September is Women in Medicine Month. So how are leaders like Lindsay K. Botsford, MD, impacting medicine within organized medicine and within their practice settings? Here's what this TMA Women Physicians Section (WPS) member has to say.
Lindsay K. Botsford, MD
Harris County Medical Society
TMA WPS, AMA-WPS Associate
What have you gained from your leadership experience within TMA and/or other organizations?
I think the exposure to different perspectives has made me a better physician, and a more empathetic leader. There tend to be ways to find solutions to problems that are more nuanced than just meeting in the middle. From a practical perspective, it has helped me stay up to date with health care policy, clinical guidelines, and crucial advocacy priorities. I've also made some trusted relationships with colleagues across the state.
What leadership skills do you think are most important for women physicians, and how can they develop them?
There is sometimes a narrative that women can succeed through acting more like men (e.g. be more confident, apply for a position before you are fully qualified). I think women can stand out by leveraging skills such as humility, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, creativity, and integrity.
Do you think there are particular benefits to women physicians serving in organizational leadership roles?
Women need role models in leadership positions in organizations. This can help women early in their career see a path for them, but it also helps ensure that decisions and policies take into account the needs of women in the organization. Women in leadership have a positive impact on workplace policies and can help with addressing important inequities such as the wage gap and promoting diversity.
How do you advocate for change around ideas that are new or unpopular?
Persistence and subtle advocacy have been essential tactics. Change rarely comes from a single conversation or impassioned plea when the group is not ready for change. But being patient, empathetic to those with differing opinions, and waiting for a window to press harder can lead to long-term results.
How can women best support other women in medicine in their organizations?
We can promote women around us to positions of power. In times when our plates feel full, instead of declining opportunities, we can name our fellow colleagues in our place.
What strategies have you encountered or utilized to successfully promote inclusion in your practice or professional organization?
It is important to take steps to eliminate bias in candidate selection when you are interviewing people for positions. Adopting interview strategies that stress competencies and reduce our own biases can lead to hiring more diverse, and highly competent, employees. As women get in positions of power, we can encourage these practices in our organizations or workplaces.