Meet the Women in Medicine at GBMC: Robin Motter-Mast, DO, FAAFP, CPE
She began her career with GBMC in 2005, after eight years practicing medicine, and has helped the organization develop and manage one of the largest primary care networks in the Baltimore area. She served as the first female Chair of GBMC’s Family Medicine Department from 2008-2016 and as the Medical Director of Primary Care, Population Health, and Community Benefits at GBMC from 2016-2020. She believes in improving the healthcare system in the United States through intentional care design.
Take yourself back. You got your acceptance letter to medical school. Where are you? How are you feeling? What are you most excited about?
I was waitlisted for medical school after I graduated from college. I received a call from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine letting me know they wanted me to come to their school, but in a year. It was August, and I was at home with my parents. I was disappointed to have to wait, but so excited to know I was going onto my next steps of becoming a doctor. I knew I wanted to be a doctor since 7th grade. I could not believe that it was going to happen!
What led you to a career in healthcare? What led you to your chosen discipline?
I knew I wanted to be a physician since 7th grade. I find the ability of the human body to function and heal fascinating. I am also energized by relationships and helping others. It was hard to pick a specialty because so much of medicine excited me. Family medicine was a good choice for me because I enjoy so many aspects of medicine and can form longstanding relationships with my patients. It allows me to oversee many aspects of a patient’s health and guide and direct them. It is really a privilege to work with people and support the health of a community.
Alongside caring for patients, what is one other thing you love about your role?
I love supporting my fellow physicians! Working in healthcare is hard but being part of a great team makes it easier.
What informs your leadership style? What one skill would you recommend a future female leader in medicine cultivate?
My personality and values are what led me to my leadership style. My leadership style is transformational. I love innovation and rely heavily on teamwork to get things done.
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?
My father-in-law suffered a serious stroke at 72. It left him paralyzed on his left side and with some cognitive issues. He is who I often think of when I hear that question.
What has helped you navigate challenges or barriers to achieving your success?
Having a strong sense of who I am and knowing my strengths and weaknesses has helped me shape my career. Life is easier and more enjoyable when you follow you passion. Having a support system is very important. My family and colleagues have been that support for me. Finding a coach or mentor is also extremely helpful.
What do you do to decompress?
Spend time with friends and family. I love an adventure, so finding something new to discover is always fun!
What does being a women in medicine mean to you?
Being a physician is my dream come true! Finding my way through the profession as a woman has been interesting. In my first week of medical school, it was announced that 40 percent of our class was females, and that this was the largest number of females in any medical school class in the city of Philadelphia. That was eye opening.
As I began my journey to become a physician. There would be some challenges, but there are challenges everywhere for all of us. Women bring a unique perspective to medicine. Most of us are innate caregivers. Our intuition helps us connect with our patients and provide healing and comfort in a way that is often different from our male colleagues. We are different, and we should celebrate these differences. The number of women in medicine has come a long way, and I am grateful to be part of the journey.