We sat down with Susan Townsend, M.D., neonatologist at Pediatrix Medical Group of Colorado and Memorial Health Central Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colo. Dr. Townsend’s career spans a decade in academic neonatology and 18 years with Pediatrix. She is set to retire in June and will be truly missed by her colleagues. We thank her for her vast contributions and years of service and wish her the very best in her retirement!
Watch the video for the full interview or check out the highlights below!
Did a woman inspire you to pursue a career in medicine?
Both of my parents were physicians, and so my mother was definitely a role model in many ways—and her father was a physician, so I come by it as kind of the family trade. And I have a daughter who’s a surgeon.
What do you think it means to be a woman in health care today?
That’s a tough question to answer because for much of my career, I’ve really tried to think about being in health care as something that’s a diverse community that includes a lot of different people, and I try not to look at things through a lens of gender. But I think women bring diverse life experiences and can play unique roles in their families and on teams, and so we have our cultural perspective that we bring. I think women in health care do face some ongoing challenges that they have to address that affect the experience of being a physician or other provider, but it’s an incredibly rewarding and wonderful career path, and health care is a great way to make a difference.
How can women physicians best support fellow women physicians?
I think in three ways: sponsorship, mentoring and coaching. We can help other women by sponsoring them for leadership positions, mentoring them as they come up in their career paths and coaching them about how to deal with some of the obstacles and challenges in a productive and successful way. One of the biggest challenges that I hope gets taken care of sooner rather than later is the salary inequities. I don’t understand how there are still differences in how women and men are compensated in the workforce these days.
I think neonatology is a great career path. Mednax has done an incredible job of career development and focusing on helping us all do the best we can to take the best care of patients, to give us support along the way and really focus on the patients and family’s needs. Neonatology is wonderful because it’s a great combination of intensive care, relationships and multiple different areas of health. So, I just wanted to put in a plug for neonatology.
Interested in joining our team of talented neonatologists? Explore our career opportunities.