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MWF International Women's Day 2019

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Happy International Women’s Day 2019!
This year's theme is #BalanceForBetter. It's a theme that recognises that gender diversity and equality will drive a better world and that we must continue to strive for this, not only on International Women’s Day but every day.

Drawing on this year’s theme, we spoke to inspirational #MedWomen to see how barriers in the medical profession are being broken and asked them share to their advice to the next generation of medical leaders. Here's what we learned.

We are inviting everyone to Tweet and share their stories of inspirational #MedWomen with #SheInspiresMe to join a global celebration of their impact.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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MWF International Women's Day 2019

  1. 1. What was your earliest ambition? To be a doctor because my father, grandfather, uncle and (male) cousins were doctors but I was told when I was little that this wasn’t for women. What inspired you to choose your specialty? Being lucky enough to be awarded a fellowship funded by the national charity, Bliss, to train with two amazing and inspiring pioneer neonatologists, Jonathan Shaw and Osmund Reynolds at University College Hospital, in the days when neonatal medicine wasn’t a recognised speciality. What single change has made the most difference in your field? There isn’t a single change. However a clear turning point was the development of surfactant because prior to the availability of this medication, the majority of preterm babies died, and their deaths, from respiratory failure, were pretty horrible. Drawing on the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter, how can we ensure medical leadership includes more women?  By helping women develop the confidence to go for the top jobs  By building strong networks of supportive women Advice and how to get there— Do:  Know what you want and follow this goal (crystallising exactly what you want can be more difficult than you might expect)  Find a supportive partner or close friend (everyone needs a shoulder to cry on) Don’t:  Underestimate yourself  Be disheartened by failure How to get there:  Persistence  Being ready to seize opportunity when it presents Professor Neena Modi Neonatal Medicine MWF President-Elect Neena Modi is Professor of Neonatal Medicine at Imperial College London, Consultant at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and Immediate Past-President of the UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Neena has made many contributions to health services. She has championed the necessity for a sound research base for paediatrics and child health, and the health equity that flows from a publicly funded and publicly provided health service. She has held several national roles including President of the UK Neonatal Society, President of the Academic Paediatrics Association of Great Britain and Ireland, Chair of the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee, Chair of the NHS England Infant, Children and Young People Patient Safety Expert Group, and Chair of Medact. Medical Women’s Federation International Women’s Day 2019: #BalanceForBetter www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019 #MedWomen
  2. 2. What was your earliest ambition? To succeed in a male world! What inspired you to choose your specialty? The emergence of a new illness that was killing young people— AIDS – subsequently discovered to be due to HIV . The stigma associated with the condition continues despite all the progress in treatment and care. What single change has made the most difference in your field? The advent of highly effective Anti-Retroviral Drugs for HIV treatment. We now can say with confidence that individuals with undetectable HIV viral loads who are on ARV on an ongoing basis cannot sexually transmit the virus .The campaign U=U : Undetectable = Untransmittable is one I never thought I would see and gives hope to the elimination of AIDS by 2030. Whilst we don’t have a cure we certainly have changed the face of the infection and epidemic. Drawing on the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter, how can we ensure medical leadership includes more women? Both men and women in senior roles need to not just mentor women but sponsor them as well – being an excellent role model is one thing, but allowing the next women to climb on your shoulder is what will make the difference. So we can start by ensuring Leadership roles are fit for purpose for both women and men, they allow for flexibility and lifestyle. We then need balanced shortlists for leadership roles, with balanced interview panels and aim to have leadership teams which have 50:50 balance without adopting positive discrimination. Advice and how to get there— Do:  Be authentic  Seek a mentor & sponsor  Build on what you are good at Don’t:  Be put off by failure – FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning  Adopt ‘masculine ‘ characteristics How to get there:  Change the ‘Why Me’ attitude to the ‘Why NOT Me’ stance – its our collective role to #BalanceForBetter Dr Olwen Williams Sexual Health & HIV Brought up in North Wales and a Welsh speaker; Olwen was educated at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle and the University of Liverpool. Following specialist training in the North West, she took up a Consultant position leading Sexual Health & HIV services in North Wales. Olwen is passionate about improving services for women especially those who experience sexual & domestic violence and child sexual exploitation. She developed the Amethyst SARC & Sexual Health Services. As Chief of Staff (2009-2015) Olwen was responsible for leading on the virtual clinical project C@rtref, a project using telemedicine to improve access to clinical services for the elderly and frail in rural Wales. She is the President of BASHH and also holds the positions of Vice President of the Medical Women's Federation, elected councillor RCP London and Trustee of the National AIDS Trust. She has also acted as an advisor to the Welsh Government. Olwen was awarded an OBE for services to medicine in Wales in 2005 and Welsh Woman of the Year in 2000. , Medical Women’s Federation International Women’s Day 2019: #BalanceForBetter www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019 #MedWomen
  3. 3. What was your earliest ambition? I originally wanted to be a police officer, but decided to become a doctor at the age of 12. What inspired you to choose your specialty? I really enjoyed the intellectual challenge of making a diagnosis, coupled with the privilege of being able to talk to patients from such a range of backgrounds. So it was clear I should be a physician. I spent a short period as a microbiology registrar, but missed the patients so returned to GiM. Rheumatology appealed, as it allowed me to develop long term clinical relationships with my patients. Medical Education was a hobby, as I always loved to teach, but I became more and more involved. What single change has made the most difference in your field? In Rheumatology, without doubt, it is the biologic therapies. They have revolutionised the lives of so many people with devastating inflammatory arthritis. Drawing on the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter, how can we ensure medical leadership includes more women? The numbers of women in leadership positions are increasing, but it is too slow. Women need to have the encouragement and courage to step up. Role models are essential, but we need culture change, so it is normal to see women in leadership positions. We also need the structural barriers and disincentives to be removed. There is an emerging evidence base about what works. We need to use it to make sustained change. Advice and how to get there— Do:  Be yourself, but stay strong. Don’t:  Don’t allow your confidence be knocked. You are better at all this than you think. How to get there:  Be polite, calm, and persistent. Use soft power rather than being adversarial. Professor Dame Jane Dacre Rheumatology and Medical Education Dame Jane is a Consultant Rheumatologist and Professor of Medical Education. She is the immediate past president of the RCP and was Vice Chair of the AoMRC, Director of UCL Medical School, MD of MRCPUK and Academic VP of the RCP. She is the lead for the DHSC independent review into the gender pay gap in medicine, and the President of the Medical Protection Society. She won the medicine and healthcare category 2012 of Women in the City Woman of Achievement Award; was named on the HSJ inaugural list of 50 inspirational women in healthcare in 2013; was named in the science and medicine category for people of influence Debrett’s 500 in 2015, 2016 and 2017; and was named on the HSJ top 100 list from 2014 to 2017. Dame Jane was made a Dame of the British Empire (DBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018. Medical Women’s Federation International Women’s Day 2019: #BalanceForBetter www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019 #MedWomen
  4. 4. What was your earliest ambition? To be a violinist. What inspired you to choose your specialty? To move from helping individual patients to helping the population/public’ health. What single change has made the most difference in your field? Antibiotics and vaccines. Drawing on the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter, how can we ensure medical leadership includes more women? Champion and support for women to believe in themselves, to put themselves forward and try new roles. Advice and how to get there— Do: Try new roles Don’t: Think you cannot do it How to get there: Believe in yourself, commit to your learning & development and hold your nose and jump. Professor Dame Sally Davies CMO (Public Health) Dame Sally is the Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Advisor to the UK Government. She is an independent advisor to the UK Government on medical and public health matters. Dame Sally founded the National Institute for Health Research and is a Non-Executive Director of Genomics England Ltd. She was a member of the WHO Executive Board and the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on AMR. Most recently, she has been appointed a co-convener of the UN Inter-Agency Co-ordination Group on AMR, set up in response to the UNGA 2016 declaration. Dame Sally received her DBE in 2009, was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine, USA in 2015. Medical Women’s Federation International Women’s Day 2019: #BalanceForBetter www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019 #MedWomen
  5. 5. What was your earliest ambition? From the age of 8 to be a surgeon. What inspired you to choose your specialty? Vascular Surgery was new and an exciting challenge. What single change has made the most difference in your field? Not one but two. The advent of Intensive care and the rapid development of imaging. Drawing on the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter, how can we ensure medical leadership includes more women? You cannot succeed if you don't apply and you can do it, believe me! Advice and how to get there— Do:  Focus  Be a supportive colleague  Keep your sense of humour Don’t:  Don’t give up. An occasional failure will push you to be even better.  Don't give up your hobbies.  Don’t neglect your family and friends. How to get there:  Contribute to the profession.  Take care in your choice of specialty as it will be yours for many years.  Get the proper qualifications.  Be a good friend. Professor Averil Mansfield Vascular Surgery Professor Averil Mansfield is a retired vascular surgeon. She was a consultant surgeon at St Mary's Hospital in London, from 1982 to 2002, and in 1993 she became the first British woman to be appointed a Professor of Surgery. She was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 2005, and was elected president of the British Medical Association in 2009–2010. In 2012 she was voted one of "100 Women Who Have Changed the World" by The Independent on Sunday. Medical Women’s Federation International Women’s Day 2019: #BalanceForBetter www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019 #MedWomen
  6. 6. What was your earliest ambition? To be a doctor so that I could help people who were unwell. What inspired you to choose your specialty? I was fascinated by the heart as a teenager and chose cardiac related topics for my undergraduate degree in Oxford. And then when I walked into an operating theatre during my clinical training in Cambridge I literally felt like I’d found my home. It was my Eureka moment - I decided there and then that I would be a Cardiac Surgeon. What single change has made the most difference in your field? Without doubt the invention of the Cardiopulmonary Bypass Circuit or ‘heart-lung machine’, which allows us to support the blood flow to the body while we stop and operate on the heart, heralded the dawn of modern heart surgery. Drawing on the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter, how can we ensure medical leadership includes more women? We all need to play our part to achieve #BalanceForBetter. When leadership opportunities present themselves share them with your networks and think about stepping up to the plate yourself. Advice and how to get there— Do:  Remember what motivated you to do medicine Don’t:  Don’t talk yourself out of that job/fellowship/leadership role How to get there:  Have a plan (but be prepared for hurdles and challenges) Professor Farah Bhatti Cardiothoracic Surgery Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Council Member and Chair of Women in Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Chair of the Medical Women’s Federation Wales and Council Member of the Cardiothoracic Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. Medical Women’s Federation International Women’s Day 2019: #BalanceForBetter www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019 #MedWomen
  7. 7. What was your earliest ambition? To be a doctor - although my primary school headmistress recommended I become a probation officer. What inspired you to choose your specialty? A superb mixture of clinical, practical and intellectual activity, with constant surprises and learning, and fabulous colleagues. One of the most amazing team sports ever.... What single change has made the most difference in your field? Thermostable DNA polymerase transforming the whole field of genetics, closely followed by the internet allowing access to information that helps us understand the first, as well as a whole universe of other data. Drawing on the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter, how can we ensure medical leadership includes more women? Encourage women to apply for roles, and challenge inequality in all forms. Advice and how to get there— Do:  Have a go! Don’t:  Don’t doubt yourself, dwell overly on mistakes or when things go pear shaped, or take yourself too seriously  Don’t neglect to celebrate achievements (I don’t just mean ‘formal’ achievements - my favourite piece of work was rejected in 3 hours by the journal Science - it was and remains a great discovery even though it was not published in a journal with an impact factor over 20 and I haven’t won a Nobel prize for it! Helping someone with a burst tyre, covering for someone having a hard time, making a good diagnosis, taking a lost patient up to the right department...all make a difference and make the world a bit better...all are valuable and should be quietly celebrated) How to get there:  Keep at it. Build your CV and don’t be afraid of change and the next job ‘up’, even if you don’t think you have all the skills to do the job from day 1 - you will learn! Most importantly have fun! Professor Jo Martin Histopathology Professor Martin Qualified Cambridge University and London Hospital Medical College 1984, MRC Training Fellowship 1988, MRC Fellowship 1990, Wellcome Trust Advanced Research Training Fellowship 1991. PhD London University 1997. Kings Fund programme MA in Leadership in 2005. Jo has over 130 published papers including Nature group and Science journals and is Professor of Pathology at Queen Mary University London. She is a founding Director of Biomoti, a drug delivery platform technology company, and app creator, including an elearning platform, eCPD, with over 46,000 modules completed by health staff to date. She has very broad experience in healthcare management ranging from running clinical departments and divisions to acting as Medi- cal Director, and subsequently Chief Medical Officer at Barts Health NHS Trust. As Director of Academic Health Sciences she is responsible for CRN North Thames, hosted by Barts, and has led research across the Trust and the training and education of 16,000 staff across Barts Health. Her clinical specialist expertise is in the pathology of gastrointestinal motility disorders, for which she has a passion. National Clinical Director of Pathology for NHS England April 2013-16, Jo has worked across a broad range of programmes and projects in all the pathology disciplines including genetics, transfusion, digital pathology, data, networks and working with the diagnostic and other professional bodies, including the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. She is involved in a range of bodies as a board member, including chairing the Research Advisory Board of the Motor Neuron Dis- ease Association and chairing the Strategic Clinical Reference Group of the National Information Board. Jo became President of the Royal College of Pathologists in No- vember 2017. . Medical Women’s Federation International Women’s Day 2019: #BalanceForBetter www.medicalwomensfederation.org.uk #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019 #MedWomen

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