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The Good Doctors

Four Females Taking Their Specialties By Storm

Article by Maria Dinoia

Photography by Danielle Del Valle

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Dr. Caroline Gannon, Board Certified Podiatric Surgeon, University Foot & Ankle 

+ Specialty...Podiatry

Q: Why did you choose your field of specialty?

I ran track and cross country at Auburn University and became interested in injuries affecting my teammates. While at Auburn, I shadowed Auburn's team Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. James Andrews who encouraged me to consider treating the smaller bones of the hands or feet. I chose feet!

Q: My first year was...

Hectic. I had a new born baby and new medical practice. I don't think I slept for about 4 years!

Q: What's the best career advice you ever received?

Set personal boundaries. You can't do everything.

Q: What is your hobby or indulgence of choice?

This is so embarrassing...I watch zit-popping videos on YouTube.

Dr. Megan Hord Girmscheid, Dentist, Dental Bliss

+ Specialty...Dentistry

Q: Why did you choose your field of specialty?
When I was 15 years old, I decided I wanted to be a dentist and never looked back. I knew I wanted to be in medicine but, also to use my creativity and gentle nature simultaneously. Dentistry provided the opportunity to do all three. It also gave me the flexibility to have a good work life balance and raise a family.

Q: My first year was... 
My first year in dentistry was very challenging. Making decisions that have real-life consequences is very stressful for a 25-year-old first-year dentist. I had to learn to trust my education and experience, while using my intuition to guide patient care decisions.

Q: What's the best career advice you ever received?
A mentor of mine once told me that if I treated my patients like they were family that everything else would fall into place. Every time I’m challenged with a tough decision, I always fall back on that guidance and it has not failed me yet.

Q: What is your hobby or indulgence of choice?
I have loved and practiced music my entire life. It soothes my soul and breathes joy into my day. I am a vocalist and classical violinist. Although, my newest indulgence is my three month old daughter, Grace. Family is and always be my top priority.

Dr. Jill Fichtel, MD, Transformative Dermatology 

+ Specialty...Dermatology 

Q: Why did you choose your field of specialty?
My personal struggle with acne played a huge role in my choosing dermatology. I painfully recall not wanting to leave the house as a teenager because of acne, which taught me that many times the psychological impact of a skin problem, due to the visible nature, is more disturbing than the actual physical exam warrants. This impacted my treatment approach with the goal for perfection in every patient no matter how severe or mild a disease may outwardly appear. 

Q: My first year was….
The most emotionally and physically challenging, yet spiritually beautiful year of my life. It was my intern year at Baptist Hospital (Nashville) in Internal Medicine, prior to my dermatology training. This was a life or death gig and being a sensitive person, shedding the pain and hurt at the end of each day was difficult for me, and sleep deprivation was a continuous state. On the flip side, witnessing and experiencing daily miracles of healing, hope, peace and love made it all worthwhile.

Q: What’s the best career advice you ever received?
From my dad, John N. Crowell, now deceased 20 years, but I still hear his words clear as day spoken to me around age 10.
     1. “Don’t rely on anyone to take care of you. The only person who can do that is you.”
     2. “Do something you love.”
     3. “It better be good because you #!*$ at cooking and cleaning!”
He was correct on all three. This taught me the importance of becoming reliant on my faith and God more than myself.

Q: What is your hobby or indulgence of choice?
I crave being out in nature, especially anywhere that’s sunny, warm, and has a body of water. I love to swim, how the water feels on my skin, how it supports me while I float, how it silences the world as I go under, how the ripples expand so perfectly from a skipped rock, and the sound of gentle waves. After dermatology, my second career choice was mermaid… maybe in retirement! 

Mary Lynn Moran, MD, Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon 

+ Specialty... Facial Plastic Surgery 

Q: Why did you choose your field of specialty?

I come from a family of physicians. From a young age I was always a spatially and visually oriented person and greatly enjoyed working with my hands.  My father was a psychiatrist so I also was attuned to the importance of emotional well-being. Facial plastic surgery allows me to combine both of those passions.

Q: My first year was...

As a surgical intern in Boston, I often worked over 100 hours/week.  My sister was living with me after we graduated from University of Michigan. I was so tired after a long call shift, she would sometimes find me asleep in the tub with the shower running over me. It was exciting to be a new surgeon in a city like Boston.

Q: What's the best career advice you ever received?

I can’t think of specific career advice that I have received.  I had incredible mentors throughout my journey who made me believe that I could achieve anything. I had no female surgeon mentors since they were so scarce.  My advice to young women in my field is to center their career around their life instead of their career around their life.

Q: What is your hobby or indulgence of choice?

I love to travel.  My Dad loved to take us all over the world to experience the beauty of other cultures.  My Mom was a nomad and citizen of the world.  I took my son to Ireland 2 years ago when he was five and he has got the bug.  He is obsessed with maps and learning about other cultures and places.

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