Latha Alaparthi, MD, gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Center of Connecticut, talks about lessons she has learned from being a woman in a medical leadership position and what she hopes to teach others at the Women in GI Luncheon at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2022.
Latha Alaparthi, MD, gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Center of Connecticut, was recently named the first first female president and chair of the board of directors of the Digestive Health Physicians Association, and will be speaking at the Women in GI Luncheon at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2022. DDW 2022 will be held virtually and in San Diego, California, from May 21 to 24.
Can you give a preview of what you’ll be discussing at the Women in GI Luncheon at DDW 2022?
I want to make sure that anyone that's even beginning in a leadership role realize that some of the core aspects that any leader needs to learn don't change and no matter where you are with your seniority, which is really understanding what your core principles are and adhering to them no matter where you are in your leadership level.
One of the biggest things that I found useful over the years is introspecting—introspecting on what your strengths are, where your weaknesses are, and really acknowledging them and building on your strengths and wherever your weaknesses are, finding your colleagues or employees that can help you with those and make sure that you have resources that can help you with those.
Lastly, it's easier said than done, but to build resilience, it's so important. Just because I'm in a senior position in an organization doesn't mean I don't get questioned every day on my abilities or along the lines, and you need to know how to answer, you need to know how to conduct yourself. There is also the impostor syndrome and the self doubt, which always plagues women, which I don't take as a negative thing. I think it always makes me better. But it's important to know what you're good at or not good at and build that strength to be able to answer. That's what I'm hoping to focus on. I'm hoping that that actually makes people feel like okay, I'm not alone.
Is there anything else you're looking forward to talking about at DDW 2022?
One of the things that we're talking about at DDW, or at least hoping to promote, is how to help early career physicians look at different job opportunities in private practice, because that's not something that we readily have available. Also to look at the pros and cons and really learn what they get into, and eventually we're hoping to create processes or pathways so that they feel mentored and understand the business. When I joined private practice, I really had no understanding of exactly how the business runs or what it takes. People become partners within 2 or 3 years, and they take on risks without understanding the business, and I think putting something in place as an educational process will be really useful, so we're hoping to be able to do that.