Is there anyone out there who could give me the heads up on surgical programs that are women friendly and if not asking too much family friendly too. I am about to change specialties and go after my passion, surgery. I love it and have put it off for a variety of reasons. Now at 44 I am going to apply for plastic surgery/general. I have an eight year old daughter and I worry about my ability to parent and be a surgical resident, not an easy task.
Anyway I would welcome any advise about programs, stories of others who juggled parenthood and residency, older women residents etc.
The recently appointed chair of surgery at Hopkins is a woman with an eight or nine year old son. I think her husband is the primary parent, but she's trying to make the program a little friendlier (ie moving grand rounds to a weekday). She might be an interesting resource! I am intrigued that you'd consider a surgery residency at this point in your life -- it looks so grueling and so long that I would have been daunted in my 20's. More power to you!
Nigella, the best of luck to you. I started my surgical residency at the age of 30, but was the only woman in my program and older than half of them, to boot!
I just recently contacted a woman who is on the American Board of Surgery, as well as one of the governors of the American College of Surgeons regarding issues about women in training. Let's just say that I didn't have the most stellar experience.
My suggestions: look for programs that have a female program director or chairperson. When I matched twelve years ago (it seems like an eternity ago), I think that there was only one program that had a female program director or chairperson. That seems to have changed considerably since I trained, but according to one of my former junior residents things haven't changed so much where we trained. I loved my program director, but he was a lone voice in the department. Some programs are still very male centric as you have obviously ascertained. I saw that someone suggested OHSU...their residency program director is a woman!
Also, I think that someone suggested that you look at the Association of Women Surgeons site (if they didn't, I'm suggesting it now). You can request access to post a thread and some of the women who are in academic practices may be able to tell you about their programs and their experiences.
I haven't quite figured out how to send a personal message, but if you need more info, let me know here and I'll try to figure it out.
I did my med student surgery clerkship and internship at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I found the surgery dept there to be pretty supportive of women, certainly admitting some excellent women who were my residents. I wonder if it would help to broaden the search from only academic centers to some high-powered community hospitals in those academic communities. They have a vested interest in finding good people who will be good with patients and not just good researchers, and I think that may make them more friendly to women.