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Kaiser Physicians Gather for First Annual Women in Medicine Symposium

Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center’s first ever Women in Medicine Symposium, held on October 19, 2019 at The Centre in Lakewood. From (l-r) Margaret Kurohara, MD; Elizabeth Owyang, MD; Sharon Jakus-Waldman, MD; Renee Polhamus, MD; and Lisa Heindl, MD.

Staff Report

On Saturday, October 19, 2019 – Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center hosted the ‘Women in Medicine Symposium’ at the Centre in Lakewood aimed at empowering female physicians to break barriers, enhance their skill sets, and reach their fullest potential as health care providers. 

Studies show women make excellent physicians, but they experience burnout at higher rates than their male colleagues. They also can experience sexism in a male-dominated field.

According to a survey by Stat News and Medscape, 41percent of women in medicine reported a patient making an offensive remark about their gender, compared with 6 percent of men.

Guest speakers included local government leaders, medical professionals, and TV personalities who spoke about overcoming difficult challenges in their careers.

“This event made me proud to be a woman in medicine,” said Sharon Jakus-Waldman, MD, the

Women in Medicine Champion at Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center who spear-headed this inaugural event. “Learning about important issues like gender differences in communication, psychological stressors at work, hands-on training on effective presentation skills, and how to empower women in our community, equips us to be more successful and effective leaders.”

With support from the Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center Administrative Team, this event was hosted by Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center’s Physician Support Group, which is a social network of physicians created to discuss and explore topics of relevance to improve their daily work environment and work/life balance. The group also creates mentoring opportunities for physicians interested in pursuing leadership, administrative, or committee work.