Four years ago, Hala Sabry, DO, spearheaded the founding of National Women Physicians Day (NWPD). Held annually on Feb. 3, NWPD is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate female physicians.
“Women are still facing gender inequity in the medical field despite so many years of training at a professional level,” Dr. Sabry told The DO in 2017. “… Physicians are often trained not to ask for help or self-promote, but if we want to be respected, we have to raise awareness of the issues we are facing, and we have to celebrate each other.”
From teaching medical students in Alaska to shaping Time’s Up Healthcare, many women in osteopathic medicine are doing amazing things. Below are nine DOs and one osteopathic medical student The DO featured in the past year and the links to their stories.
10 women in osteopathic medicine to know
In December 2018, Alin Gragossian, DO, an emergency medicine resident, suddenly and unexpectedly learned that she needed a heart transplant at the age of 30 because of a rare genetic anomaly. A month later, she got one. Dr. Gragossian continues to chronicle her transplant experience on her blog and has also become a vocal advocate for organ donation.
Roberta Gebhard, DO, and Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, serve on the 12-person advisory board for Time’s Up Healthcare, which launched last year as a group effort aiming to raise awareness of gender inequalities and sexual harassment in health care settings to ensure a safe and respectful workplace.
“You can’t intervene in a problem if you don’t know it exists,” says Dr. Ross-Lee. “We want to influence current leadership to engage the gender resource that is being ignored.”
At age 13, Chelsee Greer, DO, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Many years later, she became a DO. Last year, she landed a prestigious oncology fellowship in Texas. The pediatric cancer patient has become a pediatric cancer physician.
Judith Guzman-Cottrill, DO, recently treated Oregon’s first child with tetanus in more than 30 years. The CDC published her case report last year.
“It cost over $800,000 to treat this one child with severe tetanus,” she told The DO. “To put that into perspective, one tetanus vaccine costs about $25. CDC guidelines recommend that children receive five doses of tetanus vaccine by age 6.”
Emily Temple-Wood, OMS IV, is leading a fight against systemic gender bias by creating Wikipedia articles about notable women scientists who haven’t yet been included in the largest encyclopedia in history.
“Every year more and more women scientists are doing amazing things and qualifying for a Wikipedia page,” she notes.
Junella Chin, DO, has been helping patients integrate medical cannabis into their treatment plans for nearly 15 years, first in California and now in New York City. She also treats her patients, many of whom have epilepsy or cancer, with osteopathic manipulative medicine. Among the limited number of physicians performing medical cannabis evaluations, she’s one of the few who doesn’t solely focus on medical cannabis.
“I practice traditional, neuromuscular osteopathic medicine and adjust patients with my hands,” she says. “People don’t necessarily come to me for medical cannabis alone.”
Anne Hanley, DO, oversees a one-year clinical rotations program at a hospital in Fairbanks, Alaska. Teaching and learning medicine in the “Last Frontier” is both challenging and rewarding, she notes.
“It’s important to just keep an open mind and have an adventure both personally and clinically,” she says.
After learning about sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC) in the most tragic way, Denise Wunderler, DO, and her husband Mike Savino, DO, are on a mission to educate others about the term. Dr. Wunderler and Dr. Savino lost their 2-year-old daughter, Vienna, in 2017. Her cause of death was eventually listed as SUDC, a term Dr. Wunderler and Dr. Savino were unfamiliar with at the time.
After obtaining three postgraduate degrees, surgery resident Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, remains a passionate advocate for osteopathic medicine and improving public health.
“A lot of answers to our health problems lie in the tenets of osteopathic medicine,” she says.