Essential Wisdom: Inspiring Future Female Physicians

Jennifer Berumen, MD - Abdominal Transplantation Surgery

January 07, 2020 Carrie Dubeau Season 1 Episode 7
Essential Wisdom: Inspiring Future Female Physicians
Jennifer Berumen, MD - Abdominal Transplantation Surgery
Show Notes Transcript

Help me welcome Dr. Jennifer Berumen! Dr. Berumen is a surgeon who practices Abdominal Transplantation including liver, kidney, and pancreas transplantation as well as hepatobiliary surgery at University of California San Diego, Jacobs Medical Center. She earned her medical degree from Tulane University, and attended residency training at UC San Diego. She went on to complete her fellowship training in Abdominal Transplantation at Stanford University, with a focus on pediatric liver and kidney transplantation before returning to UCSD on faculty. Her clinical and research interests include pediatric transplantation and clinical research, medical student and resident education, enjoying San Diego, and traveling. 

spk_0:   0:05
welcome to essential wisdom. Inspiring future female physicians. A podcast for engaging and informing the next generation of women in medicine. My name is carried a bow. I'm 1/4 year medical student at the Frank H. Netter, MD. School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Essential Wisdom is a podcast for discussing the joys and the challenges off being a woman in medicine through the sharing of stories and advice by women who mentor us. Take a seat with me at the desk of the mentors, come along tow, walk the holes of the hospitals to experience residency and life as a physician. Personally, as we get to know these phenomenal physicians and scientists. Help me welcome Dr Jennifer Berman. Dr. Berman is a surgeon who practices abdominal transplantation, including liver, kidney and pancreas transplant, as well as her patio Billy. Every surgery at University of California, San Diego, Jacob's Medical Center. She earned her medical degree from Tulane University and attended residency training at UC San Diego. She went on to complete her fellowship, training and abdominal transplantation at Stanford University with a focus on pediatric liver and kidney transplantation before returning to UCSD on faculty. Her clinical and research interests include pediatric transplantation and clinical research, medical, student and resident education. Enjoying San Diego and traveling Dr Broom unwelcome to essential wisdom. Tell us

spk_1:   1:45
about your path to becoming a female physician. I got into medicine when I was in high school. Growing up, my dad was a doctor, and so they got me kind of interested in learning more about it. I was first interest in becoming a veterinarian, and then I realized that I really like people better than animals. Although I still and I worked my way through biomedical engineering in college and as an engineering student, special biomedical engineering portion of things get more interesting the medical side of things and got really interested in stem cell research. Did some stem cell research with my thesis is a undergraduate that got me really just a transplant kidney transplant in particular at that time. So I did some research with transplant in medical school as well, and then got really transparent. So my focus and medicine has been always interested in medicine. But then I really got enamored with transplant. That's really one of the big reasons that I carried on through with you when you were looking at person science as a field. Did you ever think medicine? What's gonna be for you when you're like Michael? I definitely thought so. It definitely would have told you that I was premed and working towards that. Yeah, versus other things. But I can say that not everybody in life encourages you to do that because it's really a difficult career. Sometimes in your lifestyle's not always, Mento put you first. And so a lot of people my dad's friends were doctors and things that don't do it. But I really make sure that I understood what I was getting into. Shattered shattered themselves. More about it. I still wanted to do it. Yeah. Did you know any women doctors when you were outside? No, I don't think it did. My dad had one partner who was a woman, but she started working with him later, so I didn't really know her that well. My role models were men. What did your dad practice over? Do it. Interesting. See, we're kind of exposed to medicine from a young age. Yeah, he was on call a lot when I was first growing up. His uncle one in every three nights. So once really gone a lot, not around a lot. So I understood like it's a demanding your time frame, but not the stuff you did was really interesting. His patients loved him. We would run into them at dinner and be like your dad. But think about what my dad just done with them that day. But those patients left him, and I think his influence is also a big part of why I did it well, So did you have any female mentors in the scientists throughout the

spk_0:   4:16
When I was an

spk_1:   4:16
undergrad, I had a PhD, female mentors who were my research thesis advisors, professors in college. They were really actually amazing people. Didn't really need stuff really cool. Biomedical research that's relevant medicine. But they were have medical doctors. It took a while before actually really had medical doctor medical doctor role models. Yeah, yeah, it's something that just an interesting question because it seems like women wind up finding Nemo mentors one throughout, like a graduate level or in college, but not so much when you're in high school or some kind of time before I No, I didn't. So I guess We kind of have a good background on why you wanted choosing transplant when you first entered medical school without an interests like immediately for you. When I first did, I already knew I was interested because of the undergraduate experience. And I like surgery to watch a bunch of surgeries and a school with my dad did a little bit under God, too. I like hands on things like being involved in really getting into things and seeing the inside and out. And actually, you know it's before your it's a while before you really figure out that surgery actually fixes things right away. It makes a big difference over other things, but one of my bigger interests. So now that you have chosen transplant, what is probably the greatest reward that you have? They had a transplant, being a woman and transplant. It is sometimes difficult, but I think you know, we get to be a role model for some people. We get to do some amazing operations. You see the immediate effects on your patients, and you get to see the long term. It really changes their life. It's a really fun operation to do, like liver and kidney transplants are really fun. I get to do pediatric transplant also, and that's really rewarding because his little kids like you, you know, they're pretty amazing to begin with there on dialysis and they're like, two or three years old and they're okay and then they have their transmitter and they're even better. And so it's really a fun thing to work. Can you talk a little bit about how you want it, how you wound up getting into the pediatric side of things? I would say I never thought I would do it And then when I was applying for fellowships, that interview at Stanford and they're really heavy on paediatrics, and then I kind of started thinking about it more, realized it would be pretty interesting and did a lot during my training and got really into it. Then just it's operating a pediatric Patients is very different than operating on the Dole patients. Like the anatomy's perfect. The planes use beautiful. Everything is hot, more straightforward in some regards, and so it's just a really fun operation to do and when it goes with well, everyone's really happy because the pediatricians, they're so into their patients, and they're so intense about taking care of them that when things go well, they're so excited. So you feel like a little bit of a hero sometimes, But it's a pretty cool thing to be involved. How much Piatra steed you? Now it's about 15. I think what it could be. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Yeah, So what's the experience? Like being a woman in transplant specifically transplant is well, Surgery, in general is a male dominated field. Still, a little old school transplant is even more old school. But I think it's a small field, so you kind of know a lot of people. And they're a lot of women who worked their way up to higher up in the field, and they're well respected. So at least there's a lot of happen to be a respected female transplant surgeon. Sometimes the medicine people like it better, because women sometimes they're easier to talk to, so it's sometimes as an advantage. But it's still you still experience in France, the male dominated world, where they're choosing men to do other things, things like that. But it overall, it's not a huge problem, most the time, but everyone so you might notice that there's some bias, but it's still there's still a lot of people to be inspired by. Transmits agree, absolutely men and women. But yeah, a minute. I feel like men and women and everything just nice when you're looking up in the ranks for my perspective, being a student, you know when you see somebody that's similar to what you would aspire to be, too. Yeah, when I was a resident, you didn't hear a lot of like, Oh, this female dog, Miss female surgeon Whatever is a German, she's so wonderful, and it's changing a little bit more. We're hearing more like this, Persons in charge said. A great certain, They're good person. They're great role model. So you hear a lot more about that now that used to That's kind of nice to no that that's happening and that there is a pathway to get into that point in your life. Yeah. Did you have any specific role models you looked up to when you were planning your career? Maybe the transplant surgeons that I worked at the medical school in the transplant surgeon at UCSD Come on the ones I worked with fellowship. So there are a lot of people. You learn things to do and you learn things not to do to try and take with good for those good things to do. Absolutely. So we kind of touched on this. But do you think that they're actually any barriers that you face in your field? Just being a woman? There are things that have been released. They're happening with their different women approach things. In a war women approaching was in a more mild fashion, where they tend to apply for things that maybe they only think they could get. Men tend to just go for everything, and so sometimes that ends up hurting you in the people of surgery, where you may not be quite as aggressive or is confidence. I'm going for what you want and the men who do it get it. So sometimes there's that bias happening, but I think is wanted to recognize it and you work towards it and you're a good doctor, good surgeon. People are gonna recognize that you could work through those kind of issues, and recognizing those recognizing those characteristics and myself helps me prevent those things from happening. So if you are looking back at your decisions you made through college in that school, do you Do you feel like you would reflect and say, Oh, there were definitely shots I could've taken? Absolutely. Yeah, there a lot of things I didn't do because I thought maybe I wasn't qualified. Or didn't you think that I could? I don't want to push myself like that, whereas a man would have just gone for it, whether or not they deserved in her hat. And so if I didn't fly and the man did the man got it, so does this thing. So what would you tell a high school or college students? I mean, how how do you get over that? You know, you have to recognize its happening before you can get over it, and it's really easy to not realize it. But once you guys, it's happening, really making the steps to change your behavior so that you think like a man Sometimes even though it's not the best way to think. Yeah, sometimes at least, recognizing your professional quality is recognizing the good things about you, what you can be doing and recognizing that you have a lot to offer that maybe people haven't told you you have. Maybe you haven't realized about yourself, but that you can. If you really want to do something, you can work to make it happen. It seems like the key to recognizing those things would be having either, Like a really great parent who's got a better mentor. How do you think like college women should approach? Finding in maintaining mentors and college is gonna be people around like your professor's getting toe. If you see a professor, you like personality melt with yours. Well, meeting with them were frequently actually have hope you guys do in your career both. It's

spk_0:   11:42
kind of hard

spk_1:   11:42
to find someone outside of your field who you haven't met, and that's a challenge. But sometimes there are programs that will help you with that. Like pre medical programs, He might do those nights where you have doctors come and talk. Sometimes those were good ways to meet other people. If they let you shadow them or they're shadowing programs, that's a good way to kind of get into someone in medicine. And the most important thing to do if you do that kind of stuff is to show interest and ask questions. Isn't show up on time? Be engaged, not over stalker ish. Just engaged. Yeah, definitely. If you had to pick like an effective habit that you follow, is there one you do daily?

spk_0:   12:29
Okay, if there was, why take your brush my teeth? If there was one, I

spk_1:   12:36
wish I followed it. More like managing my time a little bit better. It's easy to come and sit in your office or go to work anymore, and it actually is a big difference in size. If I have a lot to do, we'll sit down and get it done. But if I don't have that much to do that, I might waste some more time. So it's more not wasting my time and actually scheduling things out. And to a point where you know I could get things done to get them. Can you talk a little bit more on the lifestyle transplant and what that's like? Live settle. Transplant is not for every way take call a lot, so we work a lot of nights and weekends, and that's just because of the nature of transplant, not because things just happened on a dime and you have jumped to the operating room. But because they don't want to schedule procurements and don't operations outside of normal, so our time because it pushes everything back. So we end up doing a lot of nights and weekends that sometimes in that being a 24 hour, 36 hours, you're awake because you're you're operating, you have clinics and you have to cover your regular business hours duties, so it could be a little bit difficult. It's very rewarding. That's a fun life to be a part of you. It's really a big team environment worked very closely with certain people. When you get to know them very well into a big team, it could be exhausting. But it's also very rewarding. And it's not for everybody, because you do have to kind of, on some level, give up other things in your life and make sure you're you might miss some dinner. Jim, I missed birthdays or things like that. You have a partner. You have to make sure the very understanding of these things are gonna happen because it can be a strain on your personal life. But really, when we get time off, try to enjoy it as much as we can and make sure we're utilizing our free time as much as we can. So it could be rough. But it's really a great career, and the rewarding parts of it usually make up for that exhausting parts of it. Yeah, what are your thoughts on the word balance? Not a thing. It's a hot topic. Yeah, exactly. It's definitely thing. It's hard to find the right balance sometimes, and it's gonna maybe very based on your week. So if I have a week, we're working every night and I'm exhausted in the next week. I'm gonna try to work less tryto come later. Toe work. Take my dog for a walk. Do things that are not work related, even if it's just like go shopping, go to a movie, go to dinner. Whatever it is, I kind of feel more like a normal person. You have to try to find the balance. You have to make sure you take vacations. It's hard to disconnect from Earth, but you have to make sure you do it so that you figure out some me time because it gets hard to only work. It's really hard to only have that balance in your life. And it's really easy because most people go into medicine or career German. It's really easy to spend your whole time working. Even as a medical student. It's easy to spend all your hours at the hospital that leave when they tell you to leave. But it's okay to leave. It's a kid. Go home and have a life outside of Madison. It's becoming more acceptable to do that. That's good advice. Yeah, absolutely. How do you How do you take the time to mentally disconnect so as translate your on call a lot? You know, when you go home, even there's a possibility that we have to come back in. There is the level of like leaving your phone alone, and that's really hard to do, because Frank all we can. But if I'm not a call, it extra is really nice to leave my phone in the car when I go to dinner or something like that to avoid checking it. Non stop, because if I have it, I'm gonna check in when I'm on call. We can do that, but when I'm on call, you at least so sometimes. No, you have several hours free until try to plan something. Just try to find something that it makes you feel a little bit normal. Yeah, that's not working all the time. And it's okay to not playing things in your uncle on the plane a lot for when your nautical whatever works out for you personally. As long as you're happy. Yes, absolutely. If you have any resource available to you, this is such a funny question. Everyone has a different kind of an answer. How would your day look different? So some people have said before they

spk_0:   16:42
wanted more time, you know, I was actually resource. You want describe? I It's gonna be

spk_1:   16:48
fine. People help me with that. I would be able to transport myself from place to place without having to walk.

spk_0:   16:58
Oh, fair enough. That's what I want. One place. The woman. I just work

spk_1:   17:04
teleportation. That's awesome. Yes, I need that. Don't be so good. Clothes like those. How do you choose to set your priorities in your life? Mainly my career or difficult question. I mean, where I call you don't really have the choice to change your priorities. work has to be your partner. Didn't take care of patients making sure they get out of life. So that's a priority. But outside of work, uh, I'm not sure. I really make the choice that I'm sure Sometimes work makes a choice for me. And then if I have time outside of work, I try to make sure setting aside personal time. Yeah. Do you think that my friends getting another house singing the house? Yeah. So in terms of, like, the greater umbrella, like running her life, I guess so. Would you choose that your top priority is primarily your career by design?

spk_0:   18:04
Yeah. Yeah. Has

spk_1:   18:05
become my career. Yeah. Yes, My other people have families. I have a boyfriend. I have a dog like those things are important to me. But it's not that you can always do when your careers as demanding as it can be. So try to take this time, uncle, make sure making those priorities and seeing my family take a vacation so that those things are falling disease. You let those things follow behind. That's easy to let work take over your home life. That's easy. Thio being a bad move in your home because you go back to work that night or something like that. You just have to remember that. Yes, you chose this, but at the same time, you can choose to kind of change your lifestyle a little bit so that you do things that you enjoy outside of work. Everyone always says that I don't feel bad for you because you chose this life style. However, I don't appreciate that because I didn't choose this life. So when I love my job, But I also think it's not figure to work all the time. So you should choose some sort of career, some sort of thing for yourselves. That you can do things that you want to see. Your family, you get out of town for a weekend. Whatever it ISS, make sure you're planning this since that you take care of yourself. So if you went back, would you do transmit again? Probably. Yeah. You love what you D'oh! Yes, 75% of awesome. And it is it is. There are times you choose. Um, we kind of talked about balance already. It's kind of usually my next question, but in terms of challenges and decisions. You have to face what was like a pivotal challenge, your face and how you navigated it. When I was a medical student I was in New Orleans to in my third year, and Hurricane Katrina hit like right after. I think August is my third year. So we and I was vice president of the student body at the time. We essentially lost all communication with everybody because the cell phone towers were out. We all kind of disappeared, and we had to work our way back to figure out where everybody waas working through, like text chains. The sex messaging worked, and eventually we get found everybody. Eventually we school to Houston. There were a lot of obstacles in getting there. We lost a lot of students, but we had to really work toe, make sure everybody like I still had a community because it was kind of hard to come and just be on your own. So we went to school at Baylor, in Houston, on you to Houston and then a couple other schools in Texas and as the with the student body really did a lot of things to kind of help bring everybody together. I got the money together to get our own student lounge in Texas, so we made our own student lounge where we could all go. At least we could see each other way had a bunch of events that we planned, and fortunately, two. Lane was very supportive for that. So it was really made that really made the transition a lot easier on everybody having this kind of support from the group of two there on. It was a really nice experience in some regard. It was terrible. I would never want to go through that again. But the good part was that really brought a lot of us together. And we didn't team building and working with you. D. Houston, make sure that everyone was happy we were there. All these things to really work through. Baylor wasn't necessary. That happy we were there because they're students, but like we're going to take away from them. But we had to do a lot again of a hand holding and working through all these issues, how it went smoothly, and I went as smoothly as it could. So that was a big challenge. Was hard to navigate, but their days. Really? Where we doing this? But that's crazy. A lot of work and a lot of individual work made it happen. OK, Colin Rea there nine months and then you went back and moved back to New York Clinical time for another year. Wow, for fourth. That's crazy. It was actress. Wow. So if you have a piece of advice for someone preparing from med school, what would you tell them? Make sure you have other interests in your life that you can go to outside of just Minister, because you, everybody in medicine is gonna be really into medicine. And you're gonna have plenty time really in the medicine. But you gotta have something else that kind of keeps your interests, hobbies or something, even if it's like watching Netflix, Siri's something that you could do outside and not losing track of your family and your friends. Make sure you keep in communication with them. And then what about for people that are considering their presidency choice or choosing their field? That I am the prime example of not choosing something for the life? So if there are two things you really love, the lifestyles better. One than absolutely go for it. But you really have to pick something that you like and that you could do every day. Because if you're miserable in that field, even if you're only going to work from 9 to 3 those six hours going to the worst six hours every day if you don't like it if you chose it just for lifestyle, you're not gonna be happy. So you have to do something that you really love to do, and the lifestyle will follow. But it's okay that she was a better life self there. Several things. Well, thank you, Dr Berman. Thanks for coming on the show to share your thoughts and your story. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

spk_0:   23:28
Thank you so much, Dr Broom. In for coming and joining us on this episode of essential wisdom inspiring future female physicians. And thank you to everyone who is out there listening. I am so happy that you have come back to join us in this new year. So happy 2022. All the listeners out there And don't forget to tune in Later this week for our third episode of 2020 Happy New Year, Everyone