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Women's History Month 2023

Women’s History Month plastic surgery edition includes many women who have contributed with Plastic Surgery innovations and leadership. Today, we focus on a few of our best and brightest plastic surgeon leaders.

Jennifer Walden MD2023 – Dr. Jennifer Walden is the current and the first woman president of The Aesthetic Society. She is a private practitioner in Austin, Texas, and is currently the president of the best cosmetic surgery society in the world. The Aesthetic Society is comprised of Board Certified Plastic Surgeons who are dedicated to the Cosmetic aspects of Plastic Surgery.


Delora Mount MD2019 – Dr. Delora Mount is an expert in craniofacial surgery. The first woman to serve as president of the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS), is the Service Line Chief for plastic and reconstructive surgery at Children’s Hospital and Professor of Clinical Surgery at LSU Health New Orleans. She has held leadership positions at the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association, American Society of Plastic Surgeons and Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation.


Laurie Casas MD2009 – Dr. Laurie Casas was the first woman president of The Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF) and is now a Clinical Associate Professor at The University of Chicago Medical Center Pritzker School of Medicine.


Roxanne Guy MD2007 – Dr. Roxanne Guy, a private practitioner in Florida. She was featured int he ASPS series “Limitless,” and participates in the Women Plastic Surgeons Forum. She was the first woman to serve as president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) in 2007.


Mary McGrath MD1995 – Dr. Mary McGrath, professor emeritus of surgery at UCSF, is a renowned educator who has held numerous leadership positions in the American College of Surgeons and in Plastic Surgery, including being the first woman president of The Plastic Surgery Foundation (1995). ⁠She is known for her personal philanthropy and contributions to breast surgery, hand surgery, wound healing and workforce issues. She also was my examiner when I took the oral plastic surgery boards.


Susan Mackinnon MD1988 – Dr. Susan Mackinnon, performed the world’s first nerve allotransplantation, making her a pioneer in the field of peripheral nerve transfer and regeneration. She was also the first woman to serve as president of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons in 1988.


Rose Lewis MD1978 – Dr. Rose M. Lewis of San Francisco, holds the distinction of being the first African-American female plastic surgeon in the world.


Inspiring Women Plastic Surgeons

All of these firsts have happened in my lifetime. There were many firsts before these, but it is safe to say that more opportunities are available now than at any time in history. If you want to achieve, you can find inspiration not just in those that came before us, but in those still achieving.

There were no doctors in my family, so I found inspiration and mentorship outside my family and social circles. It wasn’t easy, but I knew what I wanted. Before committing to years of training, I did my homework and learned what it would take to become a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. There is no better way to find out than to ask a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. There was Internet at the time, so I had to find them in person.

While having goals is important, without realistic goals, success is unlikely. I asked doctors from many disciplines if they liked their job? How much schooling was involved, and what sacrifices were necessary to achieve their goals? I was fortunate to get honest answers from successful men and women who were generous with their time to a relative stranger.

There may not be any doctors in my family, let alone Plastic Surgeons, but I had good role models. My family immigrated from Europe two generations ago, and was grateful for the opportunity to earn an independent living that the United States provided. My great-grandfather was a baker and owned his own bakery. My grandfather was a butcher, and owned his own meat market. My father was a contractor and owned his own construction firm.

I’m sure each of them hoped their children would follow in their footsteps, if only for the ability to help them along their path, but my family is independent. My patriarchs in particular wanted new paths, and each worked hard to build their success in their chosen professions. Whether they finished 6th grade or completed years of post-graduate training, we have all worked hard, done our homework and found a way, from the bottom up.

If you are a woman considering plastic surgery as a profession, I can tell you it is a challenging and rewarding profession that takes persistence, patience, determination and humility. Plastic Surgeons comprise a small and very independent group. The women above are inspirational for me, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a few of them in person. I hope they inspire you too, in whatever path you take.

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