Amy Chen, MD, MPH

"Creating and sustaining a culture of equity would be vital to retaining our talented women so they can thrive, not just survive."

This September we are featuring six of Winship's women healthcare professionals for Women in Medicine Month. We have asked them to share their perspectives on working at Winship and what their careers have been like as women in medicine.

Amy Chen, MD, MPH, is Willard and Lillian Hackerman Professor of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. Instrumental in developing the team approach to patient care, Dr. Chen is the founder and director of both the Thyroid Multidisciplinary Tumor Conference and the Head and Neck Multidisciplinary Tumor Conference. She is an established researcher, surgeon, and professor with clinical expertise in thyroid cancer and head and neck endocrine surgery.

Do you see Winship as a place where women are supported and can advance in their careers?

I am encouraged by the progress, albeit uneven, in gender equity in healthcare both nationally and at Winship. Nevertheless, there is significant more work that should and can be done, and to that end, Winship would benefit from a more diverse leadership team. Creating and sustaining a culture of equity would be vital to retaining our talented women so they can thrive, not just survive.

What was your "road to promotion" like (hopefully it wasn't rocky!)?

My "road to promotion" was more "trial and error" than a straight path with good lighting and smooth pavement! There was certainly a lack of women and in particular, women surgeons, during my training and early faculty years. It was incredibly lonely and I am determined to help change the landscape so it's less isolating and more positive.

Do you have advice for other women physicians early in their career? What do you wish you knew when you were starting out that you have learned since then?

I think these last two questions really can be combined into one: what I would tell my young self, knowing what I know now. Spend energy on activities and people who add to your happiness, self growth, and fulfillment. Be discerning. Avoid activities/people who tear you down. Stay physically active. Devote your time/energy to people for whom you are irreplaceable.

Photo of Amy Chen, MD, MPH

Surgical oncologist, Dr. Amy Chen is a pioneer in the conceptualization of the multidisciplinary approach to cancer care.

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