Chin (MD, Harvard Medical School) has brought together about 100 stories, poems, essays, and quotations that speak to the joys and trials of being a woman in the field of medicine. Beginning with the writings of early medical pioneers, the anthology reveals how women have coped with the demands of a medical career in addition to being wives, mothers, and community leaders. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Any woman contemplating a career as a physician or already working in the profession will gain a good deal of insight from this collection of personal essays and poems by female physicians over the last century and a half. Organized into categories such as "Internship and Residency," "Mothering and Doctoring," and "Barriers," the anthology presents feminine and feminist perspectives on all aspects of a medical career. Most of the pieces are contemporary and previously unpublished, solicited by Chin, an internist and former Columbia University medical professor. In her essay "We're Not in Kansas Anymore: Men as Medical Mentors," pediatrician and author (Her Own Medicine) Sayantani DasGupta describes how her search for a "female" professional mentor turned up a vital male role model instead. Psychiatrist Bhuvana Chandra's evocative poem recalls how much it meant to her father that she became a doctor. Several pieces deal with reconciling the commitment to patients with the commitment to family life, such as Molly Carnes's down-to-earth "Balancing Family and Career: Advice from the Trenches." Chin also provides a historical overview of the barriers that faced 19th-century women physicians like Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate from an American medical school, and Harriet Hunt, whose recollections are among the archival pieces featured in the anthology. This is an engaging and frequently inspiring collection. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.