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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

By: Sophia Costan, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, MD Class of 2024

When I was 13, I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, a disorder that causes the thyroid to overproduce hormones. Symptoms can include anxiety, tremors, hair and weight loss and puffy eyes, among others. The disease is treatable, but it was pretty scary stuff for a teenage girl.

Fortunately, I had an ally: a female endocrinologist who didn’t just prescribe medicine. She took the time to really communicate with me and calm my fears.

Her thoughtful care was one of the factors that inspired me to become a physician. Today, I’m a first-year student at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in Scranton, studying to be not only an expert on anatomy and diagnosis, but also practicing to be the sort of patient advocate I was lucky enough to meet as a teen.

On Feb. 3, we’ll celebrate National Women Physicians Day, marking the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, back in 1849. The holiday is a reminder of the strides women have made in medicine — and the distance we still need to travel to achieve pay equity and full equality in the workplace. 

I’m proud that one day I’ll join the ranks of female physicians. Women’s presence and perspectives are needed in ERs, family practices and surgical suites. Whether it’s the opportunity to put a female patient at ease or to empower a girl with knowledge about her health — and perhaps inspire her to consider medicine as a career — I will use my position to support my female patients and colleagues. 

I hope you’ll join me and the Geisinger family in honoring the female physicians who’ve touched your lives, and in wishing success to those of us who are just embarking on a journey in medicine as we carry on Dr. Blackwell’s tradition of caring, service and professionalism.
Sophia Costan
Sophia Costan, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, MD Class of 2024
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