Leading Hospital Focuses on Mentor Programs to Support Sustainable Development of Healthcare Roles for Women
Pioneering hospital Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi rounded off ‘Women in Medicine’ month this September by celebrating its women physicians at a dinner and awards ceremony held at the hospital.
Globally, the number of female physicians is disproportionately small compared with the number of women in the population, which can have serious implications for treatment as well as for professional development. In a study conducted in 2018, 46 percent of women said they absolutely preferred to be seen by a woman doctor for examination and treatment.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has attempted to address this issue by providing all-women teams of medical professionals in clinics, where possible.
To ensure that sufficient numbers of female doctors are available to sustain this approach, and to open more opportunities for young women healthcare professionals, the hospital’s Women’s Professional Staff Association (WPSA) is working to expand mentoring opportunities for female caregivers.
Dr. Pascale Anglade, Staff Physician in the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Chair of WPSA, said: “Mentorship is important because it provides guidance and encouragement to potential medical leaders of tomorrow as they rotate through the hospital taking electives and internships. Our mentorship initiative has evolved organically to meet the different needs of the young professionals and the availability of female mentors at the hospital. Each mentor relationship is different, so we create individual frameworks for each caregiver.”
The dynamic between a mentor and mentee is potentially a win-win relationship, where both parties gain insight into ways to maximize personal and professional successes in a safe, confidential environment, while working together to further develop leadership qualities in one another. Many women doctors starting out in their careers are eager to learn from more experienced women physicians about ways to progress their careers and manage their work-life balance.
Dr. M. Jean Uy-Kroh, Chief, Office of Professional Staff Affairs and Staff Physician in the Surgical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, and WPSA member said: “One of the main cornerstones of the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi mission is to provide sustainable healthcare for the UAE and the region. The mentorship program plays a key role in ensuring that more women are supported as they develop in their careers.”
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi offers a wide range of training programs, as part of its life-long learning approach to education, including opportunities for medical students and young doctors who are selected for highly competitive internships and residencies. These educational programs align with the core values of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and one of its primary long-term goals of supporting sustainable healthcare in the region.
“I believe that true mentoring in medicine is more than just possession of teaching skills or guidance to appropriate study resources. It’s about inspiring, supporting, and pushing the mentee to be their best, and maintaining mutual trust and respect,” added Dr. M. Jean Uy-Kroh.
Dr. Uy-Kroh currently is currently acting as a mentor to senior medical student Marwa Alhalawani from Jordan, who completed a surgery rotation at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
Alhalawani said: “I have benefitted greatly from the program offered at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and from having support from Dr. Uy-Kroh. She has encouraged me to believe in myself and to remain an enthusiastic learner. I admire the commitment of UAE doctors in developing women’s careers, and particularly for female medical students.”
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi currently has 82 women physicians, representing 22% of their physicians. Given the strong demand for women doctors, the long-term aim is to achieve parity between male and female physicians.
Dr. Eiman Mahmoud was mentored by Dr. Deepa Grandon, Allergy and Immunology Consultant in the Medical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, during her time at the hospital. Dr. Eiman is a Clinical Immunologist from Sudan who was preparing to take her Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom II (MRCP2) exam.
“I cannot describe how helpful Dr. Deepa's guidance and advice has been. I am forever grateful for her support and for mentoring me during my period at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. I have gained a lot of knowledge from her as a senior doctor, and I have learned a lot about how to plan and manage my career.”
Women in Medicine (WIM) Month serves to showcase the accomplishments of women physicians, as well as highlight advocacy related to women physicians and health issues impacting women patients.