Tampa surgeon hoping to empower high school girls to become surgeons

TAMPA, Fla. -- Surgery is a profession dominated by men. A Tampa woman, who just happens to be a surgeon herself, is hoping to change that. 

"This is the liver, this is the stomach,” said Dr. Sharona Ross, a surgeon at Florida Hospital Tampa, showing off new operating technology.

She makes it look easy.

"It's all in the patient, but I work it from the console,” said Dr. Ross, talking about the machine and how it works.

With foot pedals and handles, she is able to operate on a patient without even touching them.

"I truly believe that women belong in surgery," said Dr. Ross. "I believe that this is an extremely rewarding field and a career."

Unfortunately, not many women are becoming surgeons even though new enrollment numbers show 50% of medical students are women.

Dr. Ross may know the reason. She says many women feel the surgical industry does not give them the room for having children.

"We're going to have a shortage in surgeons,” said Dr. Ross. 

That is the reason why looping students like Mica Jadick into the conversation before they are set on a career path may help solve the problem.  

"At first I thought I wanted to be an astronaut,” said Jadick.

The Hillsborough High School senior says her interest in science started evolving, turning her towards the medical field. 

Jadick is one of many girls getting a chance to work the surgical machine Dr. Ross mastered during a competition February 17 at the 9th annual Women in Surgery Career Symposium.  

"You kinda have to live and learn,” Jadick said. "But if you can learn early, you know how to take a better step forward."

"If they get exposed to surgeons early on they will be able to focus their study and be able to succeed by getting good grades and know exactly what they are studying for. They have a target,” said Dr. Ross. 

A goal they get to meet with Dr. Ross mentoring them along the way.

The Symposium is bringing in female STEM students from several different Tampa Bay area high schools. It is taking place at the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Clearwater on Saturday from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.

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