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Women in Medicine Spotlight: Tiffany Mayo, MD

Tiffany MayoTiffany Mayo, MD, shares advice and reflects on what has inspired and challenged her as a woman in medicine.
 

What is your name, title, and department?
My name is Tiffany Mayo, and I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology.

Where did you attend medical school?

I attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Why did you decide to get into medicine?

I went into medicine mainly because I wanted to take care of people and have an impactful career. I had seen my grandmother take care of people for a very long time, and it got me interested in caring for people in general. I was a first-generation college graduate, so it took a little time to navigate my career plans, but I knew that to take care of patients to the best of my ability and potential, medical school would be the key for me. I  have not regretted anything about it. It has been a wonderful journey.

What is your leading charge at UAB?

I feel like my primary responsibility and leading charge is delivering excellent patient care. That is always my top goal. Also, UAB is a place where I can collaborate with a lot of different physicians, providers, other faculty, staff, and researchers, so I use all of those resources in doing so. Another thing I’m really interested in is ethnic skin. Skin of color is one of my sincere interests, and since I have become a dermatologist at UAB, I have made sure to give a lot more exposure to conditions that are common in skin of color and provide excellent treatment of those conditions.

Do you feel that being a woman helps you in your job?

Yes. Everything that has made me who I am has been helpful in my job. It is challenging being a woman. There are a lot of obstacles, everyone knows that. There are also a lot of obstacles in being a physician, so when you combine the two, there are a lot of different challenges there. I feel like facing challenges gives you perspective and helps you better understand people. It also makes you more determined. I’m definitely a better doctor because of the challenges and obstacles I have overcome. I wear a lot of hats, just like any other woman, so I understand that my patients do the same. Being a woman in this profession has helped me provide my patients the understanding, care, and determination they deserve from their doctor.

What would you say to a young woman who aspires to be a physician or surgeon?

The first thing I would say is GREAT. This is a great profession. Don’t give up. I’m sure everyone says there are a lot of challenges that go along with the journey of becoming a physician or surgeon, but the reward is something you cannot even imagine. Every day I feel fulfilled and rewarded through the services I provide to my patients, so if you are interested in a wonderful field, do not give up. This is a journey that is definitely worth taking, and it will reward you for the rest of your life.

What are some of the struggles you face as a woman in medicine?

I would say one of the struggles is just wearing all the hats and wanting to be very good at all of the different tasks set before me. I have a family, I’m a physician, and I’m a researcher. I feel that as a woman, you’re kind of expected to wear a lot more hats. So understanding my limitations, understanding when to say no, getting help when needed – all of these things make it possible to take on and fulfill multiple roles.

Do you have a strong female mentor, and, if so, how does she encourage you in your practice?

I have a lot of strong female mentors. I feel that in order to know you can do something, it is very helpful to see someone who has done it. Like I said, I was a first-generation college graduate, so my mentoring started even as a child. My grandmother was probably my very first mentor. Along the way, I have always made sure that I had a mentor. They haven’t  always been female, but I think strong female mentors who have families and who are rising to the top in their careers have shown me that I can do the same. The chair of my department is a female, so in my own personal career I have a great female mentor I see every day. Seeing her take on her many responsibilities encourages me to continue to set and achieve new goals.

To watch more of Dr. Mayo's story and learn what has inspired and challenged her as a woman in medicine, click here.