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Meet the Women in Medicine at GBMC: Susan Aucott, MD

September 23, 2022
Dr. Susan Wright Aucott has been the Director of Neonatology at GBMC HealthCare for two and a half years, bringing 31 years of neonatology experience with her. She earned her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is board-certified in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.

Throughout her career, she has authored 19 book chapters on Neonatology and has authored or co-authored more than 90 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to her role at GBMC, Dr. Aucott also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she received the Miller Coulson Award for Clinical Excellence. Her greatest joy was having her father at the ceremony, her greatest example of compassion and clinical excellence.

Susan Aucott and her father
Susan Aucott, MD, Neonatology, GBMC with her father
Take yourself back. You got your acceptance letter to medical school. Where are you? How are you feeling? What are you most excited about?
Although I had already been accepted at my state medical school, I was on the waiting list at Johns Hopkins. I was spending the summer between college and medical school in the Ivory Coast in West Africa as part of a mission program and had limited communication abilities. I was ecstatic when I received a letter from my parents saying I had been accepted to Johns Hopkins Medical School! I was excited to have such an amazing opportunity to begin my medical education at an institution steeped in the history of medicine and at the forefront of innovation.

What led you to a career in healthcare? What led you to your chosen discipline?
I was exposed to medicine at an early age through my father, a trailblazer as the first general internist in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and my mother, who was a nurse. I gravitated to pediatrics not only because I loved children, but I also enjoyed working with families as a unit. Neonatology allowed me to address a broad array of diseases across organ systems while still focusing on family-centered care.

Alongside caring for patients, what is one other thing you love about your role?
I have always enjoyed sharing my experience with others and enjoy teaching at all levels, from medical students and fellows to nurses and advanced practitioners.

What informs your leadership style? What one skill would you recommend a future female leader in medicine cultivate?
My leadership style is listening and leading by example. An important leadership skill is learning to encourage participation from all parties and listening to diverse voices before making decisions or changes.

At GBMC, our vision is to take care of patients as if they were our own loved ones. Who are you picturing when you care for patients?
Early in my career, I saw myself in the parent’s shoes with my patients being like my children. Now, the parents are more like my children, and my patients feel more like my two granddaughters.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your professional career?
I am most proud of my 17 years as the fellowship program director at Hopkins. Having had the opportunity to work with and mentor many trainees over the years, it allowed me to not only shape future neonatologist, but required ongoing learning and skill development.

What has helped you navigate challenges or barriers to achieving your success?
My family was my rock in shaping all that I did. They continue to give me the strength and support I need to challenge some of the established expectations of a woman in medicine.

What do you do to decompress?
I hike on weekends, play piano, do word/number puzzles, like Sudoku, Wordle and others as well as spend time with family.

What do you think the future of medicine looks like for women?
Continued improvement in flexibility for work and family without sacrificing career advancement

What does being a women in medicine mean to you?
Full of many joys and challenges, but I hope I have been an example to those who I have mentored and encountered along the way, and helped to make the challenging path of navigating a career in medicine as a woman a little smoother for those who come behind me.
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