Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
I am honored to participate in Women’s History Month since my decision to pursue a career in medicine has been cultivated by the influences of several men and women in the medical field. My grandmother was a full-time hospital ward nurse and I can only imagine now how she supported others and contributed to the work of colleagues who may have received recognition for their accomplishments. In our CV-based academic culture, it’s important to reflect on the contributions of those around us as we meticulously document our own accomplishments. Additionally, medical teams are strengthened by diversity and one pathway of building this diversity is to encourage women to pursue careers in science and medicine with early exposure to the sciences and positive influence by teachers, parents and women in science role models.
What do you like most about your job?
I see a broad range of patients from birth to 23 years of age with varying levels of complex disease. To improve the health and quality of life for people is the reward all physicians strive for and train to provide. As a scientific investigator, I have worked to identify a preventive strategy for necrotizing enterocolitis, a devastating intestinal inflammatory condition that affects premature infants. Strides in understanding these preventive strategies is rewarding on a much more global scale, with the goal of improving the medical care and lives of premature infants in the future. Additionally, educating gastroenterology trainees and working within the MGHfC Quality and Safety team allows me to contribute to improvements in healthcare in unrelated and unique ways. These varied responsibilities demand very different skill sets, which keeps my day-to-day work life unpredictable and exciting. Ultimately, all of these activities hold a common aim of improving some aspect of patient care, and it is this complexity that I enjoy most about my work.
What is one piece of advice you would give a woman entering the field of medicine and/or healthcare?
My advice to women entering healthcare is to identify and align with dedicated mentors early in your career. It is reasonable to consider partnering with more than one mentor to assist you with the various facets of your professional self. Identify your goals and work toward them relentlessly while always remaining humble, asking for help when needed and respecting those who support you along the way.
What advice do you have for women to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
To maintain a healthy lifestyle as a woman in medicine, recognize your strengths as well as your limitations and remember that doing a few things incredibly well will bring you further than doing a little of everything. Finally, be mindful of what is worthy of your time and persevere.