Women’s Perspective on Women in Medicine
February 1, 2019
As part of our celebration of National Women Physicians Day, the NBOME sat down with four of the many inspirational women in our midst to discuss their challenges, successes, and advice for future female DOs. We are pleased to share the stories of Natasha Bray, DO, MSEd; Danielle Cooley, DO; Gretta Gross, DO, MEd; and Karen T. Snider, DO. These women contribute their talents on a regular basis as members of our Board, our National Faculty and our Staff and we are pleased to be able to share their stories.
What challenges have you faced in medical school, and later, in the workplace?
KS: “In the clinical setting, some patients assume I am a nurse. In the academic world, I see barriers placed against women who are mothers. Mothers are often the caregiver who get children to events or stay home with sick children, which can be a major impediment to advancement. I would not have been able to advance, if my husband had not shared the joy and burden of child care.”
NB: “I have been very fortunate to learn and practice in a time where women have been given equal opportunities. I have encountered individuals that have been non-supportive, but one of the great things about the osteopathic family is that there are far more people who will be your mentor, friend, and biggest supporter.”
How did Andrew T. Still’s model of accepting women into medical school from the very beginning impact you?
KS: “A.T. Still recognized the value of women for both their intellect and inherent nurturing tendencies. Unfortunately, his son did not feel the same way. As I walk past old American School of Osteopathy class photos each day, I see lots of women in the classes before A.T. Still died – but not so many after. This shows the impact of the profession’s leaders on the direction of its growth.”
DC: “A.T. Still’s model of accepting women into medical school is a great inspiration to me especially considering that at that time and for many years following, women did not have the same rights as men and were often looked as being inferior.”
Did you have a female role model that inspired you to go into medicine?
GG: “Both of my grandmothers had long careers in nursing and I believe my paternal grandmother would have been a physician had she been able to finance the medical education.”
DC: “Mom, although not in medicine herself and most of my younger life was a stay at home mom, has always inspired me and pushed me to follow my dreams and achieve them while giving me the confidence that I could do it.”
What words of advice would you have to share to future DOs about being a women in medicine?
GG: “Belonging to the profession of osteopathic medicine is truly an honor. The ability to impact patients, their families, and interact with the osteopathic professional family have provided me with experiences beyond any expectations I had entering the profession.”
NB: “I think women in medicine bring such an important balance. We recognize the fundamental need to fulfill different roles in our personal and professional lives, allowing for important recognition of the challenges patients face. We find ways to support patients in difficult choices, empower them with resources and comfort them in times of loss. Physicians face a difficult job but the rewards of helping fellow human beings is an amazing blessing.”
About our contributors:
Gretta Gross, DO, MEd, earned her osteopathic degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Gross is currently at the NBOME as the Vice President for Clinical Skills Testing. Prior to joining NBOME in her previous position, Dr. Gross worked as a part-time physician trainer and has been a physician examiner for the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE SOAP Notes since 2004.
Karen T. Snider, DO, FAAO, FNAOME, earned her osteopathic degree from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Snider is currently a professor and assistant dean for osteopathic principles and practice integration at A.T. Still University – Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Snider joined the NBOME Board of Directors in 2010, and serves on the NBOME Awards Committee, the COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE Advisory Committee and the Nominating committee. She also serves on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education as a member of the Osteopathic Recognition Committee.
Danielle Cooley, DO, earned her osteopathic degree from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Cooley is currently an associate professor and chair of osteopathic manipulative medicine at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Cooley currently serves as COMAT Examination chair for osteopathic principles and practice/neuromusculoskeletal medicine.
Natasha Bray, DO, MSEd, FACOI, FACP, earned her osteopathic degree from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Bray is currently serving as the Associate Dean for Accreditation and Academic Affairs at Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation. Dr. Bray currently serves as the Internal Medicine COMAT exam for NBOME and the Chair of the Osteopathic Principles Committee at ACGME.