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AAWP Newsletter Spring 2016
The second exercise was to show gratitude since being thankful could have great benefits on our quality of life. The exercise was to write a letter to someone that has made an impact or difference in your life. This could be a colleague, parent, mentor or co-worker. Then take the time to read the letter to them. The practice of showing gratitude not only is good manners, but research reveals there are several benefits. These benefits include improving physical health, enhancing empathy, better sleep and improving self-esteem, to name a few. So take the time appreciate the people around you and let them know how important they are.
I have been practicing these two suggestions for the past two weeks (I’ll admit, I don’t write down my three good things every night, but I do most nights). We tend to naturally focus on what goes wrong in our daily life, often going over and over these things in our head. Taking the time to recognize the positive has made me feel more tranquil. I encourage you to try these suggestions, even if it’s for a short period of time.
The healthcare environment will continue to change and frustrate us. We will have to find ways to cope with the changes around us. It gives me hope that we can make these changes within ourselves and have control over what we choose to focus on. Applying simple changes such as these could make a great impact on our lives and even those around us.
Aparna Duggirala, DPM
2016 Scientific Conference Registration is Open!
Top Reasons Why You Can’t Miss AAWP’s 2016 Scientific Conference October 21-23, 2016:
For more information in participating in the conference, contact Dr. Jennifer Spector, Conference Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For speaker information, contact Dr. Erika Schwartz at email@example.com. And for exhibitor information, contact Dr. Alison Garten at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register today at www.americanwomenpodiatrists.com/conference
Don’t Forget! Membership Renewal Notices Recently went out. Renew today to continue to be a part of the advancement of women in podiatry! Also, consider contributing to our Scholarship Fund!
PRESENT Podiatry’s Practice Perfect column recently featured our own Dr. Erika Schwartz as a Guest Editor, responding as a counterpoint to a previous column written about work-life balance. Her thoughtful commentary on her personal experience is below.
A Response to Practice Perfect (487)
I'd like to offer another perspective. I had my first child almost eight years ago. At that time, I had been in private practice for over three years. My husband was a professional staffer on the Senate Banking Committee. His boss was the original author of the Family Medical Leave Act, and he believed strongly in its premise. For his personal and committee staff, he would grant up to three months paid maternity and paternity leave, and encouraged women and men to take it. Following my nine weeks of maternity leave, my husband took paternity leave. He only took five weeks. In 2008, the banking committee was pretty busy. His co-workers frequently called with work questions and would call his absence a "vacation". My husband would respond to this with his explanations of how hard it is to take care of a baby and how exhausted he was. I remember enjoying when they would make this comment, because I felt it so much more effective when a man tells another man how hard it is to care for a tiny human being full time. Upon his return, Senator Dodd told him he should not have skimped on paternity leave and that nobody would ever thank him for coming back early. This was true. People who might resent him for taking paternity leave were unlikely to appreciate why he did it until they had the opportunity to take it themselves. But I was always grateful. I believe that his taking paternity leave paved the road to the shared responsibility for our children that we continue to redefine ever since. When our son was born almost three years later, my husband was working at the Department of Defense, and paternity leave was not an option. But by then our system had taken shape. While I appreciate Dr. Shapiro's call for men to do the laundry, clean the floors and make dinner, I think Senator Dodd's approach did much more for me.
I am not going to say that there weren't sacrifices to be made on my part. The changes that I continue to make are part of our ever evolving work/life balance. I stopped taking calls at the hospital, which limited my time educating residents and doing limb salvage; both things I truly enjoyed. My husband did daycare drop off and I was on pick up, so I no longer scheduled surgery after office hours. But he had to make major changes too, and had to sacrifice most early morning meetings. If one of our kids was sick or childcare was closed, we had our own system for who would cancel their day. Scheduled surgery always took priority, because we agreed it is just not fair for that patient to be canceled. Next came meetings at the White House, or certain other meetings that I was not at high enough clearance to know much about, but I had to trust were extremely important. Sometimes we looked for the part of the day when I had more patients scheduled and split the day with him rescheduling meetings into the better times. Our decisions in this regard have never had anything to do with gender. And I know that the people I worked with thought that I was the one doing most of the childcare and schedule adjustments, much like Dr. Shapiro assumes his female colleagues are. I wasn't, but people see things from the perspective of what affects them directly. And frankly, young kids get sick a lot, and childcare arrangements are far from perfect.
As the years have gone on, I have seen a change in the male doctor whom I work for. Three years ago, the third doctor in our practice took a leave of absence that was longer than my two maternity leaves combined. This coincided with winter, and anyone familiar with the Washington DC region may know how an inch of snow can close schools. With only two doctors and two different office locations, I wanted to avoid canceling patients unless absolutely necessary. So, I started bringing my five-year-old to work if school closed and I had no other back up plan. While we both felt this was not ideal, the other doctor in my practice realized it in no way disrupted the office because I was prepared with activities to keep my daughter independently entertained for the day. I watched as this changed his outlook. His wife had been full time at home with their three children through his career, and much like Dr. Shapiro describes, he never had to worry much about childcare issues. Not only did he show his appreciation for my dedication to our practice while balancing my home life, but he also let our staff with elementary school age children know that if a school snow day would stop them from coming to work, they could bring their child with them. He acknowledged the multiple locations I was driving between to drop off and pick up my children when my husband started to travel extensively for work, and adjusted office meeting locations based on where it would be easiest for me. These were things that affected him little, but made a big difference for me. I now notice him weighing these issues when he makes office decisions, and appreciate it greatly.
We now have four doctors in our practice and, in July, will add a fifth. "Equality" is not what I would call the assumption that they should take on more work when someone reproduces. Things in life happen that are not as predictable as maternity and paternity leave. We need to make adjustments along the way that create the best work environment, while balancing life at home. Some of those adjustments are easier than you may think, and they don't have to lead to resentment or feeling guilty for having been resentful. I believe that the more we all come up with ways to support one another through these kind of life challenges, the greater the reward to our profession. I challenge my colleagues reading this to think about how you can support young women to take a leadership role in our professional organizations. It's often a path with obstacles when looked at from a traditional view, which may be maneuvered differently with a slightly changed outlook.
- Dr. Erika Schwartz
AAWP To Host Track Again This Year at APMA National
Expect a Revolution in Philadelphia with The National 2016
The APMA 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting (The National), cohosted by Region Three, will take place July 14–17 in Philadelphia. The National is the must-attend meeting for every podiatrist, and this year’s conference brings several changes to the program
The Annual Meeting Committee, the APMA member group responsible for organizing The National, has implemented several new features for the meeting this year that are sure to excite returning attendees and entice first-time participants. For the latest program and conference updates, visit www.apma.org/TheNational.
AAWP will again host a track at the APMA National, focusing on excellence in the care of the female patient. This dynamic roundtable will cover a variety of relevant medical and surgical topics and is sure to stimulate an informative discussion. Stay tuned for more details regarding AAWP events at the National!
APMA HOD Update
The AAWP Board of Directors would like to thank the AAWP members and leaders who were so helpful in this process, including Marlene Reid, Janet Simon, Laura Pickard, Brooke Brisbee, and Sylvia Virbilius. We are also grateful to the AAWP members who explained the resolution and proposition to their delegations and led to so many of those states to join as co-sponsors.
In Memoriam : Dr. Helen Mackey Widick (March 4, 1922 - November 15, 2015)
Dr. Helen Mackey Widick was born on March 4, 1922 in Monticello, IL. She graduated from Monticello High School in 1940, received an RN degree from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis in 1944, and graduated from Millikin University in Decatur, IL with a BS degree in Nursing in 1951. Dr. Widick practiced nursing for 10 years in Alton and Monticello, which included several years of teaching. Upon receiving her DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) from Scholls College of Podiatry in Chicago in 1957, she practiced Podiatric Medicine for 45 years in Urbana at the Widick Foot Clinic. She was a past board member of AAWP and one of the founding members.
American Association for Women Podiatrists, Inc.
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