Baylor Scott & White Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute is a leader in the field of transplant in numerous areas. Today, they are responsible for one more: Baylor Scott & White Health has the largest team of female abdominal transplant surgeons in the United States.
Known as the “Fab 5” on the Baylor Dallas campus, the team is almost 50 percent of Baylor Scott & White’s abdominal transplant team, an elite group of surgeons in themselves. While more than 50 percent of medical students are women, fewer than 25 percent of them are surgeons.
“In comparison to men, there are few women in transplant. So to have a single program with five female surgeons is unusual,” says Anji Wall, MD, PhD, an abdominal transplant surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center, part of Baylor Scott & White Health, and vice chair of research for the Baylor Scott & White abdominal transplant team.
In addition to Dr. Wall, the team includes Liza Johannesson, MD, Medical Director of Baylor Scott & White’s Uterus Transplant Team, Johanna Bayer, MD, Surgical Director of Transplantation at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – All Saints, Hoylan Fernandez, MD, Chief of Hepatobiliary Surgery at Baylor Scott & White All Saints, and Suzie Lee, MD, a multi-organ transplant surgeon at Baylor Scott & White, and the newest member of the team.
“As a surgical trainee, it really inspired me to watch the organs go from cold and gray on ice, then when we plug them in, they fill with blood and it’s alive,” Lee says. “It’s very satisfying to work with so many colleagues who take these very ill patients and get them to a place, they can lead normal lives. It’s really amazing.”
With diversity in the patient population, Dr. Fernandez says diversity in the surgical staff is important as well. “Not only females but also minority populations are greatly underserved. It’s extremely helpful for all of our transplant patients to see female surgeons on their care team.”