Understand

where it all

began 

                           with Kim, a 5th year neurosurgery resident, who has a long-time penchant for piano, love of engineering, and a mentor that changed the course of her career.

 

"I would

not be a neurosurgeon had a

woman not reached out to me."

"She was the program director for neurosurgery at Ohio State and she's in charge of the medical student education. Really she's one who got me interested in neurosurgery. I did my rotation in neurosurgery and actually I thought I wanted to be a general surgeon, and I did my neurosurgery rotation just as a way to learn how to scrub into the OR. It takes some practice. Throughout the rotation she would be teaching sessions - very brief teaching sessions, and at the end, she was like, 'I think you'd be a great fit for neurosurgery.'" It can be competitive to get into, so I didn't think it was a possibility, but I kept those words of hers in the back of my mind. [...] She said, 'I think you'd be really competitive, so don't sell yourself short.'"

Of Kim's residency program, only 5 women have ever graduated, the first in 2002, and the second - the first woman of color to graduate from the program - years later. Kim is one of 5 current residents - highly unusual for neurosurgery residencies, which last 6-7 years and accept only 2-3 residents per year; across all years, typically only one or two are women. 

The first photo taken of the department, in 1948, sits right above the most recent, with some obvious changes in the demographic of staff. Coincidentally, around this time - in the 1940's in the UK, Dr. Diana Beck became the first ever female neurosurgeon. Ironically enough, Dr. Beck died early from a neuromuscular disease that was diagnosed as "hysteria" - the catch-all malady for women of the 19th century.

Hover to interact with the photos.

1/1

Kim, pictured on the left, holds a book her mentor gifted to her for her graduation from medical school: the biography of Harvey Cushing, the father of neurosurgery.

Kim's parents are both engineers, and her mother the first on her side of the family to attend college. She always anticipated going into engineering, but found intellectual and humanistic satisfaction in medicine, especially in a highly technical specialty like neurosurgery, which felt familiar and not unalike engineering, which is similarly male-dominated. 

 

Looking back on her mentorship from both male and female attendings and fellow residents alike, she wants to be part teaching and mentoring herself, saying "There's a teaching component in academic [medicine] which I've always felt is important [...] and it's a good place for discourse on ideas."

She says her more far-fetched childhood dream was to be a pianist - she still plays recreationally. For now, she sees more bright lights in the OR than on a concert stage. Her favorite operations are tumor resections. Catch a glimpse of such procedure with, Alexa, a 2nd year resident. 

Some sections contain graphic images of operation, all patient de-identified, and all photos obtained with proper approval, and consent from all parties, departments, and individuals involved and belong to K. L. Graywill.