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Celebrating National Women Physicians Day

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We celebrate National Women Physicians Day on Feb. 3, commemorating Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S. in 1849. Today, we honor and recognize the accomplishments and milestones of all women doctors since then.

To celebrate, we asked a handful of women physicians within Dignity Health Medical Groups to weigh-in on what National Women Physicians Day represents for them and share advice for other women entering the medical profession.
What does National Women Physicians Day mean to you?

“We are continuing to make progress for a more equitable workplace. This recognition didn’t exist just six short years ago. It means a day for reflection on the sacrifices it takes to be a woman in medicine. It’s a celebration of how far we’ve come.

I think Dr. Blackwell’s accomplishments are the backbone of why I’m able to have a career I love. Her tenacity, bravery and refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer paved the way for the generations of women who have followed in her footsteps.”

Ashley Anderson, DO, Family Medicine, Woodland Clinic

What advice would you give o other women entering the medical profession?

“In medical school, study hard, study the basics. Concentrate on anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology – and perhaps now, immunology. If you have the basics down, the rest of medicine is a lot easier, more understandable and fun.” 

— Joyce Loeffler, MD, Urology, Woodland Clinic

“Being a physician is a rewarding and fascinating profession. Every day is new and exciting. As caregivers, we are invited to some of the most intimate moments for a patient and their family. Being with them through their pain and joy makes the long working hours and the many years of training worth it.”

Carrie Black, MD, Cosmetic, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Mercy Medical Group

“The advice I would give women who are working toward becoming a physician is to be resilient. It is a long and challenging road, but it is so worth it. I would also encourage them to find a female mentor so they have someone to answer those tough questions and help them navigate the sometimes tricky waters of being a woman in medicine.”

Ashley Anderson, DO, Family Medicine, Woodland Clinic

“Be true to yourself. We are taught to be clinically detached in medical school but I found that went against my nature. I do my best when I empathize and connect with the patient and the past seven years in primary care have been very rewarding.”

— Zeba Yamin, MD, Family Medicine, Dignity Health Medical Group — Bakersfield

“Be more active in the community through volunteering. I loved being a CASA volunteer in medical school and working with foster children. I looked forward to engaging and becoming a part of a wonderful community.”

— Kimberly Hart, DO, Pediatrics, Mercy Medical Group

“Dare to dream and never give up. There will often be doors that shut in your face because of who you are and what you look like. Keep knocking on those doors. You’ll be the one who opens them for others in the future!”

Amira Zaid, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Woodland Clinic

“You will question your career choice – we all do – and when you do, remember your ‘why.’ You make a decision on those days, to keep going or not, because the rewards can be so great – because it is such a privilege to literally hold lives in your hand.”

— Karen Win-Vroom, MD, General Surgery, Woodland Clinic

“As Angela Davis said, accept what you cannot change, but change what you cannot accept.”

Wendy Dyer, MD, Internal Medicine, Mercy Medical Group



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