Celebrating Women in Medicine Month with Medical Student Junzi Shi

September 14, 2012

September is Women In Medicine Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the growing number of women physicians within the profession.

To help celebrate, the Med Plus Advantage team caught up with one of the future faces of women in medicine, med student and Take a Trip with Timmy winner, Junzi Shi, to get her perspective and discuss her upcoming global health trip to Ecuador. Junzi is a second year medical student at the University of Cincinnati.

View Junzi's Winning VideoSeptember is Women in Medicine Month, and women now represent nearly one-half of the medical school population. How do you see this shift in demographics in the medical schools affecting the future of medicine, if at all differently?

Old barriers that hindered women from entering the field of medicine are breaking down, and I think it’s wonderful that there is more equal opportunity. This shift in demographics will bring more open-mindedness as well as critical reflection on how medicine is practiced today. Change and progress in this manner will only promote greater efficiency and better patient safety, so I am very optimistic about this trend.

Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give young girls coming up behind you who want to pursue a career in medicine?

The best way to know if you want to do something is to do it. I highly recommend spending a day in someone’s shoes and see how you feel. Do what you are really interested in, and remember it is estimated that 65% of jobs in the future haven’t been invented yet.

Is anyone else in your family currently in the medical field or planning to enter the medical field?

My mom is a nurse and has worked for more than 25 years in the field.

Are there any women in medicine, past or present, who inspired or influenced you to pursue a career in medicine? If so, are you able to share how they inspired you?

Many women have inspired me, including my mother, by how hard they work and by their dedication to their jobs. When we immigrated to America, my mom had to learn English and pass the licensing test to become a registered nurse. She spent long days working in a Chinese restaurant and nights studying. On weekends, she took me to the Cleveland Public Library, and we would spend more than 8 hours a day reading and learning. Funny, all I recall from this period of my life is the feeling of joy from discovering wonderful stories and the burning disappointment when we had to leave. Since then I’ve met women along every step of the way who have astounded me with their energy and tenacity. I remember thinking, “How did you do that?!” with regards to taking the MCAT and entering medical school. Then it was my turn, and somehow I did those things too.

What drew you to the Take a Trip with Timmy contest?

The contest was a great opportunity for students to continue doing international philanthropy work! I really enjoyed doing projects in college, but I was worried that I would not be able resume after entering medical school due to the lack of time and financial resources. However, Take a Trip with Timmy was a wonderful discovery because the contest is generous enough to sponsor a trip and also willing to work around my schedule to make it happen.

What are you looking forward to most about your upcoming Timmy Trip?

I am looking forward to working with local physicians and medical staff as well as exploring the infrastructure of medicine in a developing context, i.e., in the Amazonian basin of Ecuador.

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Read more about the journeys from the other Timmy Trip winners, Andrew and Jenna, and stay tuned for more from Junzi as she embarks in December.

And now, we turn our questions to you—help celebrate by telling us how women in the medical field have inspired or influenced you? You can follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WomenInMedicine.

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