ACG president seeks bigger role for women in health care


Amy E. Foxx-Orenstein, FACP

Occupation: Clinical physician/researcher, Mayo Clinic

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Age: 51

Current Residence: Rochester, Minn.

Hometown: West Chester, Pa.

Family: Husband, one daughter.

Medical school: Des Moines University (formerly University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences).

Residency and fellowships: Internal medicine, Geisinger Medical Center; gastroenterology, nutrition, pancreatico-biliary disease at Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia Hospitals.

First job: Postdoctorate faculty at the Medical College of Virginia.

Something I wish I'd learned in medical school: Importance of literacy as a predictor of patient understanding and satisfaction.

Why I became an internist: I wanted to comprehensively treat the whole patient.

Most rewarding aspect of my job: Positively impacting a patient's quality of life.

Most meaningful professional accomplishment: President of the American College of Gastroenterology [took office in October 2007], teaching awards.

Future goals: Raise awareness among public and policy makers on the effects of obesity on GI disease and its complications, improve leadership education for women.

Hardest medical lesson learned: Prevention beats repair.

Thoughts on women in medicine: Women are the primary drivers of health care decisions in the home. As leaders in health care service, women's opportunities to positively impact family health and global health may increase.

Personal heroes: Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was charismatic and effective, before and after great personal suffering. He brought a country from emotional and financial poverty to great heights. Abraham Lincoln, by all accounts, a profoundly depressed person in adulthood, whose leadership rose above personal and societal conflict, and Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post.

Pet peeves: Rush-hour traffic.

Favorite ways to spend free time: Horseback riding in the desert and hiking down the Grand Canyon—not up!

Favorite author or poet: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Books on night stand: “Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships” by Daniel Goleman, “The End of the Alphabet” by CS Richardson, “The Wisdom of Crowds” by James Surowiecki, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, “I Am America (and So Can You!)” by Stephen Colbert, Sodoku puzzles.

Most meaningful non-medical accomplishment: Raising our daughter.

Item I can't live without: My identity.

Most surprising thing about me: I drove an 18-wheel semi-tractor trailer as a job during college.

Biggest regret: None.

If I weren't a physician, I would be: An activist.