Only a handful of surgeons — male or female — in the nation have completed surgical training in both Otolaryngology and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Catherine Huang-Begovic, MD, is one of them. An honors Harvard graduate, Dr. Cat (as she’s known) completed two top surgical training programs at UCLA before launching her private practice specializing in plastic and cosmetic surgery. So how does someone so young achieve so much, so quickly? That’s what Medelita wanted to find out.
While her obvious intelligence plays a huge part in her accomplishments (she aced her SATs with a perfect score), Dr. Cat has demonstrated a rare tenacity, dedication and courage to get where she is today. She attributes many of these qualities to her father, who grew up an orphan in a poor farming village in Taiwan.
“Through hard work and perseverance, he was able to put himself through school and finish his PhD from Harvard,” she recalls. “Now he’s the Chairman of his department and one of the most respected professors in his field.”
Dr. Cat found inspiration from her father during those grueling years of surgical training and residency, when her days often started at 5AM, with operations scheduled all day followed by all-night emergency room call.
“I’ll be honest with you, it wasn’t always easy,” Dr. Cat admits. “It’s a long, hard road to become a surgeon — for anyone. It was challenging being one of the only women in my program. I demanded the highest performance of myself and that allowed me to earn the respect of my colleagues.”
Now Dr. Cat sees the advantages of being a woman in her specialized field. “As a woman, I feel very connected to my patients,” she explains. “I understand the anxiety, self-consciousness and emotional issues that surround plastic surgery, and am sensitive to those.”
This compassionate, personalized approach to surgery and patient care is central to Dr. Cat’s thriving private practice, Make You Perfect, located in Beverly Hills. Here, patients receive the latest and most advanced plastic and cosmetic surgical procedures, performed by one of the only female plastic surgeons in the nation.
For Dr. Cat, specializing in plastic surgery was the right choice for her. As a head and neck cancer and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Cat watched so many of her patients and their families suffer — and lost patients she became close to. For her, plastic surgery is a field focused on improving an individual’s condition and quality of life.
What advice would you give other aspiring female surgeons?
"Be strong, never let anyone discourage you, and don’t forget to take care of yourself."
— Dr. Catherine Huang-Begovic, M.D.
“I feel great satisfaction knowing that someone’s life and the way they feel about themselves are improved,” she says. “As a plastic surgeon, I am always able to focus on the positive. There is nothing more satisfying than helping a person feel better about themselves. It gives me so much joy to see how happy my patients are after their surgeries.”
A fitness model as well as surgeon, Dr. Cat has a keen eye for beauty and perfection which serves her and her patients well in her practice. This appreciation for beauty and unwavering attention to detail is what also drew her to Medelita.
“I used to hate wearing my scrubs that bunched at the waist and looked like a giant trash bag,” she explains. “If you were a business woman, you wouldn’t show up to a meeting in a cheap ill-fitting suit. There is no difference here. As a surgeon, looking professional and polished is important. I love being a woman so having work clothes that fit me well really makes me feel great during my workday.”
Dr. Cat enjoys her Medelita clinician scrubs and Callia lab coat so much, that she wears them outside her private practice as well. You’ll find Dr. Cat in her embroidered scrubs and lab coat on several Beauty TV Minute podcasts, which she regularly hosts, as well as during her recent guest appearance for the hit daytime show “The Doctors.”
Despite her growing celebrity status, Dr. Cat remains at heart a truly dedicated medical professional who puts her patients first — and who exemplifies the exceptional healthcare workers Medelita celebrates.
As Dr. Cat so eloquently puts it: “Having people trust you with their health, their bodies and their lives is a serious responsibility and privilege that I never take for granted.” Medelita is honored to play a part in the outstanding care Dr. Cat provides.