter was the first doctor who truly listened to me instead of writing me off.”

“I can honestly say in my 56 years of life, I have never received such care by any physician.”

“Dr. Carter gave me a voice when I didn’t have one.”

"What other Doctor, when you would call his answering service on a Sunday, would call you back 10 minutes later, go through the problem and then apologize for taking so long to get back to you?”

Yes, Uncle Jim, what a legacy you have left us…..and 12 years later you are still teaching us.

A true pelvic pain superhero, indeed. It is the courage and dedication of people like my Uncle Jimmy that fill patients and fellow pelvic health professionals with hope for the future of pelvic floor physical therapy. 

Did you have the chance to meet Dr. Carter? We'd love to hear about it—leave a comment to share your loving memories.