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Jesse B.

AWESOME OCCUPATION

Ophthalmologist

FAVORITE SCRUBS

Rafaela™/Zamora™

FAVORITE COLOR

Purple

Q: Can you describe your relationship with medicine in one word?

Q: Can you describe your relationship with medicine in one word?

A: I think that the best single word is ‘committed’. Working in medicine is like being in a long-term relationship. There are highs and lows. There are times that are easy and times that are hard. That's why that single word ‘commitment’ really stands out to me because you have to be focused and in it for the long haul.

Q: Can you tell us about yourself?

A: I'm Jesse. I'm an ophthalmologist and ocular oncologist practicing in Los Angeles. Ocular oncology is sort of a weird field, but it means that I treat tumors in the eyes of adults and children.

Q: Can you describe your relationship with medicine in one word?

A: So many words come to mind. Long-term, passionate, focused. But honestly, I think that the best single word is ‘committed’.

Working in medicine is like being in a long-term relationship. There are highs and lows. There are times that are easy and times that are hard. That's why that single word ‘commitment’ really stands out to me because you have to be focused and in it for the long haul.

Q: Why did you choose the field you’re in?

A: I grew up poor, and like a lot of middle schoolers, I had teeth that needed some help. And you see me now as this really confident, outgoing woman, which I am, but I was really embarrassed about my teeth when I was younger, and there was a dentist in my community who took care of me, regardless of my parent's ability to pay. That made such an impact on me. I was no longer embarrassed, and I started to smile and raise my hand in class. Beyond that, though, it really fostered my desire to help other people, and to be with them during parts of their life that's hard.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge facing women in healthcare?

A: Ah, that's a great question. I think that the same societal roles and expectations that women are met with across fields are also really deeply embedded and entrenched in medicine.

Q: How has being a woman empowered you to thrive in your field?

A: So many things. I think women are naturally very compassionate and empathetic, and actually becoming a mother made me a better doctor. So when parents bring their young child to me with a severe life-threatening or vision-threatening disease, I really understand what it must be like for those parents to hand off their young child to a near stranger, because now I have a young daughter. So I do think that expanding my own roles as a woman has made me a better doctor.

Q: Do you feel a greater sense of responsibility as a woman in healthcare?

A: Absolutely. I didn’t come up with this quote but I use it all the time — you can be what you see — and I think it's so important, whether you talk about women or underrepresented minorities. In medical school, I just didn't see a lot of women that were blending a real, strong, amazing career with a wonderful and balanced home life. I knew that I wanted that — I knew I wanted to get married, be a mother, have a family — but I also wanted to be a physician and a surgeon. And even though it wasn't that long ago that I went to medical school, it was long enough that women still weren't talking about it.

Q: How do you balance your nursing career with life?

A: I'm asked this a lot and I like to pride myself on the fact that I have achieved some levels of balance. But if I'm honest with you, I think it's an acceptance of a constant state of imbalance. That's my balance.

Q: What would you tell your younger self about being a doctor?

A: This is a marathon, not a sprint.

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