Ferguson strives to break barriers in practicing medicine

Each September, the AMA recognizes Women in Medicine to "showcase the accomplishments of women physicians." This year, UI Health Care is celebrating our providers for the work they do, including Kanya Ferguson, MD, FAAD.

What is your specialty?

Dermatology and Mohs micrographic surgery with clinical focus in oncodermatology, reconstructive surgery, skin of color, and global dermatology.

Nkanyezi N. Ferguson, MD, FAAD

Why is it important to recognize women in medicine?

Although women have made significant strides in medicine and academic leadership, there are still significant barriers and disparities in compensation, mentorship, and opportunities to advance to the highest levels of leadership within departments and hospital administration. These challenges are even more pronounced for women of color in academics. It is important to continue to highlight women in medicine to reinforce the fact that women continue to play a tremendous role in providing clinical care in an exceptional, compassionate, and collaborative manner to encourage further female physician advancement. 

What made you decide to pursue a career in medicine?

I grew up in a resource poor country and witnessed first-hand the immense disparities in health care delivery and access. I knew at a younger age that I wanted to contribute to medicine to make a difference and provide quality health care to individuals irrespective of their resources or ability to pay.

Who was a mentor to you that made an impact in your life? Why?

I have been very fortunate to have had numerous exceptional mentors and teachers throughout my career. My most important mentors have taught me to not only seek mentorship in many but to be a mentor to many as well. They have taught me humility and underscored the importance of being impeccable with my words and actions. They have reinforced a foundation of service and excellence and reminded me to do everything with kindness and empathy. Most importantly my mentors have believed in me which in turn have helped me recognize my own potential.

What is a hobby of yours outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with my two young children, listening to my husband play jazz, playing tennis, listening to audiobooks, video streaming, and experiencing new cultures through travel.

This year’s theme for Women in Medicine month is “Women in Medicine: Trailblazers, Advocates, Leaders.” What does this theme mean to you personally?

This theme serves as an important reminder of the challenges and barriers that female physicians who came before me had to endure in order to make my path easier. It reminds me not to take my situation for granted and drives me to strive to break additional barriers in order to ensure that my daughter’s generation does not have to face some of the same challenges.