Hometown: Maumelle, AR
Title/Position: Infectious Diseases Physician, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship for Baptist Health
Briefly describe your role: I help the Baptist Health system define practices and policies that improve patient safety by preventing hospital-acquired infections and optimize antibiotic use.
Q: Is what you’re doing now what you always pictured you would do?
A: Absolutely not. I thought I was going to be a journalist, or a speech pathologist, or a nurse midwife. Even when I imagined perhaps becoming a physician, I never considered Infectious Diseases as a career choice.
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for women in your chosen industry? What are the greatest opportunities?
A: Finding a path through medical education while having children is always challenging. I had my first before medical school and my last one in residency, and options for maternity leave and alternative schedules through training are very limited. There are endless opportunities, however, to pave new ways, if a woman has the initiative to try something new. In medicine, there is plenty of room for innovation, in how care is delivered (like telemedicine or mobile health) and in business models (like Direct Primary Care rather than the employed model). By becoming experts in a field, women can create careers that fit with their other priorities in life.
Q: Who has inspired you in your life/career?
A: My mother was a single mom who sacrificed endlessly for my brother and me, and I know it is cliche to say “my mom,” but it is just the truth. She taught me how to work and have relationships, without taking myself too seriously, and without clinging too hard to a specific path to success.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring professional?
A: Be good to yourself. A highly demanding job requires a lot of self-care, and for me that looks like exercise classes, prayer groups, and family routines. Find what keeps you healthy, happy, and spiritually fulfilled. Hard work is definitely part of the path to success, but so is learning what routine maintenance your mind, body, and emotions need to stay functioning well.
Q: What’s been your secret to success?
A: God’s grace. I wish I could say I did something special to end up where I am, but the truth is, I have made so many mistakes along the way, but I just keep suiting up and showing up, and this life has grown up around me.