Friday, February 16, 2017

Dermatology Spotlight: Q&A with Maryanne M. Senna, MD



Maryanne Makredes Senna, MD. is a general medical dermatologist with a clinical and research interest in hair loss disorders, especially those affecting women. She is co-director of the Mass General Hair Loss Clinic and principal investigator of the Hair Academic Innovative Research Unit.

How long have you worked at Mass General?

5 years in my current role, but I also worked as a clinical research coordinator in genitourinary oncology before medical school for 5 years.

What is special about Mass General?

There are many things that make Mass General special, but I think the two that stand out to me are all the employees from the environmental staff to physicians, nurses, medical assistants, and schedulers are truly dedicated to providing high-quality, compassionate care for patients. The second is the superb expertise of my colleagues in other disciplines. Anytime I reach out to a patient's primary care doctor, endocrinologist, cardiologist, rheumatologist, or gastroenterologist with a question about a medication or a condition I am treating, I immediately receive a thoughtful response that helps me care for my patient. The importance of this type of communication cannot be underestimated.

What advice do you have for women to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

My residency director said to me, "Remember that whenever you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else." This phrase has been very helpful to me, and I always ask myself this when a potential commitment, big or small comes up.  We each have different ideas of what we want out of life, and what type of lifestyle "feels right", but I think if we ask ourselves this question, it helps to ensure that we are focusing our energies on the things that are most important to us and working towards a balanced life.

Why is Women's History Month important to you?

I think it is important to reflect on the fact that although we have come a long way since the Women's Rights movement, women still face barriers and remain underrepresented in leadership roles.  In dermatology, a recent nationwide study*. revealed that even though females comprised 45% of the dermatology workforce, only 28% of residency program directors and 16% of department chairs are women.  Similar trends are reported in obstetrics and gynecology where 50% or more of the workforce is female.  We need to understand why these discrepancies exist and close the gap in these instances, while honoring the good work of women who worked so hard to get us where we are today.

* Sex and leadership in academic dermatology: A nationwide study; Oct. 2017, J AM ACAD, DERMATOL.

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