A recent New York Times article, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/upshot/being-a-doctor-is-hard-its-harder-for-women.html, highlights the struggles of being a female physician.
“Female physicians are more than twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population. They earn significantly less than their male colleagues. They’re less likely to advance to full professorships — even after controlling for productivity — and they account for only one-sixth of medical school deans and department chairs.”
As far back as I can remember, I was a rebel at heart. If someone said I
couldn’t do something, I was determined to prove them wrong…especially if they said I couldn’t do it because I was a girl. In college, I studied engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I was told many times by the guys in my classes that the only reason I was admitted was because I was a girl and the school wanted to increase their numbers. Then I would smile and point out that I took the same test as they did and kicked their butts. I graduated magna cum laude and the top Biomedical Engineering senior.
While in medical school, I suffered the same fate as my fellow females. We would introduce ourselves as medical students and patients would ask “So you are in school to be a nurse?”…umm not exactly.
In residency, it was even worse because I was a female resident in surgery. Certainly, most people have heard the #ilooklikeasurgeon movement. This movement strikes a cord with most female surgeons because frequently we get told “No, you can’t be a surgeon, you don’t look like a surgeon.” This statement often leaves us wondering, well what does a surgeon look like?
I am the only female craniofacial surgery fellowship trained plastic surgeon in Austin (at least that I know of). To get here, I did 4 years undergraduate, 10 years of a combined NIH funded MD/PhD, 6 years Plastic Surgery residency, and 1 year Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery Fellowship. I worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get to where I am today, but I don’t want special treatment because of it, just equal treatment. I am proud to be part of medicine. I am thankful for the great woman who came before me that allow me to do something I love every day. ~Sarah Frommer, MD/PhD