When I first thought about creating the book “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats.” I thought it was just an idea. I had no clue who would buy into my dream of telling the real story of real women in medicine. I hesitated when I posted the invitation for authors in the book. After mulling over thoughts of rejection and disappointment that my idea would not become reality, I was happy to find that I was wrong. There were close to 50 women in medicine who were interested in being in the book. We eventually finalized 20 authors for the book. My idea was on its way to reality. Those 20 women who took the leap to say “yes” to being in my book project became the impetus to so much more.
Putting together the book and telling our various stories was as some points difficult. Since this was the first book written by most of the authors, there was some hesitancy that needed to be overcome. A lot of the stories reached into some raw emotions that colleagues and our patients may not be aware of. Frankly, many of us kept things secret to uphold the appearance that we reached our success without any hurdles or challenges. A lot of our fears had to be put aside in order to show the world our real stories. Little did we know that our stories would represent the stories of so many more.
At our book launch in Washington, DC, all the authors of the book gathered in person for the first time. Of course, we knew of each other names and voices from our several conference calls, but little did we know the true connection we had with each other. As we sat on the stage launching our book baby to the world, we realized that we had something special among the 20 of us. We all came from different areas of the country, stages of life, and ethnicities with a goal of bettering the healthcare field for all women.
We not only saw the magic among each other, but the audience who cheered us on during our book launch did too. Towards the end of the launch one of the audience members said that our stories helped her realize that she is not alone in her experiences as a working doctor. By telling our stories, she felt uplifted and encouraged. At that moment, all the authors knew that the book was only the beginning of our journey together and that women in white coats was more than a book – it was the beginning of a movement.
Since our book was published in May 2018, we have had sold close to 2,000 books, have had book signings around the country, been invited for paid speaking engagements, created a blog with over 35,000 viewers since its launch, and are now creating a conference and wellness retreat scheduled for April 2019. There we will also hold an awards ceremony to recognize Women in White Coat Heroes.
We still hold on to the goal of telling the true stories of and being the voice of women working in healthcare. We have written in the book and on the blog about the experience of being a woman in a white coat. We also discuss some difficult topics (#MeToo in medicine, gender pay disparity among doctors, physician suicide and gun violence among others) in order to create a conversation and bring awareness to issues important to our tribe and also to eventually bring about positive change in these areas. Through the book, blog, live videos, and conference we aim to empower women in white coats and those who are considering a career in our fields. In our near future we aim to help supply more instructional information for women in white coats to excel in their careers and personal lives as well.
I still stand in amazement of how Women in White Coats has grown. I am excited to see what 2019 will bring us this year!
Dr. Amber Robins is a board-certified family medicine doctor practicing in Arlington, VA, and graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She is a recent Health and Media fellow graduate from Georgetown University and PBS News Hour. She is the author and founder of “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats” and “The Write Prescription: Finding the ‘Right’ Spiritual Dosage to Overcome Any Obstacle” with her own website and blog at www.DrAmberRobins.com.