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Leadership & Management

‘Brave and measured’ in pushing boundaries for meaningful change: RACS President on IWD 2024

Health Industry Hub | March 4, 2024 |

Leadership & Management: In celebration of International Women’s Day 2024, Associate Professor Kerin Fielding, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) President and a pioneering figure in orthopaedic surgery, shared insights into her unique journey. As the first woman in NSW to become an orthopaedic surgeon and the third female to serve as RACS President, she reflected on her experiences and highlighted the changing dynamics of DE&I in her field.

“We’ve got to make surgery and medicine more attractive to younger women and make it possible for them to have a family prior to training and during training,” she said after highlighting that only 12% of Australian surgeons are women. “We need to strongly advocate the whole pathway to make life easier for them [in balancing surgical training and having a family].”

Discussing the IWD theme Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress, A/Professor Fielding explained how the theme aligns with her personal passion for gender equity advocacy. She provided valuable insights on becoming an influential female leader while remaining authentic and true to one’s values, emphasising the importance of authenticity in leadership.

In the context of her practice in rural NSW, A/Professor Fielding addressed key gaps in equity of access to care and suggested ways to address these challenges.

“We need to be brave and measured. We need to admit that we have a problem and we need to fix it. We can’t just leave it to the policymakers and government,” she said.

Additionally, she outlined the policy and advocacy initiatives that RACS is prioritising to ensure a high standard of surgical care across both public and private healthcare systems.

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