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Empowering Women in Medicine with Dr. Sylvia Morris and Dr. Angela Walker
Episode 7817th May 2024 • The Prosperous Doc • Spaugh Dameron Tenny
00:00:00 00:37:48

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Women in medicine encounter unique challenges and opportunities. Five female physicians who formed a tight-knit bond during medical school have been actively examining these issues. 

Over the past few years, they have shared their experiences and developed strategies to support women in various aspects of their medical careers, including applying to medical school, navigating residency and fellowship, understanding compensation, balancing work and family, and planning career trajectories. 

On this episode of the Prosperous Doc®, our host, Shane Tenny, CFP®, dives deeper into the insights and initiatives of two of the authors, Dr. Sylvia Morris and Dr. Angela Walker. They discuss the experiences that brought them to write “THE GAME PLAN: A Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Doctor and Living a Life in Medicine.” 

After years of mentoring and finding support within their own group of friends, the book was born out of the desire to reach a wider audience of professionals beyond what one-on-one mentoring could accomplish. It was important to both Dr. Morris and Dr. Walker to provide practical insights into navigating the real-life scenarios that they encountered but were not adequately prepared for on their own career journeys.  

“If you don't have people around you who have an intimate understanding and knowledge of what we're going through, then you're right, [the profession] can be very lonely,” explains Dr. Morris regarding building a community and having resources available to support medical professionals. 

Both authors wrote this book with a clear audience in mind. Dr. Walker wrote for the medical school version of herself, who did not have a clue what life would look like outside of school, and to answer the questions she wished she had known then. Dr. Morris wrote for her parents, as a guide to help parents and loved ones know what to expect. 

💡 Featured Guest 💡

Name: Dr. Sylvia Morris MD, MPH

What she does: Dr. Morris's goal is to utilize the media to improve our nation's public health by combining her training in internal medicine and public health. She has made guest appearances on local and national news outlets to deliver her message. She is currently a hospitalist and Area Physician Market Lead at Kaiser Permanente.

Company: Kaiser Permanente

Words of wisdom: “It's really important to take care of ourselves. Because if we don't take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of the people in our block.”

Connect: Website | Linkedin | Instagram

💡 Featured Guest 💡

Name: Dr. Angela Walker, MD

What she does: As an OB/GYN caring for women for 25 years, she shares her journey as a wife, mother, daughter, and woman of color along her path of achieving optimal health and wellness. She helps others succeed by providing wisdom and steps to create their own story of wellness. Dr. Walker is also a co-author of the book "THE GAME PLAN: A Woman's Guide to Becoming a Doctor and Living a Life in Medicine.” In this book, she shares her insight and personal stories of what it is like and things to consider as a female in medicine.

Company: Humana

Words of wisdom: “There are changes that you can make. There are alternatives. There are demands that are put on you, and you can say no. You may have to change the job, but at the end of the day, it may be the best choice for you. It can be scary, but you have to take inventory every now and then.”

Connect: Website | Linkedin | Facebook

💰 On the Money 💰

Top takeaways from this episode 

  • Many women abandon their aspirations in medicine. The women recognized that unaddressed concerns could lead to more women pivoting away from the field of medicine. The idea for the book was to reach a broader audience beyond individual mentees and from the need to explore more nuanced aspects of life as a physician. 
  • Women face unique challenges both personally and as professionals. In this book, Dr. Morris and Dr. Walker wanted to address often overlooked topics like dating and finding a partner amid the demands of a medical career. 
  • Physicians are conditioned to prioritize tasks at any cost. Despite initial success in her demanding career as an OBGYN, Dr. Walker recognized the toll it was taking on her personal life and well-being and made pivotal career changes. She emphasizes the importance of empowering young professionals to make choices aligned with their health and fulfillment. 
  • You need a supportive community. Dr. Morris finds strength in her community of peers, where she can share experiences, seek advice, and discuss challenges she is facing. These connections provide a safe space to express emotions and determine whether to persevere or to pivot. 

⚡ Prosperous Insights ⚡

[03:37] An optimistic outlook on life: The women’s friendship was the inspiration for the book. They wanted to share their experiences as a way to mentor and guide the next generation of women in medicine. 

[05:10] It started with scholarships: Originally, the group had a small scholarship for fourth-year medical students at Georgetown. During their annual girls’ trips, they would decide who would get the scholarships. This evolved into wanting to find a way to share their message with more students considering the field of medicine. 

[06:52] Answering unasked questions: Dr. Walker provides examples of some of the less obvious questions the book answers for readers, such as about home life and whether you have children or a partner. 

[11:42] A game plan for medicine: Both Dr. Morris and Dr. Walker review some of the more personal details that influence a physician's career but are often overlooked when considering a career in medicine. 

[15:42] This generation discusses burnout: Dr. Morris shares how her personal self-care journey has evolved over the years and how she made it a priority from residency. Unlike previous generations, the new generation of medical practitioners is much more open about the importance of work-life harmony. 

[20:33] Empowered to say no: Dr. Walker learned how good it can feel to say no and to advocate for herself. She’s weathered several career changes and made choices to protect her well-being and her personal life. 

[24:49] Self-care for perseverance: Self-care can take many different forms. The actions you take on a regular basis to care for yourself and the community you build are types of self-care.

[27:31] Financial preparedness is part of the game plan: Dr. Walker is quick to recommend that medical professionals get a financial planner to help them make good decisions and set themselves up for success. Dr. Morris recommends as a resource, and Shane reminds listeners that also has resources for those looking to learn more. 

[34:36] A different perspective: Writing the book gave Dr. Morris’ godsister a new view of her journey through medical school. Dr. Walker heard from people who applied the advice to other careers, giving the book a broader audience than she initially expected. 

💵 Financial Wellness Tip 💵

Have you found that your income is near its peak potential, yet you’re still not sure where the money is going or what to do with the surplus? Do you have cash piling up in your checking account because you don’t have the time to figure out where else to direct it? Are finances a source of confusion or even conflict in your marriage?

Disclaimer: Prosperous Doc podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentists to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice. Spaugh Dameron Tenny is a comprehensive financial planning firm serving doctors and dentists in Charlotte, NC. To find out more about Spaugh Dameron Tenny, visit our website at You can also connect with our host, Shane Tenny, CFP, at or on Twitter.

Compliance code: CRN202705-6457590



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