Staff StoryMar | 14 | 2019
Maureen Leonard, MD, MMSc
Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
I think it’s an important time to celebrate the progress made and focus on work still needed to move toward gender equality. Certainly, women are underrepresented in academic medicine and continue to experience salary inequality. This is not due to lack of skills or passion. Women’s History Month is a time to reexamine how we can support each other to reach our goals and put systems in place to support women.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the variety of my week. I spend one day seeing patients, another performing procedures and my other time is spent collaborating with researchers in the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. I also meet with colleagues from other affiliated hospitals as part of the Harvard Medical School Celiac Research Program, analyze data and recruit patients for research. I have celiac disease myself, so I also spend time on social media sharing gluten free restaurants, recipes and gluten-related scientific studies. While all my work is focused on celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders, every day is different.
What is one piece of advice you would give a woman entering the field of medicine and/or healthcare?
I would advise anyone going into the medical field to follow your passion, learn to say “No” to tasks that draw you away from your passion and try to protect your personal time.
What advice do you have for women to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Creating time to eat healthy, exercise and do things you enjoy is difficult but is necessary. Everyone is busy, so the time must be made and that means other things that aren’t healthy or fulfilling may have to be cut out. Focusing on the benefits other than weight loss, like improved mood and heart health, can help keep you consistent. Get creative - encourage friends and family to join you in exercising and cooking or ask a colleague to have a walking meeting to get moving during the day.
What is special about Mass General for Children?
MGfC is an incredible place to train and work. The mix of dedicated physicians treating patients, top scientists leading research endeavors and physician-scientists doing both allows for cutting-edge care. Having MGfC within Mass General allows for important collaboration across disciplines and industries. As a physician-scientist trained in pediatrics and now specializing in celiac disease, I see patients with a wide range of ages in our clinic, conduct research in children and adults and easily collaborate with others across Harvard Medical School and with industry representatives interested in the study of autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disorders.