On Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) welcomed guest speaker, Linda K. Barry, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, for the Leaders in S.T.E.A.M. Speaker Series. Dr. Barry, who serves as a surgeon and administrator at the University of Connecticut (UCONN), presented her lecture entitled, “An Unusual Path: My Story vs. Your Story.” Barry shared her accomplishments, struggles, and lessons learned on her personal journey.
As a board-certified liver and pancreas surgeon, Dr. Barry has a unique background in both clinical and basic science research. In high school, she graduated as Valedictorian, which granted her admission to multiple ivy league institutions. She attended Yale University for her undergraduate degree and Cornell University for medical school. Dr. Barry is a proud African-American woman who encourages women of color to become surgical chairs in order to add diversity in departments of surgery.
“Our fears are often greater than the actuality and can distort the true reality. Rather than letting them shape your outlook, view them as challenges to overcome. You will be stronger for the endeavor,” said Dr. Barry. “Do not let personality traits (or perceived traits) that can create obstacles define you – grow and evolve.”
In her current position at UConn, Dr. Barry also serves as the assistant director and chief operating officer at the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. She has the opportunity to teach medical students and residents, as well as oversee award-winning research grants. Dr. Barry was not shy to admit that she struggled during her first year of medical school; this is what drives her to create a positive learning atmosphere for residents.
“Dr. Barry’s story is inspiring, and she is certainly a great exemplar for our students. The story of her journey towards becoming a surgeon was honest, and she discussed the many challenges she faced along the way. Her focus on the role of mentorship (at all levels) clearly seemed to resonate with the students in the audience,” said Kirsten Martin, Ph.D., associate professor of Biology and chair of Women L.E.A.D. in S.T.E.A.M. on campus.