Women in Cardiology Career Event for High School Students, Undergrads & Beyond

The Women in Cardiology Trainee Career Event was started by UCSF faculty to provide high school students, undergrads, medical students, residents, and fellows the opportunity to talk to female cardiologists about their personal and professional journeys.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s meeting took place in a virtual format. This allowed for greater participation with 61 attendees: 40 trainees and 21 faculty.

Keynote speaker Michelle A. Albert, MD, Professor in Residence, Medicine at UCSF, presented on the “Workforce Pipeline Perspective in Academic Medicine,” which discussed the key elements in building networks, the need to diversify medicine, and some of the challenges in early academic careers.

Michelle Albert Slide“Medical school favors those who are financially advantaged. There are significant efforts behind the scenes, so all of you with diverse backgrounds can attend medical school. UCSF has increased financial aid substantially over the past 3 years for its large medical school class,” said Dr. Albert.

“For me to survive to this point, I have focused inwards and also reached outwards. Involvement in national organizations has provided social and academic supports to assist me in academic medicine.”

In closing, Dr. Albert imparted, “Women and underrepresented-in-medicine individuals need to have the courage for the challenges and for the victories.”

Up next, a diverse panel of cardiologists shared their backgrounds and experiences, and answered questions from attendees. Below are a few quotes from the meeting.

Panel members:

Roselle Abraham, MD, Professor of Medicine, UCSF, Co-Director of HCM Center of Excellence
Alexis Beatty, MD
Associate Professor, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, UCSF
Shadi Kalantarian, MD, Electrophysiology Fellow, UCSF
Jaya Mallidi, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, St Joseph Health
Anita Moon-Grady, MD, Professor, Pediatrics, UCSF
Melissa Burroughs Pena, MD, General Cardiologist, Stanford Healthcare 

“Finding mentors and sponsors is most important. You don’t have to do everything alone. There are many people that can help you. If you aren’t quite sure what you want to do – that’s ok. Careers in medicine can be varied, intellectually challenging and you can help others.” – Dr. Alexis Beatty

“Don’t think you are the only one who can’t handle it. No one thinks they are doing it right.” – Dr. Anita Moon-Grady

“It’s traditionally considered as a male field but if you have the passion for this field there is a lot of satisfaction and gratification. To be an Interventional Cardiology (IC) in most institutions, most of the women are the only IC at that center. It takes a lot of courage and mental tenacity to be an IC as a woman. I sometimes wondered where that courage comes from. I think it comes from the deep passion and love for medicine. If you have the passion and love for medicine and IC, I would not let anything come in the way.” – Dr. Jaya Mallidi

After the panel, Zoom breakout rooms enabled more intimate conversations, pairing trainees with UCSF faculty and fellows for further advice and conversation.

There are 33 female cardiologists at UCSF Health, Zuckerberg San Francisco General (ZSFG), and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMCSF). You can view 16 of the faculty spotlight profiles here for UCSF Health. The spotlight profiles for several women in the Cardiovascular Disease fellowship can be viewed here (you can read about the 9 fellowship programs here). 

If you are interested in joining this meeting in the future, please send us an email.