Laying the groundwork
A field trip to UF Health introduces middle and high school girls to medicine
August 5, 2019—Formative experiences in childhood and young adulthood can often spark a lifelong passion and even influence one’s professional future. One UF College of Medicine faculty organization aimed to inspire young minds toward a path to health care during an event held August 2.
Women in Medicine and Science hosted a field trip to UF Health for local middle and high school students from Girls Place Inc. and PACE Center for Girls of Alachua County, inviting 70 young women to learn from physicians, residents and medical students about the skills and lifestyle required for a career in medicine.
Organized by Stacy G. Beal, M.D., a UF Health pathologist and advisory board vice president for Women in Medicine and Science, the day included lessons in taking one’s pulse, a closer look at the heart through ultrasound technology, tours of hospital wards, operating rooms and research labs as well as a lunchtime question-and-answer session with faculty.
Moderated by UF College of Medicine dean for faculty development Ellen Zimmermann, M.D., a panel of nine female physicians — Jennifer Hagen, M.D., Kayser Enneking, M.D., Alice Rhoton-Vlasak, M.D., Mariam Rahmani, M.D., Deepa Danan, M.D., Caroline Srihari, M.D., Michele Lossius, M.D., Paramita Chakrabarty, Ph.D., and Crystal Johnson-Mann, M.D. — fielded questions from the students about their paths to medicine, the most rewarding parts of their careers and if a “love for blood and guts” is required to become a physician.
Rahmani shared with the young audience how her plans for her own future evolved as she grew and her sense of self matured.
“When I was a little girl, I thought I would get married and have kids and not have a job. When I got older, I realized it’s important for women to have good, stable jobs, so we don’t have to depend on anyone else,” Rahmani said during the panel.
Beal said she hopes the young women left feeling inspired by the experiences they had and the people they met, realizing that, if they so choose, a career in medicine is within their grasp.
“Young women need opportunities to interact with physicians, residents and medical students to open their worlds to possibilities they may never know about. They see that they, too, could follow in this path,” Beal said. “We wanted to show them that doctors and scientists are real people with real lives and families. Yes, we work hard and our jobs can be stressful, but there is so much joy to be had in taking care of others.”