A cutting-edge class of surgeons making their mark at URMC

Friday, June 23, 2017

Source: WHAM Rochester

Rochester, NY - The University of Rochester Medical Center says it was chance that brought a talented group of six young women together. History shows that chance was pretty slim.

On Saturday, six women are set to finish their residency at URMC - the first all-female class to do that in the program's history.

"If you look nationally, about 20 percent of surgeons are female and 80 percent are male," said Dr. David Linehan, Chairman of UR Medicine's Department of Surgery. "We get 500 applicants for six positions and interview about 80 people."

The six women were picked in 2010. At first, some admit they were skeptical.

"Initially, I think we were nervous about it, because a lot of us trained in places where there were mostly men in the field,' said Candice Lee, M.D.

"I could not have been more wrong," said Kristin Kelly, M.D. "They are amazing. I think it's almost a shame they focus so much on us being women, because they bring so much more to the table than that."

The group has taken pride in being part of a growing trend. URMC says, right now, about 35 percent of their trainees are women. It's a step in the right direction, if you ask them.

"I had other women to look up to when I was going through this process, so being able to be that for other younger girls is a privilege I think," said Sandra Farach, M.D.

Recently, female surgeons have been getting some national attention thanks to a new social media campaign. It was sparked by an April cover in "The New Yorker" and #ILookLikeASurgeon continues to pop-up on social media.

More inspiration, many hope will help draw more women to the field.

"It's changing, but I think it just takes a long time to see that happen throughout the system," said Kelly

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