Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
It reminds us that everyone has a story to tell, and women’s stories around their accomplishments are likely different than the stories of their male contemporaries. The stories help inform and inspire the next generation. And, after all, isn’t that what it’s about – the future?
What do you like most about your job?
I have had the wonderful opportunity to work in a variety of positions, almost seamlessly moving from fellow in training to attending physician, from lab rat to administrator. I enjoy the mix of roles I have – the clinician taking care of patients at the bedside and in the outpatient setting, getting to know patients and families through the course of their chronic illness as well as the department’s leader in a relatively new area in health care, ensuring the quality and safety of the hospital and care experience.
What is one piece of advice you would give a woman entering the field of medicine and/or healthcare?
I can never say just one thing. Two pieces of advice – follow your interests and always bring balance into your life. There is so much variety in what you can do with a medical career, so following your passion will most likely be productive and fulfilling. The balance part is the most important – it can be challenging to get away when you are caring for sick patients. That’s where being at MGHfC and Mass General is so helpful. Working with top-notch people as members of your team provides coverage arrangements to allow for precious family time that helped us raise three kids and now to enjoy our grandchildren.
Has there been an influential woman in your life who supported or inspired you on your journey into health care/medicine?
As a medical student and resident at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Md., there were two women who were particularly influential. Dr. Jean Kan, a pediatric cardiologist was a modest, kind clinician who cared deeply for her patients and, it appeared, for people in general. The care and compassion she showed for patients as she came in during the middle of the night to help sick babies was very inspiring. She was an haute clinician, teaching me to listen carefully to the patient’s story. I almost became a pediatric cardiologist. Dr. Catherine DeAngelis was the other awe-inspiring woman during my training. She returned to Hopkins during my residency and was such an animated and effective advocate for children that it was infectious and left me with some guiding principles.
What is special about MassGeneral Hospital for Children?
Mass General is a very large institution, but walking through the halls there is always a familiar face, which makes it feel much smaller than it truly is. It’s also wonderful working with people who are respectful of one another and who are playing at the top of their game, whether it is the patient care services associate, the administrative assistant, the nurse, resident or fellow, the head of the department. That behavior has been a model for me and is something I work at emulating every day.