‘She Looks Like a Cardiologist’: New Program Seeks to Inspire High School Girls

By: Courtney Caprara

For female high school students interested in health care, pursuing a career in medicine can be daunting. With so many fields to choose from and decisions to make as they prepare to continue their education, many young women are uncertain of how to achieve their career goals.

To help these students, Dr. Katie Berlacher, a cardiologist and director of UPMC’s cardiology fellowship program, teamed up with Diana Rodgers of Fit Education Consulting to develop the inaugural ‘She Looks Like a Cardiologist’ event, which brought together talented girls from Pittsburgh-area high schools and female cardiology residents, fellows and physicians from UPMC. They spent a morning engaged in education, conversation and mentorship.

“Despite the strides women have made in medical school graduation rates over the past two decades, we remain significantly underrepresented in cardiology specifically,” said Berlacher. “As a woman in this field, I hope to connect as many future female cardiologists and health care leaders as possible with inspiring women who can use their personal experiences to guide these students in a meaningful way.”

In addition to the morning’s discussions, which focused on cardiology in the community and how to approach medical school applications, among other topics, each student attending the workshop was paired with a resident or fellow to serve as her mentor as she finishes high school and continues to higher education.

“We are immensely proud that more than one-third of our cardiology fellows at UPMC are female, which is higher than the national average of 20 percent,” said Berlacher. “As women, we must work together to support the next generation of females in our field.  As ‘She Looks Like a Cardiologist’ continues to grow, we hope to motivate more girls to pursue cardiology in the years to come.”

Visit the ‘She Looks Like a Cardiologist’ website to learn more about the program, and visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute website to learn more about residency and fellowship opportunities at UPMC.