Testimonials from WDS Members
Ginat W. Mirowski, DMD, MD
I am passionate about WDS for many reasons, but especially because WDS has been there for me whenever I have been at a career crossroads. The first time, I wasn’t even aware I was at a crossroads. As a senior resident in San Francisco, I decided, on a whim, to attend the WDS retreat in Sonoma, knowing little about the organization and having no idea what to expect. The retreat was eye-opening and amazing––and I didn’t even have a spa treatment or massage! The WDS members I met were happy, overworked and inspiring.
At the time, I was confused. In both dental and medical school at Harvard, we were repeatedly told we would be leaders in our fields. Then, in my residency, outstanding faculty members like Ilona Frieden, Tim Berger and Dick Odom made me want to pursue a career like theirs. But I had started my residency three months pregnant and my husband Steve and I were planning to have a second child soon. Meanwhile, Steve was on track to be an academician too, combining pulmonary medicine with public and occupational health. The complications seemed daunting, and I felt resigned to take a part-time clinical practice job, abandoning my dream of specializing in mucosal dermatology.
At the retreat, Wilma Bergfeld shared details of her home life with her husband, like her, a leading physician. Funny and honest about the struggles, she gave sage advice about recruiting and managing nannies and delegating work to a housekeeper. Others shared keys to the quest for balance too, and on my way back to San Francisco my mind was racing with the possibility of going into academics after all.
Soon thereafter, I accepted a faculty position at Indiana University. Under the guidance of Toni Hood and her husband, Evan Farmer, I matured as a person who could juggle career and family, and I loved my academic life. But when Toni and Evan moved to Virginia, the supporting environment was gone. I seriously considered other options, but at IU I had tenure and was offered an endowed chair to stay. The following year, however, six faculty members––including all the other women––left.
What to do? Attend another retreat, what else? In Toronto I talked to a number of women who were clinicians and leaders in their medical and local communities. Aha! I realized I would shift my focus. Sacrificing tenure, I stayed in Indiana and became an independent contractor. Today, I am affiliated both with a private practice and I continue my academic work at the dental school and the medical school. Through my involvement in WDS, I discovered that I didn’t have to choose between “town” and “gown.” I could choose both!
Through WDS, I have worked on numerous committees and have been on the Board. I have attended leadership workshops and learned so much!!! I can truly say that I have never been happier in my life. I have a wonderfully supportive husband and two beautiful, active boys, and I am able share my understanding of mucosal dermatology with others at the local, national and international level. Balancing it all is a challenge, but a welcome one. The camaraderie of WDS and the tangible impact the organization has made on my life are immeasurable. Retreats may get their name from their reflective, contemplative nature, but WDS retreats have helped me move my life forward in new, exciting and fulfilling directions.
Neil S. Sadick, MD, FACP
The Women’s Dermatologic Society is an organization that represents the very best aspects of dermatology. In terms of networking, public service and career development opportunities, there is no other organization in dermatology that meets those needs. Making our patients and the public healthier and happier, and most importantly, advancing the careers of members of our esteemed organization is what the WDS does.
Having served in various capacities with the WDS on several membership boards and leadership positions over the past 10 years, I have come to understand that the organization not only represents women, but represents men as well. It really is a non-gender organization that benefits all. The relationships that I have fostered in my working with the organization over the past decade, have made me a better doctor, a better person, a better leader in my practice, and allows me to have a better understanding of how important it is to serve our patients and serve the public in capacities that I never thought were possible before.
Michelle Babb-Tarbox, MD
My first introduction to the Women's Dermatologic Society was during the first year of my residency. I consider it one of the great good fortunes of my life that I had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Wilma Bergfeld. She generously introduced me to the friendship, fellowship, and fun of the WDS through my first WDS luncheon at the AAD.
I felt so welcomed at that first of many WDS functions as I met several of the wonderful members of our beloved society. I recall with fondness the sense of sisterhood that was palpable in the ballroom as the members celebrated and supported each other. I realized immediately that this was a group of people with the goal of moving forward together and lifting each other up along the way. This has truly been my experience with the WDS, which for me is like a second family of collegues, friends, and sisters, with the goal of elevating each member to the height of their individual potential.
I was honored during my second year of dermatology residency to receive a WDS grant to study dermoscopy with Dr. Scott Menzies. This opportunity helped shape my career and allowed me the great privilege of learning from one of the foremost authorities in his field. I now use the skills I obtained during my WDS mentorship experience every day in my practice and I teach what I have learned to my residents and medical students. Through the WDS, I also had the opportunity to attend and present at the WDS companion meeting in Berlin for the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology, which was an excellent experience and allowed me my first opportunity to present at an international meeting. As I have progressed through my career, I have relished, returned, and relied on the support of my friends and colleagues in the WDS. It was my great privilege to attend the first WDS Legacy celebration in honor of Dr. Wilma Berfgeld. The atmosphere of that beautiful evening was one of celebration, sisterhood, and love. I felt so blessed to be a part of this event and was so thrilled to be there with my friend, role model, and mentor.
It has been an honor to be a part of this WDS family, and I look forward to a bright future with my friends, sisters, and colleagues.