The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Employs Some of the Best and Brightest Minds and Most Compassionate Women in Health Care. We Present Here Five of Those Outstanding Women, in Their Own Words.
DIRECTOR OF HOPE'S BOUTIQUE, A NONPROFIT RETAIL STORE OWNED BY OHIO STATE DEDICATED TO WOMEN RECOVERING FROM CANCER
Describe your job: Hope's Boutique is a convenient, comfortable shopping experience for women in treatment for cancer and for women who have returned to an active lifestyle. In the past 12 years, we evolved into more than a store. Today, my job is also about giving our customers a nurturing, safe environment where they can let go — for a while — of all the trauma in their lives, buy something that makes them feel pretty and get what they need — which is sometimes a hug.
Favorite part of job: The look on a woman's face when she first sees her reflection in the mirror wearing a perfect wig or properly fitted prostheses. In that moment, we watch her transition from utter fear and confusion to confidence and calm.
Proudest professional accomplishment: I'm so grateful, because my proudest accomplishment happens over and over again — every time I tell a woman that we have dollars in our Hope Fund to support what she needs. I get to work someplace where so many lives are made so much better.
Three words that describe you: Fun, very emotional and compassionate. Favorite food: Anything Italian! It's in my blood.
Favorite healthy food or activity: What I really believe in — and always try to do — is incorporate the physical activity my body needs into my daily life. If I can walk to see someone, I do it. It's a very Italian philosophy.
CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY WEXNER MEDICAL CENTER
Describe your job: My job is to provide leadership for technology initiatives throughout the Medical Center. One big part of that is creating a central electronic medical record system and leveraging it to support patient care, education and research.
Favorite part of job: Working with the people both on our IT staff as well as the other people around the organization. I just love sitting down in someone's office and saying, 'OK! So tell me about your business and how I can help you with technology.'
Proudest professional accomplishment: So far it's my role in implementing the Medical Center's outpatient electronic medical record, which gives every patient one electronic chart for every visit with physicians they see within the Medical Center system. Now our doctors have broader access to immediate information. For example, your doctor can find your last prescription without having to phone another physician.
Three words that describe you: Energetic, inquisitive and dedicated.
Favorite food: That's a tough one, because I love food. I guess I'd have to say it's pasta with any kind of cream or cheese sauce.
Secrets to balancing work and life: A wonderful husband and a lot of prayer.
Favorite indulgence: Reading! And for a real indulgence, sitting on my couch and reading without any interruptions. By the way, I highly recommend The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. Outstanding!
Favorite healthy food or activity: I like fresh fruits and vegetables. Everyone in the office laughs at me because I'm like a traveling farmers market. Today I brought in an apple, a banana, some blueberries, carrots and cucumbers.
Cara Harris, RN, CNP, CDE
NURSE PRACTITIONER AND CERTIFIED DIABETES EDUCATOR
THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL EAST
Describe your job: Providing comprehensive diabetes management to our patients. Favorite part of job: Empowering patients to care for themselves with their diabetes management. We can give patients the plan, but 90 percent of that plan's success is up to the patient. This part of my job is challenging but fulfilling.
Proudest professional accomplishment: We teach a two-part outpatient class, where we give patients information about managing their diabetes. The patients go home, try everything out and then come back so we can discuss how things went. I had this one patient come to his second class so proud of all the great changes he'd made. He said to me, 'Why hasn't anyone ever told me this stuff? I can do this! I just never knew what to do.' That makes everything all worthwhile.
Three words that describe you: Visionary, creative and team player.
Favorite food: Cornbread. I love it!
Secrets to balancing work and life: Organization. I am happily married, have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old and work full time. So, staying organized is really important.
Favorite indulgence: That would have to be sleeping. Or maybe watching a movie. I loved "Toy Story 3." My favorite movie of all time is "Crimson Tide," with Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. I also really enjoy scrapbooking.
CLINICAL ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF OHIO STATE'S DIVISION OF HUMAN GENETICS
Describe your job: Funny you ask. My husband recently asked me to put my job description on an index card to help him describe it. I split my time between clinical cancer genetics and cancer genetic research. On the clinical side, I see patients who have a family history of cancer and I help them find out if they have an inherited predisposition to cancer. On the research side, we hunt for new genes that can run in a family, and we work on further defining some of the known cancer gene mutations.
Favorite part of job: I love working with different families and getting to know them. The best part is when I can tell someone they didn't inherit a gene mutation that causes cancer. Even if I do have to tell someone that they inherited a cancer predisposition, I love being able to empower them and help them be proactive with so many options to manage their cancer susceptibility.
Three words that describe you: Enthusiastic, thorough and compassionate.
Hobbies: Boating and water skiing.
Secrets to balancing work and life: I wish I knew! I have two small children and it's very difficult. I deal with every minute of the day as if it's the most important — whether it's playing with my kids, doing the laundry or helping a patient. All of it gets equal effort. You have to live in the moment.
Favorite indulgence: I love, love, love a facial.
Favorite healthy food or activity: Right now that's cycling. I recently rode in Pelotonia, a bike ride that raises funds for cancer research at the OSUCCC-James.
DIRECTOR OF THE WOMEN'S CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH CLINIC
Favorite part of job: That's definitely educating people about heart health and helping them take charge of their lives — whether it's a patient, their family or community members.
Proudest professional accomplishment: I'd say successfully completing five board exams since the completion of my residency while also raising two children. I'm also so proud of being selected for two national committees to promote the field of cardiology to women medical students and residents and fellows.
Three words that describe you: Approachable, compassionate and honest.
Favorite food: Fruit — especially mangos and raspberries.
Hobbies: Right now, my children and I are learning two different Indian languages.
Secrets to balancing work and life: The biggest thing is keeping your priorities straight — knowing what matters. That'll vary from day to day or situation to situation, so figuring out what's most important for that particular moment is the key.
Favorite indulgence: Chocolate!
Favorite healthy food or activity: My favorite activity is rollerblade hockey. I have two brothers, and I was pretty competitive with them. For the record, I was always better at rollerblade hockey than my older brother.
Photos By Jim Brown