by CARMEN SIERING
“Fun fact,” says Dr. Tashera Perry, an OB/GYN with Indiana University Health, adjunct clinical assistant professor for the IU School of Medicine, and the associate chief medical information officer for IU Health South Central Region. “I’m a high school dropout. I don’t actually have a high school diploma.”
When Perry, who grew up in Westfield, New Jersey, was in 10th grade, she was asked to join the Mary Baldwin College (now Mary Baldwin University) Program for the Exceptionally Gifted. She graduated cum laude in 2005 at the age of 20. She earned her medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 2011 and completed residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2015.
Growing up, Perry says her parents were very involved with her academics, and reminded her frequently, “You are your only limitation.”
“For both of them, their number one priority was that I get a good education and go to college,” she says. “They didn’t care what I did, just that I did it to the best of my ability.”
Perry, 35, and husband, Carlos Villarreal, moved to Bloomington in 2015. Villarreal is managing director of population health economics for Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute, a research arm of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
“We were so fortunate,” Perry says. “His office is in Chicago and he has worked remotely this whole time. That was a helpful factor in deciding to move here—we didn’t have to choose between our careers.”
In 2020, Perry, who specializes in infertility, perinatal anxiety and depression, and transgender care, was recognized in as Bloomington’s Woman of the Year for her dedication to women’s health. “When you are working hard and burning the candle at both ends, I can’t think of a better way for someone to say, ‘You’ve been seen,’” she says. “But looking forward, how do I live up to the legacy of people who have this accolade?”
Holding herself and others to the highest standards seems to be ingrained. Commenting on the unprecedented election of Kamala Harris to the office of vice president of the United States, Dr. Perry says, “But it’s not the presidency. I’m holding out for her presidential run … because you’ve always got to be the best.”