As the American Medical Association celebrates Women in Medicine Month, I would like to introduce you to my sister and pathologist, Dr. Lori Ryan. Lori recently launched Scope MD – a podcast for women in medicine. The following is a summary of a conversation we had about how and why Lori started the podcast.
ScopeMD is a podcast for women in medicine by a woman in medicine
Since 2017, Lori Ryan MD, has been accumulating ideas for topics in medicine she wished someone would talk about. “These issues were mostly specific to women in health care – like the taboo topic of women pumping at work,” she says.
Lori also loves listening to podcasts while commuting to and from work, especially podcasts about women in leadership. She says that, at the time, most of these podcasts featured women CEOs and venture capitalists, “I couldn’t find one for women in medicine. So I thought, ‘Why not just do it!'”
In March 2020, the pandemic opened a door for the busy physician and mom to finally launch her podcast, ScopeMD. In pathology, a high proportion of the work volume is directly related to surgeries, and this spring, most surgeries were cancelled due to COVID-19. The pandemic also highlighted how interconnected healthcare workers are to each other.
“COVID-19 is a time that makes us realize that we are more human than we thought we were. After all, we’re all in this together.”– Lori Ryan, MD
My sister loves the way podcasts bring a community together. When she started a podcasting course to get comfortable with the technology, she realized she didn’t want to delay by being too much of a perfectionist.
“Jeanine Wright, COO of Simplecast, says that women podcasters tend to want every show to be perfect, and then, they’re afraid to launch. They bank 10 episodes. Men often tend to launch with fewer episodes. I decided to be more like a man about this and just launch,” Lori laughs.
We’re more alike than we are different
In a few short months, 16 episodes of the ScopeMD podcast are now live. “My episodes are based on topics that arose during my training or practice, or were raised by different healthcare providers, including nurses, laboratory professionals, radiology technicians, and physicians,” she says.
“Health care silos workers based on their profession. But health care requires a team approach. I’d like my podcast to break down those barriers and allow providers to be exposed to innovative ideas and challenges from different health care specialties. I think we’ll find that we’re more alike than we are different.”– Lori Ryan, MD
As a result, the podcast covers a broad range of topics, from the vital role of nurse practitioners to being a physician and a patient. She also covers technology, like making remote meetings more effective and the rapid adoption of telehealth. (Links to episodes are at the bottom of the post.)
For many of us, telemedicine has been a silver lining during the pandemic – a way to push through bureaucracy and regulation changes. Lori says, “Telemedicine is so much more patient-centered, convenient, and flexible. We all win. As a physician and a mother, I hope we never go back to office-only visits. I empathize with patients; I have a child with mild cerebral palsy. Too often, we are asked to come in when some visits just don’t require an in-person office visit.”
Supporting the next generation
Finding time is still a challenge as Lori does all of her own podcast production – interviews, editing, and publishing. If you are a fellow healthcare professional with a topic you would like to have considered for a future podcast episode, Lori would love to talk with you. She says she is especially interested in how we can make the future better for trainees.
“Since cycling off of a board member position at A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation, I consider ScopeMD as my way to volunteer and give back,” she says. “One episode I did with trainees in mind is about avoiding work-related injuries. As physicians, we are not great about taking care of ourselves, in terms of how we work at work. Health professions that require repetitive movements or heavy lifting are at highest risk for work injuries,” according to Lori.
In the laboratory, pathologists and other laboratory professionals are at risk for wrist, back, and neck injuries. Many health care providers don’t think about their own comfort, but Lori says we should all be more mindful of ergonomics.
Everyone benefits from diversity
For the first time, women now make up more than half of all medical students in the U.S., and medicine is becoming more diverse. Although there are far fewer women in podcasting than men, podcasting interest is growing.
Lori tells me there is now another podcast for women in medicine that is also one of her favorites – the ”Women in White Coats” podcast. Founded by Amber Robins, MD, MBA, and Archana R. Shrestha, MD, this podcast grew from the book series, The Chronicles of Women in White Coats.
Men can also learn from the ScopeMD podcast. Dennis Strenk of the “People of Pathology” podcast, who interviewed Lori, says his favorite episode was “Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and Perfectionism” with Sue Hawkes. Many people in high-achieving fields like health care deal with imposter syndrome.
Have an idea?
“ScopeMD explores the scope of challenges and opportunities facing women in medicine. The emphasis is on highlighting innovative practice approaches colleagues have incorporated into their medical practice as well as life outside medicine.
I hope we get people thinking, and that the podcast is just the start of the conversation. Maybe we’ll be a spark for some positive changes in health care and for women in medicine. To dig deeper on a topic, a list of resources complements every episode on ScopeMD’s website.”– Lori Ryan, MD
Do you have a topic idea for the ScopeMD podcast? Please contact Dr. Lori Ryan via twitter at ScopeMDpodcast or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find Lori behind the microscope (at standing level) at Hospital Pathology Associates (HPA) in Minnesota.
AMA celebrates Women in Medicine Month
- Women as Physicians
- Women as Biomedical Scientists
- Women as Medical Educators
- Women as Leaders in Academic Medicine
Links to ScopeMD Episodes on iTunes
- : 001 Welcome to ScopeMD
- 002 The Vital Role of Nurse Coordinators
- 003 Coping strategies during COVID-19, Part 1
- 004 The Importance of Networking and Clarity in Finding and Advancing your Career
- 005 Robots, Art, and other Innovations at a Community Hospital
- 006 Barriers to Breastfeeding and Barriers to Pumping at Work
- 007 Coping Strategies during COVID-19: Part 2
- 008 Telehealth with Dr. Chad Ellimoottil
- 009 On Being a Physician and a Patient- Dr. Michaela Tsai
- 010 Giving and Receiving Effective Feedback with Dr. Sarah Bean
- 011 Overcoming Impostor Syndrome and Perfectionism with Sue Hawkes
- 012 How to Avoid Work Related Injuries in Medicine with Dr. Chris Leisz
- 013 Overview of Immunotherapy for Healthcare Providers, Cancer Patients and Their Families
- 014 How to Lead And Participate In Effective Meetings in the Remote Meeting Era
- 015 Navigating the Upcoming School Year
- 016 Mrs. Maisel and Medicine: What Medicine was like for Female Physicians and Nurses in the late 1950’s – early 1960’s with Dr. Dominique Tobbell
You can also visit ScopeMD.com/podcasts to access individual episodes. Enjoy!