International Women's Day Interview with Medelita Founder

In honor of National Women’s Day, our Founder, Lara Francisco PA-C, shares a bit about herself and what empowering women means to her.

WHY DID YOU GO INTO MEDICINE?

I remember creating an “all about me” poster with my first-grade teacher and writing that I wanted to be a nurse. I kept with this plan and applied to colleges out of state that had super reputable nursing programs. I got a bit off track in college when I realized my central Nebraska science background was not on par with the rest of the students at Emory, and the pre-nursing fast paced curriculum was too much for me. It took a few years to gain my confidence back and mature enough to dive into a pre-med curriculum instead and pursue the PA profession. I was obsessed with inner-city EM since volunteering at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, and applied to PA programs in which I would have the opportunity do additional electives in EM and (likely) can work upon graduation.

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN YOUR CAREER ALONG THE WAY TO BECOMING THE FOUNDER OF MEDELITA?

Simply having an unwavering commitment to carrying out an idea that “sounded like a good one” has been my challenge in a nutshell. Without having any business background, no apparel experience, never having written a business plan, never stepped foot in a sewing factory, never raised capital, never built a web site, never heard of ecommerce, never seen an embroidery machine, never heard of a tech pack, never been a supervisor (and the list goes on) every single day has been a challenge that I’m now 15 years into fully accepting and loving.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR MEDELITA TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY?

The entire premise of Medelita was to offer female clinicians an outward display of power and professionalism that didn’t exist prior. My initial intent was to only make lab coats and scrubs for women, as I felt this was the greatest need and men could continue to wear the unisex options. So even though the men have come knocking loudly begging for items of similar quality, our focus as a brand has still very much been to lift and support the initiatives of women in medicine and to tell their stories in a way that had never been done prior. Coming off 30 days of our #FEMPHYSICIANCAN campaign and today watching a female dentist do an Instagram takeover for National Dentists Day, we are 100% on track with continuation of a dream that began in 2006.

HOW CAN WE ENCOURAGE MORE WOMEN TO PURSUE MEDICINE AS A CAREER?

Statistically speaking we are witnessing a groundbreaking shift in both the number of female applicants and the number of females accepted, especially regarding medical school. The PA and NP professions have been female dominated for decades. Building and creating STEAM / STEM programs within our schools, offering more scholarships for girls interested in STEM based careers, and growing mentorship programs and summer camps for middle and high-school girls will all directly impact future career choices. I also believe that greater accessibility on social media to “day in the life” and “takeover” career focused insights will continue to inspire young minds through modern watch, learn, and inspire perspectives – something we are super committed to at Medelita.

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