Struggles, Barriers Afflict Women Physicians

Women Wellness through Equity and Leadership Cohort

Biggest Struggle faced by Women Physicians
I think the biggest struggle faced by women physicians is the need to be perfectionists (Dawn Sears, MD, FACG), is that we’re not in the room (Bridgette Jones, MD, MSc, FAAAI, FAAP), is the societal expectations of what it means to be a female physician (Jennifer McKenney, MD, FAAFP), people in medicine, even well meaning, people in medical leadership when they think of leaders, have some bias in that, and may not think of women (Simha Ravven, MD), is having the time and women put in counted in a way that really matters (Tammy Lin, MD, MPH, FACP), Being a physician is not necessarily a traditional role compared to other healthcare fields for women (Catherine Casino, MD, MPH). The systems and the structures that were built within medicine were obviously not built by women (Bridgette Jones, MD, MSc, FAAAI, FAAP)

The Biggest Barrier to Women Physicians Achieving Wellness
The biggest barrier to women physicians achieving wellness is simply time and energy (Tammy Lin, MD, MPH, FACP). I think the biggest barrier in woman achieving wellness is giving ourselves permission to (Dawn Sears, MD, FACG). We aren’t all talking about what the barriers are and we aren’t all talking about that we are female physicians and that we have special challenges (Jennifer McKenney, MD, FAAFP). I think that there are internal barriers as well (Simha Ravven, MD). That I already believe that wellness is something to be achieved and not the norm (Catherine Casino, MD, MPH). I think we all internalize gender roles (Simha Ravven, MD). When you think about how hospitals are run and how medical facilities are run they don’t take into account the fact that women have children, they have to take maternity leave, that they’re often bearing the brunt of house work even in today’s society (Bridgette Jones, MD, MSc, FAAAI, FAAP).

The Most Helpful in Your Career Development
I’ve had wonderful mentors in my career. Both formal mentors and training directors (Simha Ravven, MD). I’m a prime example of the result of intentional investment, mentorship, and sponsorship (Tammy Lin, MD, MPH, FACP). Now as I’ve stepped in to the women’s leadership and medicine space, many females from different institutions have come on board to help me, to assist me, to sponsor me and just being available to them has been an amazing adventure that I wouldn’t have never anticipated (Dawn Sears, MD, FACG). Early in my career and even to now, I had wonderful people and I’ve been lucky enough for them to see something in me and for them wanting to invest their time and their energy (Bridgette Jones, MD, MSc, FAAAI, FAAP). We all need that type of support system (Jennifer McKenney, MD, FAAFP).

Institutional Supports That Would Have Helped Your Development
I do think it would have been beneficial to have had the opportunity to form affinity groups with likeminded collaborators (Tammy Lin, MD, MPH, FACP). For me, I didn’t have a lot of female mentors at my institution and that was a problem (Dawn Sears, MD, FACG). I think it’s really important to have facetime with senior leadership (Catherine Casino, MD, MPH). I don’t think I’ve really never worked in organization that had a really robust infrastructure to support physician wellness, that’s something that’s fairly new (Simha Ravven, MD). I think if we all started from the very beginning, even in elementary school or high school, definitely in undergrad and most definitely in medical school to start talking about what it means to be a female in any type of profession, I think that would help us along the way to set reasonable expectations (Jennifer McKenney, MD, FAAFP).

For the Next Generation of Women Physicians
For the next generation of women, just what you see that isn’t already fulfilled, make it yourself. You don’t need permission. You don’t need a budget, just start doing it. (Dawn Sears, MD, FACG). Believe in yourself and believe in the power of your dreams (Tammy Lin, MD, MPH, FACP). Any power that you have, use that power to empower others (Bridgette Jones, MD, MSc, FAAAI, FAAP). My advice for the next generation of women physicians is that it’s worth it (Jennifer McKenney, MD, FAAFP). Take that time for self-reflection and making sure you are strategic and intentional in looking at the next step and also the bigger picture (Catherine Casino, MD, MPH).

The WEL Program has been Transformative
The WEL program has really been a transformative experience for me (Simha Ravven, MD).It elevated the relationship between wellness, equity, and leadership Tammy Lin, MD, MPH, FACP). WEL has really inspired me (Bridgette Jones, MD, MSc, FAAAI, FAAP). It’s given me the courage to take risks and take on projects, really big projects that I might not have otherwise (Simha Ravven, MD). What I appreciate the most out of this has been the vulnerability of the other participants (Catherine Casino, MD, MPH). WEL has put me together with women across the nation from various specialties and walks of life that I would have never interacted with (Dawn Sears, MD, FACG). I think it’s just that togetherness, that communication, that vulnerability, the ability to say “yes, me too, I have these struggles also” (Jennifer McKenney, MD, FAAFP). It really helped me hone in and focus on what really drives me every day, what makes me get out of bed and want to go to work (Bridgette Jones, MD, MSc, FAAAI, FAAP). Just being in a safe environment where things like that can happen is probably the coolest thing (Jennifer McKenney, MD, FAAFP).

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