To celebrate Women’s History Month, Saint Michael’s Medical Center is highlighting some of the women on our team who make the hospital an award-winning health care institution that puts patients first.
Gunwant Guron, MD, is a medical oncologist and hematologist as well as the program director of the hematology/oncology fellowship program at Saint Michael’s Medical Center and Blood Research Institute. She is also an associate professor of medicine at New York Medical College.
Q: What was your life like growing up?
A: I was the youngest of seven children, six sisters and one brother. I have very fond, happy memories of my childhood. My father always put a lot of emphasis on education. I studied at St. Joseph’s Convent School until 12th grade. We were a middle class family and we were taught to share and we were given very strong values by our parents. My mother did not have any formal education and my father was a high school graduate. My father always believed in gender equality and encouraged all his children to work hard and pursue whichever career we felt passionate about.
Q: Did you always want to be a physician?
A: Yes. My older sister was the first to attend medical school in our family and she became my role model. I attended medical school in India, followed my two sisters to America to further my education. I did my residency in Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and did my Hematology/Oncology fellowship at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University.
Do you have any hobbies or unique talents?
A: I love exercising and physical fitness which keeps me focused and grounded. I also love to keep meaningful connections with my family and close friends, this empowers me. Cooking is another passion of mine. I can be creative and I find that it relaxes me. Also, reciting poetry is something I’ve always enjoyed. Last, but not least, I love teaching and mentoring young minds like those of my residents and fellows.
Q: How long have you been a practicing physician, and what inspired you to become an oncologist?
A: I have been a practicing physician since 1993. Oncology is something that always intrigued me and my passion grew in leaps and bounds once I started practicing on my own.
Q: What advice do you have for young women interested in becoming a physician?
A: The advice that I would give to a young woman interested in becoming a physician is first to choose medicine for the right reason. It will be challenging but also rewarding. I would tell her that she will feel a sense of satisfaction from the connections she makes with her patients so she should foster those doctor/patient relationships. Being a woman, in and of itself, is challenging. We are multitaskers. So many of us are balancing our careers, raising children, managing a household and staying involved in our communities. It is important that she finds her own balance in life. That may be different for everyone so it should be something that works for her. She should make time for fun and relaxation while studying and working.
Q: Women’s history month is a time of commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Are there any women in your life or world history that inspire you or that you admire? If so who and why?
A: My biggest inspiration has always been my mother. Despite not being formally educated, in my eyes my mother was one of the most educated, wise and nurturing women that I have ever known. With patience and resilience she raised a family of seven children who, by the grace of God, all became successful and accomplished in their lives. I have also been inspired by my older sisters. Whether it be their academic achievements, leadership skills or being an example for me in terms of faith, simplicity and the life they lead.