Each episode, it’s my mission to introduce you to modern women who are out doing their thing and not letting BS or burnout stop them. Today's guest fits that description for sure. I was fortunate enough to meet today's guest, Dr. Jeanette Wolfe, when I did a speaking event with a women's group at Baystate Health in Western Massachusetts. I’ve come back from every interaction with her feeling so intellectually satisfied. It’s really exciting for me to introduce her to all of you.
Dr. Wolfe is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at UMASS Medical - Baystate Health Campus. Additionally, she's a Sr. Science Consultant for Gender Intelligence Group. She’s spent her entire professional career working and teaching in one of the busiest emergency departments in the Northeast. When she’s not working in Emergency Medicine, she’s digging into all the ways in which biological sex and gender influence our brains and our bodies. She is a woman who deep dives into cutting edge research across different spectrums of science and culture to understand the different responses that men and women have to things like illness, trauma, toxins, and even therapies.
We're going to talk about strategically navigating your career, balancing what excites you with what your organization truly needs, and walking that tightrope between boredom and overwhelm. Additionally, we dig into the topic of sex and gender - a bit of a Sex & Gender Bootcamp. We also geek out over data and eliminating the “anxiety fuzz.” Note: Some topics we discuss may be little more controversial than others. Please know that any of Dr Wolfe's opinions in this show are her own and not affiliated with Baystate Health.
An overarching takeaway from this podcast with Dr. Wolfe was: Everyone is learning. Always. In this episode, we were able to have a conversation about a controversial topic and live to tell about it. Starting with the basics can be pretty powerful.
Additional clarifications from Dr. Wolfe: 1) Unfortunately there is currently no "cure" for HIV, just long term medication. 2) Alcohol dehydrogenase is an enzyme that helps to break down alcohol (and likely Ambien) in the stomach. As it is revved up by testosterone, less alcohol is absorbed in men versus women. 3) I am XX not XY!
Selected link love + resources from the episode:
Nightshift, Mark L. Plaster
Mad Men (TV show)
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Quotes + selected highlights from the episode
All of this wisdom is from Dr. Jeannette Wolfe herself (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:20:28] For many years, I have looked for that magic fairy godmother myself. Somebody to just put their wand down and say to me, “Do this, drop that” At the end of the day, she still hasn't shown up, but maybe she's inside of us all along.
[00:23:01] [On balancing saying yes to opportunities and not burning yourself out] For me, it's this tightrope between being bored and being overwhelmed and trying to stay on that tightrope.
[00:25:18] I think there's this fear for so many of us: We have tried so hard just to get a seat at the table, and then you're [thinking], “Oh my God, I don't want to give up my seat.” At some point, you have to realize that you need to offer the seat to the people behind you. Understand that at some point your plate is becoming so full you can't deliver at the level that you want to deliver at or you're doing it at such a personal cost that it's no longer any fun.
[00:39:53] The training that I got in medical school and much of the training still today is that men and women are not different, except in their bikini zone, and outside our reproductive organs we are exactly the same. We have the same heart, the same liver, the same brains. No, that's not true anymore.
[00:48:19] Much of our medical world is based on a 10 1/2 shoe size. It means that you have medications, therapies, devices, treatments, outpatient, and rehabs that are not based on your biological sex or gender. If we talk about personalized medicine, the first station that we should stop on is whether you have an XX or an XY chromosome.
[00:53:29] Gender is much more a spectrum. Gender is how we identify with ourselves and how we identify with the roles and the expectations of the societal norms in which we live.
[01:04:20] The tricky thing about implicit bias is often the people who are purveying it can't see it.
[01:36:40] I would love listeners to turn over in their own brain the reality that men and women are simply different, and it's okay. It's okay to be different. We have to be careful how we manage those differences. We have to be careful how we message those differences, but that biological sex is important. It's important to how we take care of our bodies in my field of medicine and to how we work with diverse teams in our own organizations. It's okay to talk about this stuff, but we have to be careful and be mindful that we create safe spots to do so because it's important.
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