In the 1990s, there was a popular TV show based in the 19th century called Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Jane Seymour’s character leaves the East Coast in search of adventure and settles in the Old West, where—surprise, surprise!—she’s not necessarily taken seriously when setting up her medical practice. But there’s one particularly stinging quote I remember from Dr. Quinn that’s stuck with me to this day. She declared, “I’m not a lady; I’m a doctor.” It’s incredibly discouraging that women still must remind others of our worth, our experience and our smarts, but ladies, don’t be afraid to. You’ve earned the right to be valued rather than dismissed.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: $155 Billion
Since the fictional times of Dr. Quinn, there are now approximately a zillion positions in which women can make our mark in the medical field. In fact, have you ever thought about the devices used when at the doctor’s office? From innovative software to diagnostic equipment and even state-of-the-art robotics, the medical-device industry is on the cutting edge of science. This market is massive in the United States, the largest in the world, and is only continuing to grow. According to industry experts, it is currently valued at about $148 billion and is forecasted to grow to a $155 billion industry this year.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Tiffany Wilson, Executive Director of the Global Center for Medical Innovation
Today, we’re talking about women who are lighting the world of medicine on fire with their revolutionary ideas and groundbreaking approaches to a discipline that has existed for thousands of years and impacts humanity every dang second of every day. One such medical pioneer is Tiffany Wilson. She’s the executive director of the Global Center for Medical Innovation, a nonprofit medical-device innovation center in Atlanta.
Widely recognized as the world leader in driving efficient medical-product innovation, the center aims to commercialize such ingenious products and devices so medical professionals can deliver improved health care to patients everywhere. Tiffany and her team have supported more than 70 medical-technology innovations from the initial idea process, through testing and ultimately to commercialization. That means from designing to prototyping to clinical trials, dozens of innovations have reached patients thanks to Tiffany and the center.
There’s a reason why Tiffany being at the helm of medical innovation is a seriously exciting thing. She has a knack for making change happen. In addition to her extremely demanding day job, she’s also a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, through which she’s fostering technological advances where we need them most: our health.
Let’s be real here. If you or a loved one were sick, would you rather choose a hospital with Dr. Quinn-era technology or something a little more advanced? How about a lot more advanced? GCMI has worked with more than 50 startups and innovators to bring about some life-changing and life-saving products. One such device is the CardioMEMS HF System, the first and only FDA-approved heart-failure monitoring system that’s been proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions for heart failure and improve the quality of life for certain patients. St. Jude Medical acquired this revolutionary medical gadget for a cool $455 million.
Tiffany’s advice for women considering getting involved in the medical-device field starts with interest. If your passion is science or math-driven, think about pursuing engineering. If you lean toward the business side of the spectrum, Tiffany suggests focusing on funding medical innovations. Women interested in art can land a position in medical illustrating. The sky’s the limit when it comes to jobs in medical innovation.
At a recent conference for women in technology, Tiffany noted it takes a diverse and inclusive village to facilitate advancements. We’re so glad she’s paving the way for other women to take on leadership positions in the medical-device industry.
QUITE THE QUOTE
With Tiffany Wilson’s important work in mind, today’s quote comes from poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. He said:
“Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”
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.