3 lessons one female physician learned about being a woman in medicine

When Linda Vahdat, MD, started her career in medicine, she didn't focus on salary negotiations or benefits, but over time has learned that being a woman in the medical field requires pushback; she has three key takeaways to share, according to a March 7 MIT Sloan article.

Dr. Vahdat serves as deputy cancer center director, section chief medical oncology and interim section chief of hematology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Center in New Hampshire. 

These are her three key lessons:

  1. Insisting on seeing the financials of your payment is very important, but when you do, you should follow the chain of command and talk to the right people.
  2. The glass ceiling in academic medicine is strong, which can be a shock after medical school, which is largely gender-balanced. Dr. Vahdat found it hard to move up the ranks, despite her elite qualifications.

  3. Don't assume just because leadership is female that they will be better. The qualities and values in a boss are far more important than their gender, she says. 

In a final word of advice, she said: "I would encourage young faculty to look at the entire picture — I believe this represents the level of commitment the institution has to your personal and professional development."

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