Dr. Palma Shaw, a graduate of the Executive MBA for Physicians class of 2021, is a vascular and endovascular surgeon at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. She also runs the vascular fellowship and teaches general surgical residents. Outside of her clinical and administrative duties, she participates in several regional, national, and international societies. Below Dr. Shaw shares about the webinars that she runs with the International Society of Endovascular Specialists (ISEVS), her time as a female vascular surgeon, and her experience as an EMBA physician.
Please tell me about the webinar you run. Who is it in collaboration with and how did you become involved?
I am on the Executive Council as Secretary for the International Society of Endovascular Specialists (ISEVS). I was asked to run a live webinar called CV Sisterhood in Surgery, which I co-host with Dr. Linda Le, a Vascular Surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital. The webinars started in March 2020 on a monthly basis. We discuss a variety of topics, some medical and some practical. The webinars run from the DeBakey Studio, and I “Zoom in” as do most of the guests. I have also co-hosted ISEVS Critical Issues Series webinars, including one with Dr. Rania Preventza, EMBA’17. If an interesting topic comes up, I add a webinar about it. It has given me an opportunity to give a voice to my colleagues, especially women.
In the CV Sisterhood in Surgery Webinar, we have covered a variety of women’s issues, including:
- COVID Impacts on Career, Pregnancy, and Family
- Further Advanced Degrees for Female Surgeons
- Fertility and Female Surgeons
- Perspective of a Latina Vascular Surgeon
- Single Motherhood as a Surgeon
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Vascular Surgery
Topics I have brought to the Critical Issues webinar include:
- Limb Salvage During a Pandemic
- Women in Global Cardiovascular Care
- Women in Aortic Surgery
- CEO Perspectives on Healthcare and Industry
Where can we find your webinar?
If you search “CV Sisterhood DeBakey” on Google or another ssearch engine, you will be able to find them. They are also available at https://www.isevs.org.
You have talked about being a female surgeon in a male dominated subspecialty. Tell me more about what that has been like and how you have overcome barriers in your field.
My challenges have served as food for discussion in the webinars. I am not only a female in the field of Vascular Surgery (approximately 14% of board-certified vascular surgeons are women), but also a single mother raising children on my own. Fortunately, I have a supportive family. One of the challenges was the lack of female role models. Often, advantages were given to men over women. We have had to work so much harder to move up the ladder. Even now, we struggle to become investigators on clinical trials and receive invitations as speakers for major vascular meetings. Women often get pushed into the venous and wound care fields, as men covet the aortic field. Things are changing slowly.
How has your time in the EMBA influenced your work on this webinar and as a surgeon?
The EMBA has been amazing for my career and this webinar. As we moved through the courses, I was able to apply the teaching immediately in my daily life. Dr. Jon Chilingerian’s Social Networking Project improved my relationships with my co-workers. Dr. Brad Morrison’s Operations Management Assignment helped me gain a better understanding about how the endovascular suite conducted operations and ordering of product. It helped my relationship with my colleagues at Upstate, as they felt invested in my EMBA and were excited that I would better understand their role. I used Dr. Brenda Anderson’s Capital Budget Project to learn about a hybrid room construction that is underway now at Upstate. It allowed me to connect with the people in charge of this renovation and understand more about what was happening in our practice.
The EMBA gave me the confidence to hold webinars on certain topics. I received limited support from my institution for all that I have done, but I felt very supported by my EMBA learning group and by the other classmates and faculty. For example, I would never have had the confidence to interview a CEO for a webinar without having done the EMBA. My recent webinar on June 21 was inspired by Dr. Chilingerian’s Everest Simulation. I got the CEO speaker for this webinar to agree to participate by using what Dr. Chilingerian taught me—Go to A to get to B. The title is: “Climbing Mount Everest and Reaching the Peak in Vascular Surgery: One Woman’s Journey.” I also recently gave a talk called “How to Build a TEAM” for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program for the Eastern Vascular Society. All of the content was derived from my EMBA experience.
What would you want female physicians who are considering an MBA to know?
The EMBA is an excellent opportunity for women in medicine. It helps give us more credibility and an understanding of how the c-suite works. The exchange of ideas from the other classmates is very eye opening. Having such accomplished colleagues believe in and admire you is important. Many women are working in jobs where they are held back and made to feel like they do not have what it takes, all while their male colleagues get promoted with fewer qualifications.
I would highly recommend the EMBA at Brandeis to any of my colleagues. It is a transformative experience.