Q: Are you a planner?
A: I am in theory. I'd like to be a planner, but really, I'm kind of a fly by the seat of my pants girl.
Q: Can you tell us about yourself?
A: My name is Pamela Mehta. I'm a board certified orthopedic surgeon in the Bay Area. I've been practicing for over 10 years now. I own my own practice, Resilience Orthopedics, and I have three children.
Q: You have three children?
A: Boys and girls. Yes, I have a six year old, a five year old and an 18 month old girl.
Q: How is life right now?
A: Well, our life is a little chaotic right now. I wouldn't want it any other way. It's awesome.
Q: What was your path to a career in medicine?
A: I was good at math and science growing up, and I knew I wanted to do something in STEM. I also really wanted to help people, and more specifically fix people. When I went to medical school, I just fell in love with the operating room and that adrenaline rush you get when you're able to fix a patient. That's how I chose surgery and ultimately, orthopedic surgery.
Q: If you had to describe your relationship with orthopedic surgery in one word, what word would you choose?
A: It's complicated!
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge for females in healthcare and orthopedic surgery?
A: I think the biggest challenge for women in healthcare would be trying to figure out how you're going to balance family and a career. It's a problem in the United States that we don't have significant maternity leave and laws protecting young mothers. I really hope that in the years to come we can solve this, because mothers are such an important part of the workforce.
Q: How was your experience on maternity leave?
A: I would like to say it went well, but it did not for my first two maternity leaves. They were really tough. I was in sort of a toxic work situation, and ultimately, that helped me realize that I wanted to start my own practice.
Q: What is something that being a woman has enabled and empowered you to do in your field that you may not have done otherwise?
A: I'm a surgeon in a male-dominated field, so I can relate to patients on a different level. So many of my patients come to me saying “you really spent time talking to me, getting to know me, and really understanding what my problems and ailments are before taking me to the OR.” I have that instinct as a woman and as a mom.
Q: I love that, how has mothering impacted your day-to-day life at work and the way that you work and interact?
A: Absolutely, I think mothering humbles you. I definitely think that plays a role in the way that I practice medicine and run my business. I'm able to see things from a different perspective because mothering has taught me to not think of myself first.
Q: Do you have rituals or practices that keep you balanced and grounded?
A: Working out is my therapy! I have to take 45 minutes to an hour a day for myself to sweat it out like crazy. It absolutely re-centers me.
Q: Are you a planner?
A: I'd like to be a planner, but really I'm kind of a fly by the seat of my pants girl.
Q: What would you want young women to know about medicine?
A: What I want young women to know is that they can absolutely design the life that they want.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The people, I get to meet patients from all walks of life!