The New Yorker cover inspires looks at women surgeons

Clockwise from the bottom, Drs. Marie-Eve LeBel, Muriel Brackstone, Leslie Scott and Eman Khayat (resident), all of St. Joseph’s Health Care.

Female surgeons and residents from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London gathered recently in operating rooms across the city to add their voices to a global rallying cry for women surgeons. They did so by taking a photo and sharing it for the world to see.

On April 3, The New Yorker cover depicted an illustration of four female surgeons peering down below an operating light. Since then, female surgeons around the globe have been replicating the magazine cover and sharing their photos on social media using the hashtag #ILookLikeASurgeon. The hope is to shed light on the growing number of women entering this once male-dominated profession.

Dr. Audra Duncan said it was important to her to be involved.

“I showed my daughter a photo of the packed audience when I delivered a podium presentation at the Society for Vascular Surgery last year,” Duncan said. “She said, ‘Where are the girls?’ Well, here we are.”

The photos represent the pride these women take in the work that they do for patients in London.

Rena Panchyshyn // Special to Western NewsClockwise from bottom, Drs. Audra Duncan, Debra Bartley, Megan Cashin, Oonagh Scallan, Robin Ralph-Edwards (General Surgery resident), Moska Hamidi (General Surgery resident), Tanya Kuper (General Surgery resident), Jessica Coffey (General Surgery resident), Sarah Jones, Andrean Butter, Erin Donohoe (Orthopaedic Surgery resident) and Supriya Singh (Orthopaedic Surgery resident), all of Victoria Hospital.

The New Yorker cover and our photos have made such an impact – they show how far medicine and surgery have come,” said Dr. Julie Ann Van Koughnett. “It is so important for students and our patients to see the various faces of surgeons, including ours. I feel such pride in all our residents, but especially the female residents for being strong, empathetic and technically excellent surgeons and role models.”

At Schulich, there are currently 35 female residents of 92 in the Department of Surgery – that makes up almost 40 per cent of the cohort.

“For me it was important to be part of the photo to showcase our profession, to break stereotypes and, most importantly, to support each other and our residents and fellows,” said Dr. Debra Bartley.

Crystal Mackay // Special to Western NewsClockwise from the bottom, Drs. Elaine Tang (resident), Nathalie Carey (resident), Tina Mele, Jennifer Koichopolos (resident), Esther Lau (resident), Sarah Knowles (resident), Julie Ann Van Koughnett and Nathalie Sela (resident), all of University Hospital.