TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Tucson Medical Center has elected its first woman of color chief of staff.
On a wall full of black and white photos—of mostly white men, hangs the first in-color picture of the first woman of color to hold the chief of staff position at TMC.
Dr. Gayle Dean has always been proud of her work as an OB/GYN, but her new title brings a heavy responsibility, and its weight in pride.
She is only one of two women to hold the spot. Dean always knew she wanted to be a doctor—inspired by her pediatrician and a school project in elementary school. In her freshman medical school class—out of around 200, she said, there were only eight people of color—and only four of them were women.
“As my parents always told me, you cannot let the fact that you are different, as far as your outward complexion is different, be a barrier for you. You have to use that as an incentive,” said Dean.
She worked hard to be where she is today. Dr. Dean received her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1999. She decided on specializing in obstetrics and gynecology during her OB rotation in medical school.
“As a person of color, you have to work extra hard because you have to overcome the initial stereotype,” she said.
Now, she hopes to inspire families, girls and boys of all backgrounds with her picture on the wall and job.
“When you see it, it empowers you to say, ‘yes I can. I can do it too,’” she said.
She said the more diversity in the medical field, the better care patients of all backgrounds can get as physicians understand cultures and biases.
“We are all human beings, and we all have capabilities, and this is just melanin that makes my skin darker. You know, my life experiences make me a better physician,” she said.
“We are fortunate that Dr. Dean has accepted this important role,” said Judy Rich, President and CEO of TMC. “She is a compassionate and well-respected member of our medical team, making her the perfect person for the job. And we are excited about taking steps to becoming a more diverse and inclusive health care system so that our children and grandchildren will see more people of color in leadership roles.”