Guest Post by Nicole Jimenez, pre-med student at NYU
Modern plastic surgery, which developed in the first half of the 20th century (but has roots back to the 6th century B.C. in India), has historically been a male-dominated field. Even though the ratio of female to male plastic surgeons is increasing, the vast majority of plastic surgeons remain men, and this when the overwhelming majority of patients are female. As young female plastic surgeons continue to blaze paths and work hard to redresses these imbalances, it is worth looking back in history.
Dr. Alma Dea Morani was the first female plastic surgeon in the United States in 1940's. She revolutionized not just surgery, but also medicine. Her tenacity and fervor to learn led her to become more than merely the “repair doctor” she once was in the Girls Scouts or the sculptor her father wanted her to be.
Dr. Morani entered the fields of general and plastic surgery, and time and time again, she broke the stigma of women not having a place in the operating room with title of ‘doctor.’ She made history by becoming the first female intern and the first female resident of surgery.
During World War II, Dr. Morani volunteered at Valley Forge Hospital and performed several reconstructive surgeries. Through her involvement in the Medical Women's International Association she traveled the world to raise money for clinics in the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan and the Balkans. Dr. Morani placed the first crack in the glass ceiling and subsequently become the first ‘Beauty Boss’ who set the stage for other woman to join the medical field.
The biggest stigma in our society is that women who want to be successful cannot have it all. Dr. Devgan is one of the many women who indeed does have it all. To this point, she is ranked the #1 female plastic surgeon in New York with her own private practice and a booming beauty line. She is an art enthusiast who loves going to the Frick Collection as well as painting her own art. The life of a surgeon involves time management skills, which Dr. Devgan truly has mastered as a mother, successful business woman, and plastic surgeon.
Now in the 21st century, Dr. Devgan has added to the several large nicks in the glass ceiling with her revolutionary and innovative techniques such as her Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty and signature “Devgan tip flip,” not to mention her medical-grade beauty products.
Embracing and inviting change is the foundation of a successful business. Dr. Devgan is a firm believer in change and innovation; therefore, each year, she hires interns and directs them into the life of medicine and business. Having a strong, female mentor in medicine and business is something many women did not have in the 1900’s. By inviting several ambitious interns into the office, Dr. Devgan helps foster the growth of future generations of women in medicine and business.
Dr. Devgan aims to advocate, motivate, and encourage women to continue to break the glass ceiling by stating, “Stay focused. Study hard. Do the right thing. Surround yourself with people who love you. Find happiness in the things you already have. Be strong. Have goals. Aim high. Be a woman!”
Just as Dr. Alma Dea Morina provided her services for those in need, Dr. Devgan has provided her surgical services and positively changed the life of a strong and beautiful woman named Francine. Francine suffered several burns after a jealous ex-boyfriend burned down her house. Upon seeing Francine’s strength and positivity after such a horribly abusive situation, Dr. Devgan offered to help with the recovery. Dr. Devgan was featured on The Doctors television show in an effort to help Francine not only recover, but to also help tell her unfortunate story with the intention of motivating women to advocate for themselves and others.
The story of Francine and Dr. Devgan meeting on The Doctors TV show is a fantastic example of women helping women and empowering them.
Francine, Dr. Devgan and Dr. Alma Dea Morina all have paved the way for today’s women and young girls to stand up for themselves and to strive to be the best they can be in whatever path they choose in life. While there is still work to be done for women in society, we honor the women who have brought us to where we stand today and empower the women of tomorrow to take a step towards shattering the glass ceiling.