Women in Medicine Month: "Start with what you have and be an advocate for yourself, always"

Pediatric Neurosurgeon Carolina Sandoval-Garcia, MD, Assistant Professor, Assistant Residency Program Director, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer in the Department of Neurosurgery, was featured in an article written for the U's Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS) to celebrate National Women in Medicine Month (September).

Biography
Carolina Sandoval-Garcia, MDDr. Sandoval-Garcia (pictured at left) was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She attended Medical School at the Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Senora del Rosario University and subsequently joined the Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School as a research fellow in neuroimmunology. She then went on to complete her Neurological Surgery residency at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. During residency, she conducted research that laid the foundation for novel cerebral angiography techniques like 4D DSA and developed a particular interest in pediatric conditions. She then completed a Pediatric Neurosurgery fellowship at the University of Miami – Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

During her training she actively engaged in international efforts to facilitate pediatric neurosurgical care and education in developing countries like Kenya and Haiti. After graduating from fellowship Dr. Sandoval-Garcia returned to the Midwest in late 2018 to take a position as an attending neurosurgeon and Assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, MN. Some of her research interests include hydrocephalus and application of novel neuroimaging techniques to neurosurgical conditions. She is assistant program director of the Neurosurgery residency program and leads diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the department.

What is a piece of career advice you have for women in your field?
Identify good mentors and partners in work and in life, set up clear goals that closely align with your interests and passions and work hard to get there. Start with what you have and be an advocate for yourself, always.

What do you think is an important issue to consider when it comes to gender equity in academic medicine and science right now? Why?
There is still a big gap when it comes to leadership, recognition, and compensation. Specifically, we need to devote resources to develop and implement strategies that address and eliminate disparities in terms of promotion within academic ranks, salary negotiation and access and support for leadership and elected positions. Only after this, will we truly have equal opportunities at career advancement for women.

Dr. Sandoval-Garcia is a member of the Salary, Resource, and Leadership Equity CWIMS Action Group.

Learn more about the other women featured in the CWIMS article.

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