Other Services & Specialties, Transplant

WATCH: Transplant Surgeon Discusses Long Journey Towards Becoming a 'Woman in Surgery'

June 7, 2024 - Eden McCleskey

In the latest episode of Houston Methodist Hospital's "Women in Surgery" video series, Dr. Shlomit Schaal, chief physician executive, interviews Dr. Constance Mobley, critical care and liver transplant surgeon, about her unconventional path to becoming a surgeon and overcoming historical barriers to entry for female surgeons.

The series, which highlights the achievements and experiences of female surgeons at the hospital, launched earlier this spring with an episode featuring Dr. Kathleen Kobashi, chief of Urology at Houston Methodist.

In the second installment, Dr. Schaal and Dr. Mobley discuss the rigorous path required to become a transplant surgeon and the lingering biases that female surgeons sometimes still encounter today.

Dr. Mobley initially pursued a Ph.D. in molecular physiology, then decided to pursue her M.D. and become both a critical care and transplant surgeon. In all, her chosen career path required more than a dozen years of postgraduate education and training.

"The big running joke in my family was that I was a 'forever student,'" Dr. Mobley explained. "In a way, they were right, though, because what I love about surgery is there is always so much more to learn and discover. I will never stop wanting to learn or find myself bored in this career."

Reflecting on her initial hesitations, Dr. Mobley recounts how she once vowed never to become a surgeon, a decision influenced by her perception of surgeons as "unfeeling." Her perspective shifted during her training at Vanderbilt University, where she was inspired by Dr. John Tarpley, a prominent figure in the field of surgery.

Navigating a male-dominated field presented challenges, but Dr. Mobley credits the supportive environment at Vanderbilt, the University of Michigan, where she did her residency, and Houston Methodist, where she serves as medical director of the Surgical & Liver ICU and program director for the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship.

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