Only 5% of the nation’s academic plastic surgeons are women of color, a statistic that got Wilmina N. Landford, M.D. – a plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medicine and among that 5% – to thinking.
“I was curious to know where women who share a similar ethnic background were ending up,” she said. “I wanted to learn about their journey and I wanted to create a medium for us to connect and empower each other.”
Her curiosity led her to create Women of Color in Plastic Surgery (WOCPRS), an organization designed, she said, “to engage, connect, and empower plastic surgeons and plastic surgery trainees who identify as women of color through discussion and mentorship/sponsorship.”
Landford also knows that women in medicine are less likely to receive grant funding and bylines in journals and are in fewer leadership positions than their counterparts.
“The absence of a professional network in addition to societal biases placed on women and specifically women of color make it difficult for this group to make it up the ranks,” she said, when asked the top challenge facing working women face.
Landford earned her medical degree in 2016 at Stony Brook University, in New York.