Women & Medicine
Oct 29, 2018
Greenslopes Private Hospital has hosted the inaugural “Ikigai: Women and Medicine Symposium” – a one day event focusing on career progression, wellbeing, gender and medicine, leadership and influence.
The program was organised by the hospital’s new Director of Medical Services, Dr Mellissa Naidoo. It drew on the Japanese concept of Ikigai (reason for being) – where work family, passion and talents are all interrelated in bringing joy, fulfilment and balance to daily life.
“Finding the sweet spot where your passion and talents intersect with your profession and vocation can be challenging with the pressures of modern medical practice. For many female doctors this is made even harder by having to overcome unconscious bias, structural barriers and competing demands of home life,” said Dr Naidoo.
Dr Naidoo said it was fantastic to welcome approximately 100 women to the event on 20 October, ranging from medical students to retirees from Queensland and interstate.
Dr Naidoo attended the prestigious Harvard Women Executives in Healthcare program in Boston last year, where in addition to developing themselves, participants from all over the world were challenged to also think about how they could provide opportunities and support development for other women.
“I’m often asked for advice on career development and wanted to provide a forum for my female colleagues to learn tools & strategies to expand their influence and progress their careers, as well as network with other like-minded medical women.”
Guest speakers at the Greenslopes Private Hospital symposium included Walkley award-winning journalist Catherine Fox and media personality and branding expert Suzie Lightfoot, as well as esteemed female medical specialists working in general practice, doctors health, emergency medicine, geriatric medicine, fertility, medicolegal, medical career planning, digital health, and endocrinology.
More than 50 per cent of all medical graduates are women but Dr Naidoo said that figure dropped significantly when it came to the number of females in vocational training, working as consultants and occupying leadership positions.
“This is a conversation that increasingly needs to be had in medicine. We work in a health industry which is largely female due to nursing and allied health professionals, which does tend to mask some of the female underrepresentation in the area of medicine.”
Dr Naidoo is a strong advocate for diversity in medical leadership,
“I believe to really deliver true patient-centred care we need to be representing the diverse interests of our patient community and our workforces. To do that effectively our leadership teams need to be diverse as well,” she said.
“I’m very proud to be part of a strong all-female executive team at Greenslopes. While gender diversity is an increasing area of focus for organisations, we also need to consider how we can be more inclusive of those with disabilities, indigenous backgrounds and those from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.”
Photo courtesy of Scaff and Co.