Only 9% of women want to be surgeons — Here's how 1 physician is trying to change that

Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges states that while half of the students attending medical school in 2018 were female, only 9 percent of them sought to pursue a surgical specialty. One Florida physician is trying to shift that stigma, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Sharona Ross, MD, a gastroenterologist at AdventHealth Tampa's Digestive Health Institute, said she invited a group of female medical students and residents to talk about their interest in surgery 10 years ago. She told the publication she was stunned that the women had heard only negative things about surgery.

"Everything they'd heard about surgery was negative. It was aggressive to train for, and there was no time for a family or a husband. The training was very male-oriented at the time. A lot of what they were saying was true, but I was still shocked," she said.

The experience prompted her to launch the Women in Surgery Symposium, a two-day conference for female physicians, medical students and undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in surgery, in 2009. The symposium has since taken place annually in multiple cities and attracted interested individuals from Japan, Mexico and Canada, among other countries.

"When I started, I was the only woman in the [operating room] other than the patient. That's not the case anymore," Dr. Ross said, adding, "Unless we encourage more women to pursue a career in surgery, we will have a shortage of surgeons in the future."

To access the full report, click here.

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