Women Surgeons Committee (WSC)

As many are aware, medical school graduates have been balanced between the sexes for the past 20 years but women remain an underrepresented minority in the surgical specialties. While women comprise between 5-21% of our respective subspecialties, residency demographics suggest an increasing number of women entering these fields.

Due to reduced rates of promoting women to leadership roles, this rising generation of women suffer from a paucity of senior women surgical leaders to provide the guidance, sponsorship and mentorship required for success in academic medicine. In addition, female surgeons also face many unique challenges that would benefit from enhanced opportunities for networking, mentoring, and career development.

To help support women in their careers, we have established a Women Surgeons Committee, inclusive of the departments of Surgery, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology and Orthopedics. This committee will promote women and diversity, recognize their unique role as surgeons and mothers, establish cross-specialty mentorship opportunities, and create a community for backing and promotion. 


Women Surgeons Executive Committee

Past Chairs

Advocacy: Advocating for support for the needs specific to women surgeons (increased burnout among female surgeons, lactation rooms, pump slots in clinic, daycare and emergency backup childcare support, etc). There will also be the opportunity to work with the Medicine and Pediatric Women's committees to have a broader reach and voice.


Dana Suskind, MD

Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics


Sarah Shubeck, MD

Assistant Professor of General Surgery

Professional Development/Events: Design and implement a series of events focusing on early, mid and late career development including topics such as coping with intraoperative complications/mortality, becoming a surgeon-leader, navigating surgical academia, and promoting your image as an academic surgeon. 


Kathryn Rowland, MD

Assistant Professor of Pediatric Surgery

Newsletter and Website: Publish and update twice a year highlighting the accomplishments of women surgeons and work of the committee.  


Sara S. Wallace, MD

Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine

Nominations:  Identify and promote nominations of qualified women for leadership roles, awards, and career opportunities (within the University, locally, and nationally).  Develop and track metrics to assure participation by women in Departmental activities.


Marion Henry, MD

Professor of Pediatric Surgery

Research:  Perform research on the potential gaps identified and initiatives to help assess their efficacy and contribute to the broader knowledge on women's initiatives within medicine.


Allison Ostdiek, DVM, PhD, DACLAM

Director of Large Animal Clinical Services, Assistant Professor of Surgery

Medical Student:  Serve as the outreach mechanism for female Pritzker students interested in surgical careers, provide information, mentors and career guidance.  Assist with social media outreach.


Mary Qiu, MD

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science

Membership:  Tracks female faculty and trainees, annual poll to assess health and wellbeing of female faculty and trainees.  


Kyra Nicholson, MD

General Surgery Resident PGY-2R



Connect with WSC!

Instagram: @ucmcwomensurgeons 

Twitter: @UCMCWomenSurg

One of the things we’d love to start doing is to join in on an initiative of the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) Instagram account - #womenoperatingwednesday

Every Wednesday the AWS account features a photo of an all-female or majority-female team at work in the operating room, clinics, or trauma bay.

Next time you find yourself operating with some of your fellow female surgeons, snap a pic (HIPAA compliant please!) and send to Lea Hoefer (Instagram) and/or Ann Polcari (Twitter) to be featured as our next #womenoperatingwednesday. Feel free to send us any other news, publications, photos, or accomplishments you would like us to feature on the social media pages as well.