Last September, we announced the inaugural members of the Peloton Health and Wellness Advisory Council, a group of esteemed medical professionals in various fields that directly tie to the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of our Members’ lives. That’s why it was so great to hear that our Members were excited about us drawing on the expertise of this group to inform product and content decisions, community and social impact initiatives, research and more, to make the Peloton experience even better.
Today, we’re pleased to announce that the Council has grown, and we’re welcoming Drs. Heather Irobunda, MD, and Pooja Lakshmin, MD, as our newest additions. Dr. Irobunda, a board-certified OBGYN, and Dr. Lakshmin, a psychiatrist specializing in perinatal psychology, both understand the importance of taking care of your mind and body, during and after pregnancy. Together, with our head instructor and VP of fitness programming, Robin Arzón, who is currently expecting, they will work to reshape how women think about caring for themselves during this special time in their life.
In our community, we know that there are thousands of Members at various stages of motherhood -- we see you #PeloPreggos, #WorkingMomsOfPeloton, Official Peloton Moms Group and more. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, we’re here for you, and Drs. Irobunda and Lakshmin are here to help us show up for you, even stronger.
We also want this Council to be reflective of our unique spectrum of Members. We’re pleased that, as the Council grows, we’re able to diversify the thoughts and insights we receive from the medical community, furthering our commitment to democratize fitness, and bring health and wellness to all communities.
And, now, without further ado, please meet Dr. Heather Irobunda and Dr. Pooja Lakshmin!
HEATHER IROBUNDA, MD - OBGYN
Heather Irobunda is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist currently practicing at NYC Health and Hospitals. She offers over eight years of experience in the medical field. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, followed by a Post Baccalaureate Program at the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She went on to complete her Doctorate of Medicine from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, at Yeshiva University in 2011.
Heather completed her Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the National Capital Consortium, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and joined the Guthrie Ambulatory Care Center as an Attending Physician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Fort Drum, NY helping soldiers, spouses and veterans. Here, she focused on making sure military women had access to high-quality women’s health care during their service.
She is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and licensed by the New York State Board of Medicine, and completed military training in Army Officer Basic Leadership, and Combat Casualty Care. Heather is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has also completed two years of medical research, with a primary focus on sexual health.
Heather has won a number of awards, most notably the Best Case Report Award by Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2013. She has invested her time in teaching and leadership programs, serving as the Academics Chief Resident at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, followed by her time as the Clinical Instructor in the Physician Assistant program at LeMoyne University. Heather is looking forward to sharing all she has learned with her online community in order to improve access to reliable, relatable healthcare information for women.
“I have found motherhood to be fascinating, because we as women are able to grow another human inside of us! Even before a baby is born, there are so many ways in which our health and environments can positively affect a baby. I was drawn to maternal health because I am able to help positively frame an entire life from the beginning. I am able to help a mom maintain her best health, which she can then pass on to her baby. It is an honor to be able to help women, through my practice of obstetrics and gynecology. I am so thrilled to be working with this team that is fearlessly shifting the narrative around what a pregnant woman can do!”
POOJA LAKSHMIN, MD - PSYCHIATRY
Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist and writer specializing in women's mental health and perinatal psychiatry, a frequent contributor to The New York Times, and the founder of Gemma, the first digital education platform dedicated exclusively to women’s mental health. She is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine, where she is a clinical supervisor in the Five Trimesters perinatal psychiatry clinic. Dr. Lakshmin applies an integrative approach to taking care of women suffering from maternal mental health conditions, and is active in maternal mental health advocacy work and community building – both in person and through digital platforms. She serves on the board of directors of the Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, a national nonprofit dedicated to furthering maternal mental health policy and the Editorial Advisory Board of Clinical Psychiatry News.
Pooja is most passionate about empowering women and sees her clinical work as a perinatal psychiatrist as an extension of this mission. As a contributor to The New York Times, she discusses topics related to women's mental health, maternal mental health, and well-being. Her advice has been featured on The Drew Barrymore Show, and in Glamour, Marie Claire, Self, Shape, Harper’s Bazaar, Bustle, among other media outlets. She is currently working on a book about the tyranny of self-care. You can find her on Instagram @womensmentalhealthdoc and Twitter @PoojaLakshmin.
Pooja studied at the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude in Women's Studies and Biological Basis of Behavior. She received her MD from Jefferson Medical College. She did her internship and PGY2 year of psychiatry residency training at Stanford University, finishing her psychiatry residency training at George Washington University, where she was part of the Global Mental Health track and received the 2016 Diane K. Shrier award for research in Women's Health. After finishing her training, she joined the faculty at GW, where she is a clinical supervisor for the Five Trimesters Perinatal Psychiatry clinic.
In 2020, after noticing a gap in accessible digital resources tailored to women’s mental health, Pooja founded Gemma, the first digital education platform dedicated exclusively to women’s mental health. Gemma provides expert lead virtual courses to support women’s mental and emotional well-being and is building an innovative approach to online learning and women’s mental health.
“I've heard so much about how great the Peloton community is from friends, colleagues and also some of my patients. When Peloton reached out to me with me about their vision for my role on the Council, I was really excited. As a perinatal psychiatrist, my expertise lies very much in mental and emotional well-being. I would not call myself a fitness connoisseur by any means -- in fact, fitness has always intimidated me! I think in that sense, I bring a relatable perspective to the Council, along with my clinical expertise in psychiatry and mental health. I'm looking forward to working with Robin and the rest of the Council to advise Peloton on how to tailor their products and content to provide real and sustainable support for women and mothers who are dealing with a multitude of stressors right now, as well as how to support folks who may not be able to afford the Bike, or those who might not have thought of themselves as a typical Peloton user.”