Women have practiced surgery since the pro- fession’s inception and have played a role in the American College of Surgeons (ACS)
since its founding. Nonetheless, women have been
and continue to be underrepresented in surgery, and,
unfortunately, there are signs that fewer women will
be entering the surgical workforce in the coming
years as the number of women medical school graduates slowly declines. In 2005, 49. 5 percent of medical
school graduates were women,* but in 2014, less
than 47. 5 percent of medical school graduates were
women.† Furthermore, only 21. 3 percent of all surgeons in the U.S. are women.‡
The reasons women have traditionally chosen to
work in health care professions other than surgery
are myriad. The personal experiences of women
surgeons of all ages, specialties, and backgrounds
are presented in a new book, Being a Woman Surgeon, edited by Preeti R. John, MB, BS, MPH, FACS,
acting director, surgical intensive care unit, Baltimore VA (Veterans Affairs) Medical Center, and
clinical assistant professor, University of Maryland
Medical Center, Baltimore. In all, 60 women surgeons describe in essays, poems, and interviews how
they have dealt with the challenges, joys, frustrations, and rewards of being a woman in surgery.
Their stories range from the humorous to the heartbreaking and make for inspiring reading.
Blazing the trails
Many women leaders of the ACS have contributed to this book, including Kathryn D. Anderson,
MD, FACS, our first woman President; Patricia J.
Numann, MD, FACS, the second woman ACS Presi-
by David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
*Association of American Medical Colleges. The changing gender composition of U.S. medical school applicants and matriculants. Analysis in
Brief. 2012; 12( 1): 1-2.
†Association of American Medical Colleges. Total graduates by U.S.
medical school and sex, 2010–2014. Available at www.aamc.org/down-
load/321532/data/factstable27.2.pdf. Accessed May 28, 2015.
‡American College of Surgeons Health Policy Research Institute.
The Surgical Workforce in the United States: Profile and recent trends.
April 2010. Available at www.acshpri.org/documents/ACSHPRI_