TO YOU, WHAT MAKES A STRONG WOMAN?
TY: Being knocked down and being able to pick yourself up every time.
LZ: A strong woman is someone who first and foremost believes in herself. She is her own cheerleader and number 1 fan. She prioritizes her health and well-being in order to properly take care of others. She is kind, full of compassion and integrity, and authentic. She lifts up others during her ascent to greatness.
JS: A woman that is not afraid to break stereotypes and glass ceilings to pave the road for others to succeed.
AG: Strength comes in many forms. A woman is strong when she is true to herself, when she cares for herself, her patients, her loved ones, and her community. She is strong with her everyday actions, big and small. Her abilities and her individuality make her strong.
MK: A strong woman is courageous, yet not afraid to show vulnerability. She is absolutely comfortable in who she is and accepts her flaws.
WHAT DOES BEING A WOMEN IN MEDICINE MEAN TO YOU?
TY: Women in medicine face numerous challenging and unique situations from being questioned by male colleagues/subordinates, to persistent pay gaps, to gender bias that impacts career advancement.
LZ: Being a woman in medicine is one of the greatest privileges of my lifetime. Women are often overlooked in medicine, as both a patient and a healthcare worker. We are underestimated, underappreciated, and underrepresented. Every day, I wear my white coat with pride knowing that I earned my title. Not that long ago, women weren't even allowed to be a physician. Now, with each and every day, we are a force to be reckoned with. I take pride in that.
JS: Being a woman in medicine means an opportunity to provide quality comprehensive medical care while inspiring and educating. It means a chance to challenge cultural and gender norms in order to pave the way for future female trainees. It’s a way to bring my unique perspective to enhance medical care.
AG: Medicine had historically been a field where decisions were dictated by men. That changed because of the women who fought to have a say, to have their voices and insights heard, to have their knowledge known and their science published. Being a woman in medicine today, we celebrate the accomplishments of those before us, stand on their shoulders, so we may continue to move our fields forward, break glass ceilings in leadership/science/medical advancement, and continue to provide the best care for our patients.
MK: Being a woman in medicine allows me to connect with my patients on a different level - as a Facial Plastic Surgeon, most of my patients are women, and I can completely empathize and understand what they are going through.
WITH THE FIRST FEMALE VICE PRESIDENT NOW IN OFFICE, MANY YOUNG GIRLS ARE LOOKING UP TO WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP ROLES. WHAT WOMEN INSPIRED YOU GROWING UP?
TY: My mom and my grandmas, they all lived a far more difficult life than me but their circumstances never held them back. It only pushed them to try harder and be better. I aspire to be like them.
LZ: There are two great influences in my life and decision to pursue medicine: Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician, and my grandmother. Dr. Blackwell paved the road for every female doctor. My grandmother was always an inspiration to me - she was a hardworking nurse who loved her job and loved her patients even more. Growing up, I wanted to be just like her.
JS: My mom has always been my role model. From a young age she showed me that you can be successful, hard working, advancing your career while also providing for your family, raising a wonderful family and being a loving mother.
AG: Women have inspired me growing up and continue to inspire me as I grow wiser. My mother was the first and remains my biggest inspiration: always supporting and encouraging me to reach for the stars, believe in myself, and accomplish my goals. My younger sister, a lawyer, continues to inspire me with her wisdom beyond her years and promotion of women empowerment and equity for all. And of course, my colleagues and friends are such bright lights: as leaders, teachers, mothers, and condantes they demonstrate a woman is multifaceted and can do anything she puts her mind to.
MK: Without a doubt, my mother has inspired me, and still inspires me today. As a pediatrician in practice for over 40 years, she has helped raise a whole generation of children, and now their children! Even outside of work, she has always taught me the importance of giving back to our communities.
WHAT IMPACTFUL IMAGE DO YOU HOPE TO PROJECT TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION OF WOMEN LOOKING UP TO YOU AS YOU PAVE THE WAY IN MEDICINE?
TY: There is not a one-size fits all mold. You must be yourself and find a way for the world to accept that. Break the mold and never pretend to be something you're not!
LZ: The sky's the limit. No longer must women be told that they "can't'' do something simply because of their gender, race, or age. Women can do anything and everything they dream of doing, including being chair of the department of medicine or vice president of the United States of America. I am currently pregnant with a baby girl, and she will be born into this world knowing she has no boundaries. The only limitation is your imagination.
JS: I hope that when young women look up to me, read my posts, see my pictures, see my pregnancy, see my daughter, view my accomplishments as a mother, a physician, a mentor to students, acknowledge my advocacy and awareness for women’s rights and gender equality in the workplace, that they know their dreams are possible- that they know they’re obtainable and that they know it’s not easy but it can be done.
AG: I hope that girls and women embrace their own journeys, and appreciate their individual power. Because as women we can decide our own path, find power in our own story, and encourage ourselves to accomplish our own goals!
MK: My hope for the future is that we aren't referred to as "women doctors" or "female physicians", that we no longer need those distinctions, we're just simply "doctor" or "physician". With that will come more opportunities for us in leadership positions, and the elimination of the pay gap.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF WHEN STARTING YOUR MEDICAL JOURNEY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
TY: It's okay to fail but it's not okay to use that as an excuse to give up.
LZ: Don't be quiet when you recognize social injustice. Speak up when you see someone being mistreated because of their race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. Even if it feels uncomfortable and even if you aren't the target, the burden of racism and sexism should fall on each and everyone of us. As a physician, social injustice is our responsibility and we have a duty to advocate for every human being on this planet.
JS: The one piece of advice I would give my younger self is to stop comparing yourself to others. Each person is unique in their journey and path to medicine. Don’t let your grades define you or hold you back.
AG: I would tell myself that it's ok to hear everyone's opinions and advice, but in the end to remember to keep listening to my own heart and voice.
MK: Trust yourself and your instincts. Always look out for your patients, and everything else will fall into place!