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Meet Our Partners Q&A: Women In Medicine

While medicine has traditionally been a male-dominated field, women currently make up over half of all medical school students and the complexion of the profession is changing rapidly. In recognition of Women's History Month, we recently sat down with the women who lead our clinical teams to discuss what brought them to medicine, their specialties, their unique experiences and more. 

What made you want to become a physician?

Ling Bei, MD: My mother developed an eye problem and I saw how it affected her life - not only how she couldn’t see, but how it affected her self-confidence and her identity.  It made me want to help others not only with medical issues, but to restore themselves to a more positive outlook.  

Jessica Boeckmann, MD: When I was 16, I was diagnosed with a unique medical condition that took doctors several years to figure out, so I was exposed to the medical field earlier than most. When I went to college, being a physician was always at the back of my mind and I gravitated towards the pre-med classes. It was my junior year that I decided to go to medical school. I’ve never regretted that decision.

Heidrun Gollogly, MD:  After I spent some time working with at a specialty surgical center that my uncle runs in Cambodia, I became interested in doing surgery. I was fascinated by how  expressive people’s eyes were, which made me interested in ophthalmology.

Morgan Renner, MD: It was a combination of things. I always enjoyed learning about human biology/psychology and wanted a profession that provided a meaningful service to others and could make a difference in their day to day lives.

Talk a little bit about your specialty and what you find most fascinating.

Ling Bei, MD: Eyes are always challenging.  There are so many tiny little changes that can make a huge positive or negative difference in someone's vision.  It's not just their ability to read letters on a chart on the wall; it takes into account an individual's ability to process vision, his/her personality, and tasks.  It really is centered on a patient's daily life. 

Jessica Boeckmann, MD: What I find most interesting about being a cataract surgeon is that everyone has specific visual requirements after cataract surgery. The most rewarding and challenging part of my job is being able to achieve those unique objectives and improve my patients’ quality of life.

Heidrun Gollogly, MD:  It’s rewarding how one can dramatically improve a person's activities of daily living by performing cataract surgery.

Morgan Renner, MD: While we know the intraocular pressure plays a major role in the development of glaucoma and altering the pressure is the basis of our therapies for glaucoma, we actually don’t fully understand how or why someone develops glaucoma. I  feel like we are on the verge of making major discoveries that will change the way we treat glaucoma, which makes it an especially exciting time to be involved in this field.

What developments in your field are you most excited about?

Ling Bei, MD: So much in glaucoma, I feel there's always more to learn, New surgical and less invasive technologies are coming down the pipeline that will drive treatment away from eye drops. 

Jessica Boeckmann, MD: There’s a new trifocal lense that’s just become FDA-approved in the United States. In Europe, these lenses have been out 3-5 years but we're just getting them. So far, I’ve implanted these lenses in 15 eyes and the results have been just incredible, and with minimal side effects. 

Heidrun Gollogly, MD:  There are amazing advances in the works for glaucoma management. There are new and improved microsurgical techniques that will transform we manage glaucoma and allow us to control it earlier.