September is Women in Medicine Month. We are pleased to share the stories of some of our female physicians.
Dr. Christine Gilkerson is board-certified in Internal Medicine. She is the Chair and Associate Dean of Admissions. She is also an Associate Professor of Medicine here at Marshall University.
A career in medicine is a collaborative experience, and support from others is incredibly important. Was there a female mentor in your life that helped you navigate any obstacles in your medical career?
I had the great fortune of having Shirley Neitch, MD as a mentor early in my medical school career. During my internal medicine residency she was also my attending. She had a way of drawing out the confidence in her students and residents, at the same time able to give constructive feedback with such finesse. She was tireless in her efforts of fairness and a ferocious patient advocate. Her very common sense approach to patient care still influences me to this day.
Last year the #medbikini broke the internet when a journal article listed wearing a bikini on the beach on personal social media as unprofessional behavior. Do you feel that women are held to a different professionalism standard than men?
Perhaps there is a double standard in general, but I think of this specific situation differently. I feel as physicians we are held up to a different set of expectations of how we project ourselves to the world. There is nothing prohibiting any woman physician from doing this, but with it follows the impression people will take from it.
What advice would you give to a young woman pursuing a career in medicine?
Surround yourself with a positive and supportive network. Seek out others that have actually done it and get their advice, listen and learn. You are stronger than you know!
Date Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2021