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Surgery: Saying so long to the old boys' club

  • Season: Season 3
  • Posted On:

A woman's place is in the operating room.

Women outnumber men in American medical schools, but in the operating room it's still an Old Boys' Club. Surgery remains a bastion of male privilege, prerogative, and power in American healthcare. But that is changing. On today's program, Seán talks with three surgeons who understand firsthand the challenges faced by the women who routinely suffer insults and aggressions in an antiquated system.


Julie Ann Sosa, M.D., MA, FACS, FSSO

Chair, Department of Surgery

Leon Goldman, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Surgery

Professor, Department of Medicine

Affiliated faculty, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies

University of California, San Francisco


World Journal of Surgery

Société Internationale de Chirurgie

Dr. Sosa on TwitterMastodon


Shenia Theodore, M.D.

Trauma & Acute Care Surgeon

Boston Medical Center

Boston University School of Medicine

Dr. Theodore on Twitter


M Cristy Smith, M.D., FACS

Cardiothoracic & Heart Transplant Surgeon

Surgical Director, Heart Transplant/Mechanical Circulatory Support

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center

Spokane, Wash.

Dr. Smith on LinkedIn


The episode includes this piece by Brooklyn- and Berkshire mountains-based poet, Alexandra Beers, MS Ed., MFA:


for Seán Collins

They open your heart the way dentists open your mouth, as if they can just peek inside, and then they start with the loud drills and suction and all manner of vocabulary is tossed about and picking and pulling until they have cleaned you up, and afterward you are supposed to just spit and go on living the way you did, your teeth or your chest or your whole self sore for a bit, and you avoid hard candies and proceed with caution. Then you almost forget and you just bite and swallow and breathe easily again. Only if you are alive, really alive to this you are never the same. You are deeply in love with the people who fixed you and you want to stay in their care forever. Yet you must rise, rise each day to the blessing of blue true nothing of all knowingness that they bestowed on you as they sewed you up with the twine of science and grace and sent you out to join the rest of us. Be brave, and share.

—Alexandra Beers


  • Julie Sosa M.D.
  • Sheina Theodore M.D.
  • Cristy Smith M.D.
  • Seán Collins



  • surgery
  • effecting change
  • sexism
  • old boys' club
  • DEI
  • women surgeons
  • inclusion
  • women in surgery
  • equity
  • diversity