In celebration of Women’s History Month, KPSOM is highlighting varied women leaders and physicians working in medicine and STEM-related professions throughout the month. Each woman profiled has forged their own path to a career in medicine and/or STEM. Here, we gather more insight on their personal and professional journeys, influences, and key advice for women and girls interested in medicine and STEM-related professions. In part 6 of our series, we spotlight Anne Eacker, MD, KPSOM Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs.
What made you want to become a doctor or enter the field of medicine?
One motivation for entering primary care as a general internist is making sure mental health diagnoses are considered in patients who present with a variety of symptoms that might initially be attributed to a "physical" illness. My motivation comes from the death of my mother by suicide when I was a young girl. The delay in her diagnosis of depression greatly contributed to her death, as did inadequate mental health care in the community where we lived.
Women make up less than 30% of the workforce in STEM. What advice would you share with women and girls interested in building a career in this area?
Hopefully, women and girls interested in STEM can find women mentors in these fields in 2022, but some of my most important mentors were men who offered their assistance to me, without my requesting it. I was a 35-year-old mom to one-year-old twins when I started in academic medicine and their support and advice helped me move into positions of leadership I would never have sought on my own.
What is your personal mission as a physician or a leader in medicine?
I love this quote, and in building a school together and creating a team, I try to remember how important teamwork and social support are to all of our success.
“We are all just walking each other home.”