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“When I was starting out as a young attending doctor it really struck me that patients would look right through me [to find] the physician in the room,” says Nerissa Ko. “They’d often pick the taller, male medical student and address them as doctor. I think it [comes down to] the stereotype of what a physician looks like. They’re not expecting a short Asian woman.”
How does she assert herself in these situations? “I try to handle things with grace and humor,” Ko says. “I’ve gotten very comfortable saying, ‘Well no, in reality I’m his boss. You need to talk to me.’ Sometimes folks are very apologetic. We all have a chuckle and move on.”
Ko, a neurologist who specializes in critical care, is committed to ensuring that women have a seat at the table at every stage of their careers. She co-leads UCSF’s Committee on the Status of Women and, this year, played a pivotal role in the creation of our first campus-wide International Women’s Day celebration. .
This Women's History Month, join us in saluting trailblazing #UCSFWomen making history in health and science.
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