Suzanne Harrison: She’s Leading Women in Medicine

September 11 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Just What the Doctor Ordered

I just came up with a brilliant idea. I’ll let you in on it, but you have to promise not to steal it. Here it is: Tinder for doctors. Think about it this way: It would be an app that allows you to swipe right on available medical professionals in your area, obviously, without all the romantic hubbub of a dating app. I think this would be an invaluable resource, especially given that, over the years, I’ve gone through as many doctors as lipstick colors, and dang it if it isn’t tough to find one who really works for me. Maybe it’s because I’m still waiting for some version of Dr. Doug Ross, aka George Clooney from my favorite medical drama, ER. But ladies, when you finally find a doctor who meets your criteria, show your gratitude and recommend him or her to your friends.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: $20,000 Less

In yet another instance of women getting cheated vis-à-vis the pay gap, a new study found that, on average, female physicians at some of the country’s most prominent medical schools earn about $20,000 less a year, compared with their male counterparts. And the inequality doesn’t stop there. When some female physicians, including several from the Mayo Clinic, analyzed how male and female doctors are introduced at professional conferences and the like, they noticed a startling pattern. When men introduce physicians, residents and researchers, they often introduce other men as “doctor,” while female presenters are more likely to be introduced by their first names, with men using the title “doctor” in less than half of female physicians’ introductions.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Dr. Suzanne Harrison, President of the American Medical Women's Association

Today’s Woman to Watch, Dr. Suzanne Harrison, is one diligent lady doing her part to advocate for women in white coats. She’s the newly appointed president of the American Medical Women’s Association, or AMWA, which works to advance women in medicine and improve women’s health. She’s also a family-medicine practitioner and a professor and education director of clinical programs at the Florida State University College of Medicine. Whew, talk about some serious cred!

In her educator role, Suzanne leads the way by developing, implementing and evaluating family-medicine curriculum for FSU medical students, in addition to regularly lecturing on a variety of medical issues and teaching several classes at the university’s Clinical Learning Center. Suzanne is such an involved and innovative teacher, in fact, that she was recently recognized by her peers as a Senior Faculty Educator, honored for her “outstanding teaching and mentoring across all four years of medical education and graduate medical education.”

From childhood, Suzanne knew she wanted to go into the medical profession, and her dedication to helping people has been relentless. In her home of Tallahassee, Florida, she serves on the Leon County Domestic Violence Fatality Review team and developed a free clinic at the town’s Refuge House shelter for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. On the national scene, Suzanne was also the founding chair of AMWA’s Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans.

And as the president of AMWA, Suzanne continues the group’s mission set way back in 1915, when it became the first national organization of women physicians.

We applaud Suzanne and every other woman in the medical field working to help society progress toward a healthier state. After all, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!


Dr. Suzanne Harrison would surely agree with the first woman to become a practicing physician in the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell, who said:

“For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

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