In honor of National Women Physicians Day, St. George’s University’s School of Medicine Alumni Association (SOMAA) held a virtual panel discussion to celebrate its accomplished alumnae making a difference every day in the medical community. The group of esteemed panelists delved into an open and informative discussion about their perspectives on not only being a woman physician but also the impact that female leaders can have on their organizations, as well as the impact those leadership roles can have on the women who hold them.
“I’ve learned to become a servant leader and a collaborative leader,” stated Gina Puglisi, MD ’87, attending adult hospitalist for Envision Physicians in New Jersey and regional medical director of hospital medicine for NEOU. “I’m a leader that gives to their team and makes sure their team is always happy. Everything I do is for the team because if the team is happy then the patients are happy.”
As a physician working in emergency medicine for the past 31 years, Dr. Puglisi has been in a leadership position since her third year out of residency.
“Most studies show that servant leadership and collaborative leadership are the most successful types of leadership,” added Dr. Puglisi. “As a servant leader, I do everything I can to make things easier for my team on a day-to-day basis so, that they can spend more time at the bedside with patients and less time getting bogged down with other aspects of their jobs.”
In addition to sharing their personal stories about the unique qualities that women leaders and physicians bring to the table—and some of the barriers they’ve faced along the way—the panelists also shared insights on how to balance their careers with their personal lives, wellness, and other passions and hobbies they may have.
“Achieving work/life balance is a continued work in progress,” said Marie Raphaelle Jean, MD ’09, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the University of Arizona. “No one has it completely figured out. However, what has served me well is that I became non-negotiable with giving life to activities that brought balance to my mind, body, and spirit. When I focus on those three things, it keeps me grounded.”
“Another good way to strike that balance is that when one vacation ends, start scheduling your next one so that you prevent burn out,” she added. “And lastly, remind yourself that you didn’t get to this place by chance. We have been vetted and we absolutely belong where we are and deserve to be where we are.”
With St. George’s University being the second largest source of physicians for the entire US workforce, the SOMAA was proud to host the online event acknowledging its female doctors who continue to provide excellent care and are committed to making a difference in the lives of their patients every day. The five SGU graduates on the panel represented a variety of specialties, including gynecology, radiology, emergency medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.
“It’s impossible to not be inspired by these women physicians—their stories and their impact on healthcare,” said Robert Alig, vice president of alumni affairs at St. George’s University. “It’s incredibly powerful to hear them speak and to connect their experiences back to their education here at St. George’s University. It’s unmistakable that they care deeply about their profession, one another, and about SGU, but most important is their commitment to educating themselves, their peers, and their colleagues to make a difference in healthcare.”
– Ray-Donna Peters