National Women Physicians Day recognizes achievements, growing segment of local health care

Pictured is Dr. Anne Rizzo, the chairwoman of surgery for the Guthrie Clinic.

National Women Physicians Day provided an opportunity for Guthrie to recognize its 109 female physicians.

One of those physicians is Dr. Anne Rizzo, the chairwoman of surgery for the Guthrie Clinic, who recounted how she was inspired by her parents growing up. They were both the first in their families to attend college, and her father was a medic during World War II who “was very interested in the physiology and the treatment of people.”

“They both very much encouraged us to put our minds on a task and attain that goal – and not take ‘no’ for an answer,” she explained.

Recognized each year on Feb. 3, National Women Physicians Day commemorates the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell who, in 1849, became the first American woman to receive a medical degree, according to Guthrie. Within the local healthcare organization, the Guthrie Women In Medicine group helps make the workplace better as more women physicians enter the field of medicine, encourages young women to consider a career in medicine, and celebrates the accomplishments of those working in the field.

Speaking to women considering medicine in their future, Rizzo stressed that the profession will not prevent them from having a home life or children.

“Women have done a fabulous job of doing that, being able to be successful in our career but maintain home lives as well,” she said.

She added that women bring a natural flexibility and ability to multi-task to the profession, as well as ability to work as a team.

“That’s something I’d like to say to all women, is that it’s not harder than anything else you want to be good at,” Rizzo emphasized. “If you want to be good at something, it’s going to take time and effort, whether it’s in the financial sector, whether it’s in the marketing sector, or whether it’s in medicine. To be really good at something, you’re going to have to donate the time to it and figure out how to manage the rest of your lifestyle around it.”

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