Celebrating Women in Medicine Month

New section

September is the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Women in Medicine Month, created to recognize the growing number of women in the profession. To celebrate the importance of current and future female physicians, we’re spotlighting five blog posts written about, and by, women in medicine for AAMC’s Aspiring Docs Diaries.

New section

New section

In 2017, males still outnumber female doctors in the workforce. But today, nearly half of our nation’s medical students are women, meaning the number of women in medicine is growing.

“There are countless women I could name who have transformed science and medicine as we know it today, such as Barbara McClintock, Alice Hamilton, and Dorothy Hodgkin. They still remain marginalized in my textbooks and unmentioned in my academic lectures. When will the names of these remarkable women become part of the basic science curriculum in schools across the world? Their names deserve to sit equally alongside the Mendels, Darwins, and Boyles. I’m making the extra effort to learn about these impactful women and encourage other aspiring doctors (male or female) to do the same because I think we can all benefit from female role models.”

Belle Pace is an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia. Read Belle’s full blog post here.

“For myself, and other women, a career in surgery is possible. I think it is all about the mentality of knowing that I am just as valuable, smart, and motivated as any other man or woman aspiring to work in surgery. It may not be easy but it will all be worth it. Even with the MD on my white coat, I will continue to face challenges. Yet, I never want to lose sight of who I am and what I have done throughout the years to be capable and ready to enter the world of surgery so I can serve patients in need as a Portuguese-American female surgeon.”

Breana Várgas is a graduate of Santa Clara University. Read Breana’s full blog post here.

“Instead of striving to learn more about my passion for medicine, I felt many of my interviewers were striving to ‘box’ me into a preconceived category: the confused Muslim feminist, the threatening Muslim feminist, or—my favorite—the liberated Muslim feminist who supposedly overcame ‘cultural oppression’ at home. It was always a struggle to not let myself be defined in such a demeaning manner. My defiance was polite and kind.”

Tehreem Rehman, MPH is a medical student at Yale School of Medicine. Read Tehreem’s full blog post here.

“…we still fall prey to the bias, and female surgeons still needed to prove that they exist and that they are just as competent as their male colleagues. It seemed incredible that this surgeon [I was shadowing] could ever have had her abilities questioned—to me, she was nothing short of awe-inspiring—but every other month, an article appears in which a female doctor shares her experience of having to prove herself in the medical world: to patients, to colleagues, and even to herself. The reflection was certainly sobering.”

Ogochukwu Ezeoke is a medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Read Ogochukwu’s full blog post here.

“Recently, I was told I cared too much. Over the years, I’ve been criticized for being too happy, too optimistic, too nice, and too excited. As a female physician, I’ve learned that I will always be too much of something for someone, but these are the qualities that make me who I am. I feel things deeply and I’m not afraid to admit that. Generally this is seen as a weakness in medicine, but it shouldn’t be. I’m going to keep being the doctor that cares too much. I want my patients to know that I take them seriously—whether they’re worried about a benign skin rash or a possible new malignancy. Their lives are important. From that time on, we’re intertwined. I listen to them because I know how necessary it is to feel heard.”

Sarah M. Bernstein, MD, MHA, is a pediatrics resident at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a graduate of Emory University School of Medicine. Read Dr. Bernstein’s full post here.

New section