Women in Medicine September 17, 2021
Savita Arya, MD
During September, which is the American Medical Association's Women in Medicine month,
PCOM recognizes our female physicians who serve as faculty members and role models
for our students across all three of our campuses in Philadelphia, Suwanee and Moultrie.
Each campus has selected a representative "Woman in Medicine" to feature in a web
story, however we honor and celebrate all of our female physicians and student doctors
and their commitment to advancing equity and creating change.
Savita Arya, MD, is an associate professor of pathology at PCOM South Georgia. Dr. Arya has taught pathology to medical students for more than 20 years. During her teaching career, she has held several academic
positions including assistant dean of basic sciences, director of medical education,
course coordinator of pathology and module director of the Heme-Lymph module. She
has also served as chair of grand rounds committee, vice chair of students promotions
committee and chair of curriculum management sub-committee for the CAAM-HP and DMB
accreditation visits; and ExamSoft manager.
Who/what encouraged you to pursue a career in medicine?
When I was eight years old, I developed acute appendicitis that needed emergency surgery.
My father was out of town that day, and my mom was alone at home with two other children.
While the details in my mind are pretty blurred, I do distinctly remember the kindness
of our neighbors and friends, the generosity of the doctors and nurses, and the friendliness
of the paramedics, all of which allowed me to heal and recover faster. I ended up
staying in the hospital for over ten days. It was there that I experienced the power
and compassion of medicine. The hospital staff and medical personnel left an everlasting
impression, and I felt a connection with medicine—a bond that was only going to get
stronger with time.
A few years later, my grandmother came to visit my family when she needed an eye surgery.
She was not very happy to leave her small countryside home, and she insisted that
her move was only temporary. However, life, unfortunately, had other plans for her.
A few weeks later, she fell at home and suffered a hip fracture and soon became bedridden.
Being both hypertensive and a diabetic, she was a poor candidate for surgery at her
age. She stayed with us for over ten years before she passed away at the age of 103.
I was very attached to her and could never forget her suffering and anguish in her
last years. I often wished I could do something more to help her other than just giving
her daily insulin and monitoring her blood pressure and glucose levels.
While my childhood trip to the emergency room ignited my passion for medicine, it
was my experience with my close grandmother that cemented my career as a physician.
That was when I knew I wanted to become a member of the healing team, helping each
patient with the same empathy and kindness as I did with my grandmother.
With these ambitions and with the support of my family, I grew myself into a strong
healer and educator for the community.
Why is it important for women to be in medicine?
Women physicians add a tremendous amount of strength and grit to medicine and are
valuable healthcare assets. Recent studies show that women physicians may provide
better clinical care than their male counterparts.
For years, women have been in the minority when it comes to leadership positions in
healthcare. However, this trend could change. More women than men were enrolled in
U.S. medical schools this past year. The modern medical woman wants to teach, mentor
and lead. It seems likely that in the future, women physicians will have opportunities
to impact the medical community in ways Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the
United States to receive a medical degree, could not even have imagined.
What advice would you give to a young female who is interested in becoming a physician?
Be the change you want to see in the medical profession. Nothing is impossible once
you set your mind to it.
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About PCOM South Georgia
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the
Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both
a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit
institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields.
Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state,
PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The
medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019,
has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission
on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.
For more information, contact:
Public Relations and Social Media Specialist
Office: 229-668-3198 | Cell: 229-873-2003
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