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AMA-WPS Governing Council Inspirations

Josephine Nguyen, MD

Josephine Nguyen, MD

AMA-WPS Chair and Young Physician Section Representative


Who are your role models that inspired you and your work?

My role models were Dr. William James and Captain Joel Roos (MC).

Dr. James, my program director at University of Pennsylvania, taught me the joy in teaching is the gift you give others is returned a hundred-fold because of the many patients you get to impact.  He also taught me that leaders are made – it requires humility, hard work, patience, and helping others discover the "best version of themselves" so that they can contribute to the "team."

Captain Roos helped me recognize that I was called to be a leader.  He helped me maximize my unique strengths to help the medical community.  That is why I always strive to find the unique talents of others so that they might discover the joy in using their talents to help the community.

What words would you share with a woman physician to help them in medicine today?
Recognize that you are called to be a leader; that you have unique talents that no one else does, and your contributions can be integral to improving medicine and healthcare for others.  Don't be afraid to ask for advice, mentor, or feedback on how you can improve as a physician and as a person.  Lift up other people and recognize the talents of others, because it's about teamwork.

What would you tell a younger version of yourself?
I would share with the younger me that although it's good to focus on a goal, don't get so focused that you forget the journey!  Life is about enjoying the journey, the people you meet and the wisdom you develop as you go on your journey.  What you want may not be what's best for you, and you have to have faith to know that when one door closes, the right one will open.

Also, don't sweat the little things or the big things.  It's all a learning and growing experience.  Love yourself: both your strengths and your "so-called" weaknesses.

Kimberly Templeton, MD

Kimberly Templeton, MD

AMA-WPS Vice-Chair and At-Large Representative


Who are your role models that inspired you and your work?

I try to learn something from everyone with whom I work.  Everyone has an interesting point of view or a new way to confront similar problems. I have tried to address issues that I see aren't being addressed (at least not fully) and attempt to effect change in these areas engaging as many people as possible and learning from their points of view.

What words would you share with a woman physician to help them in medicine today?
Although women make up nearly half of medical school classes and residents, equality for the genders in all areas of medicine does not always exist.  There is still bias in hiring and/or promotion in some specialties and/or in some regions of the country.  Be aware of this as your move forward in your career.  Also, plan your career carefully, understanding that the trajectory for all physicians isn't necessarily directly from medical school to residency to practice and then retirement.

If you see a problem that isn't being addressed, don't assume that someone has already identified it and is working on it. Become involved!  This is the only way to effect change and to provide your unique perspective. 

What would you tell a younger version of yourself?
When your career becomes difficult, don't resort to the typical female response that you just need to work harder.  Reach out to others to see how they have addressed similar situations.  Find opportunities to become involved, to effect the change that you see is needed. Just because someone else hasn't already addressed an issue, it is still worth addressing.  We all have a unique perspective.

Jana Janco, MD

Jana Janco, MD

AMA-WPS Delegate


Who are your role models that inspired you and your work?

In different stages of my life, there were various role models.  However, the most constant role models were my parents who had an unshakeable belief that I can do anything that I set my mind to.

What words would you share with a woman physician to help them in medicine today?
One of the most valuable assets you can acquire is a good mentor.  Women physicians need to be more proactive about searching out people they admire and asking them for guidance.  

What would you tell a younger version of yourself?
Always challenge yourself to sit at the table. 

Lynda Kabbash, MD

Lynda Kabbash, MD

AMA-WPS Alternate Delegate


Who are your role models that inspired you and your work?

The first person is Dr. Mary Ellen Avery.  She discovered surfactant, which led to a new world of neonatal care.  I remember talking with her when she had moved from McGill to Harvard Medical School.  I too, had moved to Boston from Montreal and we were working on a committee together.  She explained how money spent on neonatal care and NICU's was money very well spent when considering health care dollars. The number of young lives saved is truly outstanding.

The second person is Dr. Brenda Moroz.  She was the best teacher I ever had, and I remember to this day rounding with her and seeing patients together in the Pediatric Dermatology Clinic at Montreal Children's Hospital. At the time, I was an Allergy and Immunology Fellow on a dermatology rotation – I seriously considered changing my specialty to dermatology after spending time on her service.

What words would you share with a woman physician to help them in medicine today?
I would explain that working in medicine today requires a good deal of dedication and selflessness. This has always been the case but it is especially true in the present health care environment.

What would you tell a younger version of yourself?
This question reminds me of the country song: "If I could write a letter to me."  I would tell myself to be more confident of my abilities, not at the bedside, but rather on the political side of medicine.  This would mean standing up for myself in the hospital and medical school hierarchy.  At the same time, I would also tell myself to realize how much I am trying to do, raising a family, running a household and also working with patients and trying to advance my career.

Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD

Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD

American Medical Women's Association Representative


Who are your role models that inspired you and your work?

Steve Wasserman – a nurse in the ER when I was a college student – pushed, prodded, and yelled at me to consider going to medical school instead of nursing school.  He helped me to see there was potential.

Carl Miller, MD – member of Cornell University Medical College's Internal Medicine Department – was my med school advisor and constant supporter.

Lynn Cleary, MD – member of Upstate Medical University's Internal Medicine Department – was a role model for being an effective faculty member in a university setting.

What words would you share with a woman physician to help them in medicine today?
Love what you do and do what you love.  If you choose something just for the lifestyle you may be disappointed.  If you love what you do, you will do it well.  Seek out support from others in your field and use organized medicine to connect you to those outside your own system.

What would you tell a younger version of yourself?
Wow kid, you did pretty well!  Much better than expected!  Thanks for working very hard in those early years.  The choices you make in your 20's are the most important of your life.  They influence how you live when you are 50!

Ami Shah, MD

Ami Shah, MD

At-Large Representative


Who are your role models that inspired you and your work?

During my summer visits to my native country India, we would meet my aunt's friend who was a gynecologist who ran a free clinic in India.  It amazed me that someone would dedicate their life to improving the health of everyone and to do it without regard to compensation.  I thought being a physician was such a pure and noble physician.  It left a lasting impression on me.

What words would you share with a woman physician to help them in medicine today?
Believe in yourself and don't settle for less than what you believe you can achieve.  Do not let others put limits on you that do not need to be placed.  It is possible to be successful in many areas in your life, career, family, motherhood; however, at any given point, you may not be the best at all three at once.  Give yourself time, take as much help from people willing to help, and do not be too hard on yourself!

What would you tell a younger version of yourself?
Dream big.  Follow your passion.

Rachel Solnick

Rachel Solnick

Medical Student Section Representative


Who are your role models that inspired you and your work?

Ever since I read his autobiography when I was younger, I've been very inspired by the work of Martin Luther King Jr. as a courageous leader for social justice.  More recently, I've been encouraged by the work of Sheryl Sandberg and Senator Elizabeth Warren. 

What words would you share with a woman physician to help them in medicine today?
As a medical student, I already can tell that the joy of taking care of patients is going to be more than enough to make this career choice worth the challenges.  It is such a privilege to get to be in a field that is ever evolving and always open to evidence based challenges to the status quo.  The pursuit of knowledge and the refinement of the practice are at the heart of what we do as physicians, and shall always remain despite bureaucratic burdens and the many new challenges of the practice environment.  If we keep that at the heart of what we do, medicine will stay the shining beacon that attracted us towards this path. 

What would you tell a younger version of yourself?
Surround yourself by people who are excited about life and dream big.  Find mentors who believe in you and your goals and will not only put in the effort to help you get there, but push you to become the best you can. Stay curious. 

Christina Talerico, MD

Christina Talerico, MD

Resident and Fellow Section Representative


Who are your role models that inspired you and your work?

The first person to inspire me to pursue medicine as a career was my pediatric endocrinologist, Martin S. Cohen M.D.  As a medical student, I attended a women in surgery conference in Tampa, Florida and I was so impressed by the speakers and fellow attendees because they demonstrated with such grace how women can succeed as physicians, wives, and mothers simultaneously.  I still read some of my notes from that conference occasionally to keep myself motivated. 

What words would you share with a woman physician to help them in medicine today?
Remember to take care of yourself first and keep balance in your life.  This enables you to lead a fuller life and ultimately be a better physician.  

What would you tell a younger version of yourself?
Keep it up, you're making the right decision to follow the dream.