Women in Medicine Month

September 30, 2021

To honor Women in Medicine Month, several alumni wrote about women who have inspired and impacted their careers in medicine.

Dr. Herminia Bierema (CHM '84)

"It wasn’t until I was in 8th grade that my mom finally found a female doctor, who I have always known as Dr. Zoila. She is from Puerto Rico and speaks Spanish. She was close to retirement, so I didn’t have her for a long time; but it was a relief to finally have someone that I felt comfortable with and my mom could fully communicate with. Dr. Zoila always took the time to explain why she ordered tests and her reasoning behind the treatment and diet recommendations. Prior to finding her, we didn’t feel heard by our doctor and felt rushed. The way Dr. Zoila communicated with me and my mom inspires how I work with my own patients."

Read more from Dr. Bierema

Dr. Janet Osuch (CHM '79, 00)

“I was the only woman in surgery in the area at that time, and my practice was soon overwhelmed with patients who had breast problems. There were so many unmet needs for women with this horrific disease, and I thought a lot about limiting my practice to diseases of the breast. This is where my story of an inspirational woman in medicine begins. Her name is Susan Love, MD."

Read more from Dr. Janet Osuch

Dr. Marsha Rappley (CHM '84)

"Nancy J. Hopwood, MD, allowed me to see that a physician could be a caring and compassionate person, as well as a superb teacher, scientist and investigator. I loved the caring part of being a nurse. And I longed to know more of the rigorous science behind what I was seeing and doing. In Dr. Hopwood, I saw that this might all be possible."

Read more from Dr. Rappley

Dr. Lisa McElroy (CHM '09)

“I frequently get approached by medical students about whether surgery is a welcoming profession for women. My unwavering answer is ‘yes, there’s a place for you and more importantly – we need you.’ Surgery remains a homogenous field, but we are working hard to improve our inclusiveness and recruit trainees from a diverse array of backgrounds and experiences.”

Read more from Dr. McElroy