Women in healthcare discuss leadership in an interactive webinar


Madison Lipe

In collaboration with Rutgers University, App State hosted a Zoom webinar with three women healthcare professionals Monday, sharing their stories and leadership capabilities with students.

The webinar discussed the importance of women in healthcare and was an opportunity for the community to interact with established women in the field, according to the Honors Wednesday Memo.

App State professor Julie Sakowski and Seton Hall University professor Anne Hewitt moderated a candid conversation with Wendy Braund, COVID-19 response director at the Pennsylvania Department of Health; Jodi Rosen, vice president, innovation and digital strategy at City of Hope; and Selina Osei, director of health equity and community engagement at Connecticut Hospital Association. 

Rutgers professor Anita Franzione opened the webinar by talking about the current importance of women in healthcare. 

Franzione said according to a book called “TIME’S NOW for Women Healthcare Leaders,” women make up almost 50% of the United States healthcare workforce, implying their impact is significant in addressing critical issues in the healthcare system.

Braund said her original career plans did not involve medicine. She said it took her a while to figure out what she wanted to do as a profession. Braund was a teacher and a school counselor before she went into medicine in her 30s. She said those experiences helped shape her practices to this day. 

When asked about what qualities make a great leader, Osei stressed the importance of being a servant to the community. 

“Foster a sense of community regardless of differences,” Osei said. Osei explained that great leaders are people that can bring people together from various different backgrounds who have different views but have a shared goal.

“You always have to understand who you are and where your blind spots are so that you’re able to check yourself and your biases,” Osei said of leadership.

 Osei also discussed the importance of representing people from different backgrounds at every stage of leadership.  

Rosen defined great leadership qualities as “the unspoken pieces about how you act.” Trust, humility and self-awareness are all qualities she said she considers to be critical in a great leader. 

Braund reassured students they don’t have to have all the answers to be great leaders.

“Know when it’s your time to lead and when to let someone else take over,” Braund said. 

When asked to give their advice, Braund said to be willing to take professional risks if able. 

“Don’t be afraid to reach out and pitch ideas. Promote yourself in a way that demonstrates your value,” Braund said.

Osei’s advice to young people entering the field was to not chase a title or put yourself in a box of what you want to be because “that’s a trap.” She suggested crafting a career vision instead of limiting yourself to one profession. 

Rosen encouraged students to be lifelong learners and trust themselves throughout their journeys. Rosen said learning experiences and decisions “will always be part of the fabric of your life’s journey and you may still need to continue to pivot if the decision isn’t ultimately where you want to be.”