Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Christina Surawicz, January 3, 2019

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Childhood and high school

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Partial Transcript: Hello, I'm Karen Clancy.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Christina Surawicz is introduced. She talks about her parents, who are physicians of Polish and Dutch descent. She talks about growing up in Vermont and Kentucky and her experiences at a segregated high school.

Keywords: 1948; Barnard College; Brothers; Chief of Cardiology; Doctors; Dreams; Dutch; Goals; High schools; Kentucky; Parents; Plans; Polish; Refugees; Segregated; Siblings; Sisters; Vermont

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; Childhood; Children of physicians; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants; Medicine.; Physicians--Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Medical Center

00:03:06 - Undergraduate education at Barnard College

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Partial Transcript: So what made you choose Barnard?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about her decision to go to Barnard College and to initially major in English. She talks about changing her major to pre-med, and taking science courses and exams.

Keywords: Barnard College; Big city; Biology; College majors; Decisions; English majors; Fathers; Liberal arts backgrounds; MCAT; Medicine; Physics; Pre-med; Pre-medical school; Preparation; Pressure; Refugees; Russian (language); Science; Switching; Women's colleges; Writers; Writing

Subjects: College choice; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher; Medical education; Universities and colleges.

00:06:10 - Medical school admission process

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Partial Transcript: So when you got ready to, um, apply to medical school, did you apply only to the University of Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz describes her application to various medical schools and her interview at the University of Kentucky. She talks about being accepted to UK.

Keywords: Admissions; Applications; Barnard College; Competition; Fathers; Interviews; Medical schools; Pre-med; Pre-medical school; Vermont; Waitlisted

Subjects: College choice; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians--Kentucky; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; Women physicians.

00:08:25 - First years of medical school

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Partial Transcript: Um, so when you first got to medical school--when you first got back to Lexington and got to medical school...

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz describes her feelings during her first few years of medical school. She talks about forming study groups with classmates, the difficulty of memorization, their experiences with burnout, and their preference for clinicians as teachers versus faculty.

Keywords: Anatomy; Basic science; Burnout; Classes; Clinicians; Feelings; Friends; Medical schools; Memorization; Nervous; Pathology departments; Study groups; Teaching

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; Women physicians.

00:10:32 - Clerkships

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Partial Transcript: So when you started your clerkships, what do you remember about those years?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about her rotations in various clerkships. She talks about which she enjoyed and which she did not.

Keywords: Attendings; Cases; Clerkships; Duties; Internal medicine; Interns; Library; Neurosurgery; Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD); On call; Patients; Psychiatry; Research; Residents; Responsibility; Rounds; Surgery; University of Oxford

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians--Kentucky; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; Women physicians.

00:15:16 - Internship rank list

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Partial Transcript: And so--(coughs)--then where did you do your internship?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about her decision-making process for her internship ranking list and where she was ultimately accepted.

Keywords: Boston (Mass.); Duke University; Internships; Rankings; Rude; Seattle (Wash.); Stress interviews; University of North Carolina; University of Washington; Yale University

Subjects: College choice; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians; Universities and colleges.; Women physicians.

00:18:10 - University of Kentucky College of Medicine--Women and mentors

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Partial Transcript: Before we leave--totally leave, uh, the University of Kentucky med school, let me ask you a couple more questions...

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about some of the women faculty and fellow classmates at UK. She talks about some of her mentors there.

Keywords: Blood; Children; Classmates; Dating; Friends; Husbands; Medical schools; Mentorship; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Vasovagal

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians--Kentucky; Sex role.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; Women physicians.; Women--Employment.

00:22:14 - University of Kentucky College of Medicine--Patients

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Partial Transcript: So looking back, you mentioned at the beginning we started talking about University of Kentucky College of Medicine...

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about her relationships with patients during her time at the University of Kentucky. She talks about how her training at UK prepared her for her career.

Keywords: Attitudes; Eastern Kentucky; Experience; Heart failure; Insecure; Internships; Medical schools; Patients; Responsibility; Rheumatic heart disease; Training

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians--Kentucky; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; Women physicians.

00:24:49 - Specialization in gastroenterology

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Partial Transcript: So a--w--as you were wrapping up your internship, at what point did you dec--decide to specialize--

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about how she came to the decision to specialize in gastroenterology.

Keywords: Cardiology; Choices; Decisions; Fathers; Fellowships; Gastroenterologists; Gastroenterology; Husbands; Primary care; Reactions; Specializations; Travel

Subjects: Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians; Universities and colleges.; Women physicians.

00:27:50 - Women in medicine and leadership--Part I

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Partial Transcript: Now were there other women faculty in your department when you started?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about her experience as the first female fellow as well as the first female faculty member in gastroenterology at the University of Washington. She talks about experiencing subtle forms of discrimination, but eventually becoming the Section Chief for Gastroenterology. She talks about her role as the first female president of the American College of Gastroenterology and how she has attempted to change the culture of gender in medicine. She mentions that her grandmother was a doctor in Poland prior to the Holocaust.

Keywords: Advancement; American College of Gastroenterology; Attendings; Attitudes; Awards; Better; Biases; Board of trustees; Breaking ground; Changes; Chief of Endoscopy; Chief residents; Committees; Communication; Culture; David Graham; Fathers; First; Gender roles; Grandmothers; Holocaust; Influence; Internships; Jewish; Leadership; Men; Pioneers; Plans; Poland; Polish; Presidential addresses; Rounds; Section Chief for Gastroenterology; Smiling; Social norms; Subtle discrimination; Visiting professors; Women's committees

Subjects: Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians; Sex discrimination in employment.; Sex role in the work environment.; Sex role.; Sexism.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges.; Women physicians.; Women--Employment.

00:41:36 - Women's committee at the University of Washington

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Partial Transcript: Um, so your next steps after that?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about her role on a women's committee at the University of Washington. She talks about their emphasis on mentorship and other issues.

Keywords: Appointments; Career paths; Careers; Clinical practice; Criminal lawsuits; Faculty surveys; Gastroenterologists; Gastroenterology; Harborview Medical Center; Medicaid fraud; Medical schools; Mentoring; Mentorship; Part-time work; University of Washington; Women's committees; Workshops

Subjects: Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians; Sex discrimination in employment.; Sex role in the work environment.; Sex role.; Sexism.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges.; Women physicians.; Women--Employment.

00:46:49 - Changes in medicine--Part I

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Partial Transcript: So today, I mean, you're working--you've been working with faculty for a number of years.

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about the differences between her generation of doctors and the current generation. She talks about how things have become both easier and more difficult, and the current emphasis on work-life balance for both men and women.

Keywords: Changes; Children; Clinicals; Demands; Differences; Families; Generations; Men; Pressure; Stress; Work-life balance

Subjects: Medical education; Medicine.; Physicians; Women physicians.

00:48:41 - Career highlights

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Partial Transcript: So what about this 2005, you were the president of the Western Association of Physicians?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about some of the highlights of her career, mentioning her work in faculty development, early probiotics research and stool transplants, and her family.

Keywords: 1980s; 2000s; American College of Gastroenterology; Children; Clostridium difficile (C. difficile); Epidemics; Faculty development; Harborview Medical Center; Junior faculty; Organizations; Patients; Pioneers; Presidents; Probiotics; Stool transplants; Travel; Twins; Western Association of Physicians

Subjects: Education, Higher; Families.; Leadership; Physicians; Sex role in the work environment.; Sex role.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges.; Women physicians.; Women--Employment.

00:54:31 - Women's impact on medicine

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Partial Transcript: So, um, looking back, do you think that women have had an impact on our social norms or on medicine?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about how women have impacted the field of medicine.

Keywords: Changes; Collaboration; Culture; Impact; Patients; Relationships; Social norms; Studies; Teams

Subjects: Physicians; Sex role in the work environment.; Sex role.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges.; Women physicians.; Women--Employment.

00:56:07 - How medicine has changed her life

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Partial Transcript: So thinking about that girl that, that went to, uh--went into English--

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about how her career in medicine has changed her as a person.

Keywords: Changes; Childhood; Confidence; Confident; Imposter syndrome; Self; Tests

Subjects: Education, Higher; Physicians; Universities and colleges.; Women physicians.

00:57:26 - Women in medicine and leadership--Part II

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Partial Transcript: So are there some things that, that we need to cover that we haven't yet covered?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks about why she feels like women have not made as much progress as they should have by now. She talks about the attitudes and norms women are expected to conform to. She talks about the phenomenon of the glass ceiling and the leaky pipeline which result in women not being in leadership positions as often as men.

Keywords: Advancement; Attitudes; Biases; Changes; Full professors; Gastroenterologists; Gastroenterology; Glass ceiling; Institutional culture; Interactions; Leadership; Leaky pipeline; Medical students; Numbers; Nurses; Progress; Residents; Unconscious bias

Subjects: Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians; Sex discrimination in employment.; Sex role in the work environment.; Sex role.; Sexism.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges.; Women physicians.; Women--Employment.

01:03:07 - Changes in medicine--Part II

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Partial Transcript: So thinking about, um, thirty years ago and now, how has medicine changed?

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz talks more about how medicine has changed since her career began. She talks about how things have become both easier and more difficult.

Keywords: Advances; Benefits; Burnout; Changes; Complicated; Costs; Difficult; Diseases; Drawbacks; Electronic medical records; Ethics; Humanities; Medical humanism; Medication; Physical examinations; Quality; Regulation; Single-payer systems; Specialization; Technology

Subjects: Medicine.; Physician and patient.; Physicians; Technological innovations

01:06:18 - Advice for medical students

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Partial Transcript: Well, I think we have finally come down to the very last question.

Segment Synopsis: Surawicz gives advice to future medical students. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Advice; Average; First year; Recommendations; Young people

Subjects: College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College students--Social conditions; Education, Higher; Medical education; Physicians--Kentucky; Universities and colleges.