Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Woman Dr. Sonya Sloan, an orthopedic surgeon, supermom, a woman of faith, an athlete, health equity disruptor, author, educator. Her life’s work has been centered on paying it forward. Incredible conversation and you will be inspired hearing about Dr. Sloan’s journey, passions, and pursuit of impact. Can women have it all? Dr. Sloan says Yes!
Journey notes from this episode include:
- From athlete to medicine: a sports injury might have ended her athletic career but it began her interest in medicine. She noticed then that there were no black clinicians anywhere. A physician suggested to her to pursue medicine as she knew so much already about her own injury and treatment, also noting that diversity was needed in the field. This was also the first time Dr. Sloan had heard about diversity.
- Entrepreneurship: at 23, waitlisted for medical school, she borrowed $50,000 and opened a coffee shop. She learned here that she loved, just loved, being an entrepreneur.
- Orthopedic surgeon: Being watched, monitored and criticized was a constant as one of the 1.5% of African American orthopedic surgeons. This required great fortitude and she learned how to be a team player, how to stand up for herself, and believes this has made her a better surgeon. Discussing burnout and the increased stresses on physicians which now includes violence, Dr. Sloan remains hopeful for medicine and for the next generation of physicians
- Health Equity Disruptor: medicine is her here and now and this is “my watch”. As the VP of the Black Women Orthopedic Surgeon’s organization, Dr. Sloan describes working on the response letters to 45’s Executive Order reversing DEI efforts in government facilities which was eventually reversed with the new administration.
- Mission in life is grounded around the pillars of medicine, spiritual and education. Intent to increase the number of minority students in STEM. Why? Because this will correlate with generational financial sustainability for African American kids. She also is focused on helping other women achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. Living by her Rule 34 which is Pay It Forward has remained a constant in her life.
- Closing advice for women: Be unapologetic!
Sonya M. Sloan, M.D., aka #OrthoDoc, has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the male-dominated field of Orthopedic Surgery. Licensed to practice medicine in several states, she travels the country to extend the impact of her unique approach to patient care. With a B.S. in Chemistry from Texas Tech University and an M.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Dr. Sloan completed her residency at Baylor College of Medicine where she made history as both the first African-American female Intern in General Surgery and the first African-American female Orthopedic Surgery resident. She has authored and published research projects in Orthopedic Surgery and a joint venture with NASA, Johnson Space Center.