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Women in Psychiatry

Personal Perspectives

Edited by Donna M. Norris, M.D., Geetha Jayaram, M.D., M.B.A., and Annelle B. Primm, M.D., M.P.H.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-408-9
  • Item #62408

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In Women in Psychiatry, 21 accomplished women psychiatrists in private practice, teaching institutions, hospitals, public health treatment programs, and leadership positions reveal both the challenges and rewards of being in a wide array of professional positions. The stories are heartfelt and personal as well as professional accounts of obstacles overcome and milestones achieved. In a field once completely dominated by men, nearly one-third of physicians who identified themselves as practicing psychiatry in the U.S. were women, and the diversity of their approaches to the practice of psychiatry is encouragingly illustrated in this book.

Women in Psychiatry clearly demonstrates where an interest in science or medicine can lead when combined with determination, guidance, experience, mentoring, perseverance, and organizational support. The featured women represent diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, positions, career pathways, and accomplishments. All the authors share lessons learned and provide recommendations on what they found helpful in achieving their goals of personal and professional fulfillment. These chapters present many common themes among women professionals both within and outside of psychiatry, including handling pregnancy and motherhood while building a career, the potential strain between women and men in the field, and some of the income and leadership role inequities that still exist. Features and benefits of Women in Psychiatry include:

  • Insights into career paths through descriptions of pivotal events and decisions that shaped their careers as scientists.
  • Perspectives and advice on how to balance personal and professional responsibilities, both in training and in practice.
  • Illustrations of the role played by cultural and linguistic background, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, subspecialty, place of employment, and work setting.
  • The importance of mentorship throughout the process, first as a recipient and ultimately as a mentor to other women entering the field.
  • Strategies these authors used to accomplish goals and the various styles of leadership that helped them reach those goals.
  • The historical context for understanding that until recent decades, despite irrefutable evidence that women in the biomedical professions are capable, there were few in most fields with the exception of nursing, dental hygiene, and elementary science teaching.

Women in Psychiatry is the ideal book for women who are considering a career in psychiatry or other areas of medicine. It is also a book for partners and spouses of women in medicine and psychiatry. It is an inspirational and educational document that women and men, whether in medicine or other, nonrelated careers, can value and appreciate through the recounting of personal and professional experiences that made a difference.


  • Contributors
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Part I: The Early Years
  • Chapter 1. Embarking on a Career Path: Persistence, Process, and Psychiatry
  • Chapter 2. A Woman of Culture and Compassion From the Carolinas
  • Chapter 3. Emerging From the Shadow and Exposed to the Light
  • Chapter 4. An Early-Career Perspective on Work, Parenthood, and Leadership: You Can Have It All, You Just Can't Have It All Right Now
  • Part II: Mid-Career and Beyond: A Mosaic
  • Chapter 5. Farmer's Daughter Excels in Psychiatry
  • Chapter 6. Finding My Way: A Nontraditional Career in Psychiatry
  • Chapter 7. Getting to the Inner Circle: The Long, Hard Road
  • Chapter 8. An Adventurous Journey: From the Holy City to the Windy City
  • Chapter 9. Mission Driven and Road Tested: A Career Path in Psychiatry
  • Chapter 10. A Community Psychiatrist Straddling Worlds and Bridging Chasms
  • Chapter 11. Administration, Advocacy, and Academics: One Woman's Experience
  • Chapter 12. Specializing in the Wholly Impossible
  • Chapter 13. The Challenges of Leadership: A Woman's Perspective
  • Chapter 14. Having the Courage and Conviction to Succeed
  • Chapter 15. Army Psychiatrist
  • Chapter 16. A Serendipitous Career: From Cowboy to Out Lesbian Faculty Psychiatrist
  • Chapter 17. Another Immigrant's Tale: So Near and Yet So Far
  • Chapter 18. Receiving Effective Support While Making Culture and Language Changes
  • Chapter 19. Unexpected Adventures Behind the Walls
  • Chapter 20. My Partly Planned Journey: What Has Worked for Me
  • Chapter 21. Centering
  • Index


    Mary E. Barber, M.D.
    Hind Benjelloun, M.D.
    Andrea M. Brownridge, J.D., M.S., M.D.
    Crystal R. Bullard, M.D.
    Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H.
    Esperanza Diaz, M.D.
    M. J. Doherty, Ph.D.
    Mary Jane England, M.D.
    Anita S. Everett, M.D.
    Ellen Haller, M.D.
    Geetha Jayaram, M.D., M.B.A.
    Surinder Nand, M.D.
    Cassandra F. Newkirk, M.D.
    Donna M. Norris, M.D.
    Annelle B. Primm, M.D., M.P.H.
    Patricia R. Recupero, J.D., M.D.
    Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, M.D.
    Gail E. Robinson, M.D.
    Jo-Ellyn Ryall, M.D.
    Altha J. Stewart, M.D.
    Ann Marie Sullivan, M.D.
    Amy Ursano, M.D.

About the Authors

Donna M. Norris, M.D., is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Geetha Jayaram, M.D., M.B.A, is Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Health Policy & Management, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Annelle B. Primm, M.D., M.P.H., is Deputy Medical Director and Director, Office of Minority/National Affairs, American Psychiatric Association, Arlington, Virginia.

This book offers an unusual opportunity to learn about the careers in psychiatry of a number of women from disparate backgrounds, many from minority areas. These women followed wide range of pathways to reach their professional goals. The book provides insights into the combination of background, historical moment, individual talents, and the role of mentors and supports that have led to success. There are also unique personal histories, interesting in themselves and for their diversity.—Malkah Tolpin Notman M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Brookline, MA

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