Changing the Dialogue: Encouraging Young Female Trainees to Pursue Cardiology

Supria Batra, MD, FACC

As a recent graduate of fellowship training, junior faculty member, and female academic cardiologist – I commonly find myself in conversation with young women at various stages of medical training. It is uplifting to hear of female trainees' individual journeys, as well as their hopes for future career paths. However, I am troubled to find that young women interested in cardiology continue to display the same hesitations that I did one decade ago as a medical student – is work-life balance possible? Is female mentorship widely available? What will my interaction be with male colleagues and patients? These hesitations have transcended the years despite greater than 42% of current physicians being female.1 Below I include some common reservations cited by female trainees considering cardiology; I challenge myself, as well as my peers, to reflect on these recurrent conversations and help change the dialogue and push forward the recognition of advances and resources amongst our ever-evolving community.

Work-Life Balance

During my personal conversations with young trainees, I commonly find that the number one hesitation to pursue cardiology is the fear of being unable to obtain a work-life balance. I encourage trainees to recognize the breadth of diversity that cardiology offers – including both ACGME accredited subspecialties (electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, advanced heart failure and fellowship, congenital heart disease) and non-ACGME accredited subspecialties (cardio-oncology, women's health, lipidology, amongst others). Furthermore, professional opportunity within general cardiology or a particular area of expertise expands well beyond clinical practice to include roles in industry, pharmaceutical research, administration, and much more. The variety offered within this field allows ample opportunity for a cardiologist to tailor their career to their personal ambitions and lifestyle choices.


In a field that remains predominantly male, it is essential for female mentorship to be available to young trainees. If such mentorship is not available directly in one's medical school or training program, I encourage trainees to remember that innumerable resources are available through professional societies (i.e., ACC's Women in Cardiology Section), regional meetings, as well as social media platforms. For example, a search on Twitter with the appropriate hashtag (i.e., #ACCWIC or #WomenInCardiology), provides access to countless possible mentors within any cardiac subspecialty, invitations to in-person and virtual networking events, as well as live, ongoing debates on various topics within the field. Due to the ongoing limits of in-person meetings due to the current global pandemic, virtual access to female mentorship within cardiology has expanded exponentially in the last 18 months and will only grow stronger in the near future.

Length of Training

A minimum of six years of post-graduate training and additional time required to maintain a competitive curriculum vitae is overwhelming and daunting to young trainees and practicing cardiologists alike. To help change the perception of advanced training, I encourage our peers to remind trainees of the following:

  1. Pick an area of specialty practice based on your passion – without that passion, any length of training will seem overwhelming
  2. Maintain mental well-being and take time for oneself throughout your career
  3. Remember that a breadth of opportunity is available within the field of cardiology, and you can tailor a future career based on your own personal goals

Lastly, I think it is essential to acknowledge that cardiology does truly remain a male-dominated field and that this is unlikely to change in the immediate future. However, I hope with acknowledgment of this fact and an active effort to modify our day-to-day dialogue surrounding the field, we will help motivate an increasing number of female candidates to pursue a career in this diverse and rewarding field.

Visit ACC's Clinician Well-Being Portal for resources to manage burnout and address work-life balance. Also, find mentors and mentees on ACC's Member Hub.


Supria Batra, MD, FACC

This article was authored by Supria Batra, MD, FACC, cardiologist at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC.

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