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Women in Medicine

Hala Sabry, MD and Mizuho Morrison, DO
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Women practicing medicine have challenges that are unique to them. Gender inequality still exists, and Mizuho sits with Dr.Hala Sabry to discuss some of these issues.

 

Pearls:

  • The Physician Moms Group (PMG) was formed in 2014 using social media as a platform to bring together physician moms to discuss the complexities and struggles faced by these demanding lives.

  • The overwhelming response and huge membership is indicative of the need for support and resources for physicians juggling multiple roles and responsibilities.

 

A HISTORY OF ISOLATION

  • The house of medicine was founded on prestige, formality and a paternalistic care for others.  Over the last century, medicine has evolved and continues to progress.  However, the formality of interactions among colleagues and the long-established hierarchies in medicine seem to persist.  

  • Medicine was previous a heavily male-dominated profession, but today, more than 50% of students entering medical school are women and women are successful in all medical specialties, even the most “masculine” ones.  

  • We are assumed to be leaders.  It has long been considered faux-pas to discuss professional or personal struggles.

  • As physicians, we often feel that we need to portray an image that we are constantly put together at all times.  That we have no weaknesses.  

  • We focus so much on patient care and humanizing medicine, but we do not care for ourselves in the same way.  

  • The high rates of physician depression, suicide, addiction and burnout suggest we have neglected our health and well-being for too long.  

  • As physicians, we often feel we need to treat ourselves first, rather than reaching out to another physician or counselor for help as a lay person might do.  

 

AN ALTERNATIVE: THE PHYSICIAN MOMS GROUP

  • Dr. Hala Sabry is a full-time emergency medicine physician.  She is a wife and mother of 3 young children.  She is the founder of the Physician Moms Group (PMG), which was established in 2014.  

  • Dr. Sabry started her group on Facebook by reaching out to 20 physicians who were also moms, across different specialties and across the country.  The women she initially reached out to were very enthusiastic.  They also all wanted to invite more women.  Within a few hours, there were 200 members.  Within a month, there were over 3,000 members.  PMG now has more than 63,000 members worldwide and spans all specialties.  It is arguably the largest physician network on social media today.  It provides a private space for female physicians to discuss their professional and personal struggles, network and inter-relate.  

  • This group allows physician moms to post questions or comments anonymously or identified.  It allows women the freedom to connect socially without risking their standing professionally.

  • A lot of women in the group note that PMG has energized them again to enjoy their careers and be better doctors because now they are taking care of themselves and find they have more to give to both their families and careers.  

 

WHAT’S COMING NEXT:

  • Interpersonal meet-ups throughout the country

  • PMG Conference in April 2017 in Las Vegas

  • February 3rd declared as National Women Physician Day

  • Work with women physicians to be gentler with themselves  

  • Encourage mentorships between women in medicine

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The Barky Cough Conundrum Full episode audio for MD edition 179:45 min - 84 MB - M4Ahippo Urgent Care RAP - February 2017 Summary 277 KB - PDF