The annual Wonder Women panel broadcasts a great overview of the medical field
By Mariah Bennett | Personal editor
Baylor’s American Medical Women Association hosted its annual Wonder Women panel from 7-8:10 p.m. Thursday on Zoom. The event brought together five women in several pre-health professions who discussed their experiences, challenges and general advice for students.
Daniela Zirkle – San Diego, Calif., senior and president of AMWA – said the panel was called “Wonder Women” for several reasons, including AMWA’s focus on empowering women in medicine and the challenges women face on their journey to pre-healthcare careers.
“Having this event allows our members to see mentors and role models in the roles they aspire to,” Zirkle said.
Zirkle said she considers the panelists to be marvels because of their work-life balance.
“The panelists do it all: they have great families, careers and kids, and they make it work,” Zirkle said. “We give them the same 24 hours a day as us. I think that’s pretty cool.
The panel composition included Dr. Aderonke Adekunle Ojo, Dr. Laura Zambrano-Vazquez, MSN Nurse Practitioner Robin Sanders, Dr. Celeste Hecox and Dr. Katherine Haynes.
The event began with a short presentation from the panelists, which was followed by three prepared questions and a short question and answer period. There were 70 attendees, including hosts and panelists.
The first prepared question asked panelists to describe their work and what they liked most about it. Panelists are involved in multiple pre-health professions, including clinical psychology, pediatrics and gynecology.
Haynes, who earned her undergraduate degree at Baylor, has her own practice specializing in gynecology and minimally invasive gynecological surgery. Haynes said she enjoys the surgical aspect of her job as well as developing long-term relationships with her patients.
“You’re able to help people and see them gradually improve over time,” Haynes said. “They are usually very grateful. My relationships with my patients are generally relatively long-term.
The second prepared question asked the panelists why they decided to enter the healthcare field. Ojo, who originally aspired to become a teacher, said her decision was based on a challenge from her mother.
“My mom said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t do medicine,'” Ojo said. “It was a challenge, and the rest was history.”
Ojo said her mother felt like her brother – who was also in medical school – was struggling and that because he was a boy and she was a girl, she would have it even worse.
Ojo said she promised her mother that she would be valedictorian of her medical class and she kept her promise. She is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, an attending physician at Texas Children’s Hospital, and a Senate Representative for the Department of Pediatrics. She is also the mother of two Baylor students.
The last prepared question asked the panelists if they had encountered any challenges and barriers in their healthcare and/or clinical research because of their gender.
Hecox said she is currently a private pediatrician with Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Pediatrics. Hecox said that even though the climate is improving, even to this day, she wears her long white coat and heels in the hospital in order to draw people’s attention to the fact that she is the person in charge. their care.
“A lot of times people’s assumptions will rule that out,” Hecox said. “They don’t pay attention to what we’re talking about because they think someone else will come next. You really have to try to be heard and seen as a woman.
After the Q&A session, the event ended with a general tip from Zambrano-Vazquez, who encouraged the students to take their time. This advice was backed by Ojo, who added that students should enjoy their trip and make sure they want to pursue their profession.
“Find your peace, take your time and work on finding mentors, friends and colleagues who will help support you along the journey,” Zambrano-Vazquez said. “Take care.”