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Professor Bethany Foster – Paediatrician-in-Chief at the McGill University – Reflect Intent

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Dr. Bethany Foster, who is a Professor of Paediatrics, Chair of the Department of Paediatrics at McGill University and Paediatrician-in-Chief at the McGill University Health Centre. She also serves as acting Division Director of Paediatric Nephrology. Additionally, she is Chair of The Transplantation Society’s Women in Transplantation Initiative.

She shares some of the factors that contributed to choosing paediatrics and nephrology, such as how kidney disease affects the person as a whole. Her research interests extend to studying immunosuppressive medication adherence, graft outcomes in adolescent and young adult kidney transplant recipients, who tend to be at particularly high risk of graft loss. Additionally, her research addresses recipient and donor sex difference in graft outcomes. She shares that male tissues have a specific protein that is not present on female tissues, which may trigger an immune response against the graft.

Prof. Foster is chair of The Transplantation Society’s Women in Transplantation Initiative (WIT), which aims “to advance and inspire women transplant professionals and champion issues of sex and gender in transplantation”. She notes that men still outcome women in transplant medicine and views WIT as an initiative to encourage more women to pursue the field. We discuss the value of mentorship and sponsorship to support women, and emphasis that women need to step up and put themselves forward for leadership roles, thus becoming role models for the women coming up behind them.

In closing Prof. Foster encourages women to believe themselves, be open to constructive feedback, and continue to improve.  In your career, as you develop into a self-assured individual, people should accept you as you are, and if you demand it and give them no choice they might just follow your lead.

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