Dr. Devgan and her colleagues were proud to have been featured in the New Yorker OR Cover Challenge this week, both on social media and in Newsday. As an accomplished female surgeon, Dr. Devgan says, "Images have power, and seeing images of smart, capable women in positions of authority changes the way we internalize who we are and who we can become."
New Yorker cover with female surgeons mimicked on social media
Females surgeons from across the globe and locally are recreating a New Yorker cover to show diversity in what has typically been considered a male-dominated profession.
The illustration, which was featured on the magazine’s April 3 edition, shows four female surgeons gazing down over a patient on an operating table. After it was published, Susan Pitt, an endocrine surgeon at the University of Wisconsin, challenged her female colleagues to replicate the image.
Pitt shared her recreation on Twitter a day later, using the hashtag #ILookLikeASurgeon. Soon afterward, dozens of other surgeons took her lead.
Stony Brook University Hospital surgeon Aurora Pryor shared her own photo on Twitter on Tuesday, showing herself with three female colleagues in scrubs and surgical masks.
“I think it’s empowering and shows that there is a strong female presence in a field that’s historically been male-dominated,” said Pryor, a professor of surgery and vice chair of clinical affairs.
Pryor, 47, said she’s seen the demographic shift in the surgical field firsthand. While completing her residency at Duke, she was only the 10th woman to graduate from the program and there was only one female faculty member on staff at the time, she said. Now, she says the residency program at Stony Brook has a nearly equal number of men and women.
“It’s great seeing that transition,” she said. “The future of surgery is going to be a lot more evenly split.”
Jennifer Lehman, a breast surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, also helped organize a photo, featuring herself alongside 10 female attending and resident surgeons.
“We just felt inspired by seeing all these women proudly photographing themselves and really just taking pride in what they do,” said Lehman, 43.
The breast surgeon said she thinks the social media campaign combats an “old stereotype.”
“We wanted to show that there’s actually a lot more diversity in the field, both in gender and ethnicity,” she said.