At Texas A&M, we celebrate the American Medical Association’s Women in Medicine Month this September by highlighting a few of our extraordinary female researchers, scientists, physicians and students who are making meaningful contributions to medicine every day on our campuses and across the globe.

Valerie Van Ravenswaay, DO, is one of these remarkable women. She is a resident with the Texas A&M College of Medicine Family Medicine Residency at Texas A&M Physicians. To help mark Women in Medicine Month, she answers some questions about the profession and her life.

Q: Why did you chose to become a physician?

A: I love people, and I want everyone to have the opportunity to live their life to the fullest extent. To be able to help them do that and share in their experiences is such a privilege.

Q: What’s the greatest part of your work?

A: The best part of being a physician is amazing relationships that you develop with your patients. I have also found that the experiences and lessons that they teach you are an unspeakable reward.

Q: What do you enjoy about working at Texas A&M Physicians?  

A: We have an amazing group of physicians and faculty to work with who love to teach. We are always there for each other, and the community atmosphere makes it both a great place to work and, I think, a fantastic environment for our patients.

Q: How are you advancing women’s health issues?

A: At Texas A&M Physicians, we are privileged to have a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas that allows us the opportunity to provide Pap smears free for women who do not have insurance. These cervical cancer screenings really do save lives, which is why it is so important that they are available to every woman, regardless of her ability to pay.

Q: Are there any women in medicine, past or present, who inspired or influenced you to pursue a career in the field?

A: Ellen Potts, DO, who is a friend and mentor of mine, is a role model for me. She is an emergency medicine physician in Ohio who has a beautiful family and is a triathlon and marathon runner. I really admire her ability to balance her hobbies and her family with her career in medicine.

Q: What obstacles do you see facing woman in medicine?

A: The work-life balance between a career in medicine and being a wife and a mother is always a delicate one. Still, having a supportive family makes a world of difference, and I couldn’t do it without mine.

Q: Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give young girls who want to pursue a career in medicine?

A: Always follow your heart, love the journey no matter how hard it is or where it takes you, and never give up.

Q: What is your personal motto?

A: Live each moment to fullest and as if it was your last, without regrets.

— Christina Sumners

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