National Women Physicians Day on February 3, recognizes the path women doctors have paved in the U.S. over the years. The date commemorates Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S. in 1849. Today we reflect on the achievements of women in medicine, and also show our support for the next generation. We asked three Dignity Health Medical Group physicians to share what celebrating this day means to them. Here’s what they had to say.
Cerine Jeanty, MD, Dignity Health Medical Group — Saint Francis/St. Mary's
"I come from a long line of strong women. My great-grandmother was part of the resistance movement during World War II, hiding British soldiers in occupied Nazi territory. My grandmother graduated from medical school in 1952 and was a plastic surgeon in Belgium at a time when there were few women physicians. She had a productive career developing the technique for vertical mammoplasty in breast reduction. My mother immigrated to the United States and excelled in the field of nuclear medicine, becoming the president of the society of nuclear medicine, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. It is all the work and accomplishments of the women before me that have made it possible for me to believe that I could be a general surgeon alongside my male counterparts. I am forever indebted to those women and hope that my daughters will have even more opportunities available to them in the future."
Srilakshmi Madhusudhan, MD, Dignity Health Medical Group — Bakersfield
"Today we take the opportunity to celebrate and honor all the hardworking female physicians who make a difference in the lives of their patients every day, while working hard to maintain their own work-life balance. I hope to see a future where female physicians are equally represented in all medical specialties. I strongly believe that we are getting closer to that goal every day."
Lily Zeng, MD, Dignity Health Medical Group — Dominican
"Today we celebrate moving toward equal representation in the medical field. We also celebrate the diversity we see in our patients. I have learned in my tenure that the best patient care comes from the input of a heterogenous medical team. Women Physicians Day honors our continual goal of meeting the diverse needs of patients from all walks and stages of life."