Larson is a trailblazer for women in Iowa

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 Sharon Beth Larson, DO, MS, FACOS, FACS.

Sharon Beth Larson, DO, MS, FACOS, FACS

Why is it important to recognize women in medicine?

Women in medicine and women's health are connected. When female physicians and issues with caring for women are marginalized and undervalued, women's health will not realize its full potential in both doctors and patients.

What made you decide to pursue a career in medicine?

Divine intervention placed the desire on my heart to become a cardiothoracic surgeon at the age of eight. My parents encouraged my sisters and I to imagine the multitude of professions in the world at a very young age. The more I learned about heart surgery, the more certain I became that the only career path for me was in medicine.

How do you see women impacting the future of medicine?

When women in medicine are compensated, recognized, and promoted at equitable rates as compared to their male colleagues, we will see a revolution occur. The future will be a more compassionate, communicative, evidence-based practice of medicine, things that studies have shown are more likely in a female medical practice.

What words of advice would you give to younger women hoping to begin studies or a career in medicine?

If you cannot imagine or do not desire any profession other than a career in medicine, you have made the right choice.

What is a hobby of yours outside of work?

I enjoy yoga. I started my yoga practice to improve my self-care and overall well-being.

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

I am the first female cardiothoracic surgeon in the state of Iowa.