Health is influenced by social determinants, such as income, healthy behaviors, healthier neighborhoods, and social and psychological benefits. Poor health puts education, the great equalizer, at risk, she said. Interventions like mentoring programs may move people toward access to education, which leads to healthier behaviors and sustainability, she noted.
Explore this issue:November 2018
Dr. Montgomery Rice talked about her childhood in rural Georgia: an African American child diagnosed with osteomyelitis at age seven, raised in a single-parent household in the 1960s. Despite barriers, she had strong support from extended family, her church, and her teachers as she achieved high educational and professional goals, including a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Education and mentorship, another great equalizer, propelled her toward her goals. Her “village of mentors” included women and men, teachers, physicians, and family members.
Barriers and Burnout
Women physicians and scientists often face a crossroads in their careers when they want to start a family. Some may delay pregnancy, struggle with infertility, or consider adoption. “There is no right or wrong answer, only what you want,” she said. Many women physicians may face burnout as they juggle family and career responsibilities. “You must evaluate yourself and ask, ‘Is this still what I want to do? Am I still passionate about my career?’”
Dr. Montgomery Rice advised the women in the audience to: find mentors and be a mentor, become a content expert, serve on at least two key institution-wide committees, engage in at least one national professional organization, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and consider getting an executive coach.
“Meeting regularly with my coach is a part of my contract” with herself, she said. “I have aligned my passion with my purpose. I have a white coat, a red cape, and I love high heels,” she said, and later quoted novelist Alice Walker: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking that they don’t have any.” Women have power in medicine, science, and society, she said in closing: “Let’s continue to use it!”
Awards and Election: The WIO General Assembly closed with Stacey L. Ishman, MD, MPH, receiving the Helen F. Krause, MD, Memorial Trailblazer Award, and Sarah N. Bowe, MD, receiving the Exemplary Senior Resident Trainee Award. WIO also elected Angela M. Powell, MD, as the new Chair; Megan L. Durr, MD, as Member at Large; and Priya D. Krishna, MD, as Information Officer/Secretary for the coming year.