On the shoulders of giants — ‘I’ve gotten to where I am because of them’
“You need to see women in the types of leadership roles you’d like to attain.”
Ashley Wentworth, M.D. (MED ’14, DERM ’18, DPED ’20), says it’s important to have female mentors. “You need to see women in the types of leadership roles you’d like to attain.”
When Dr. Wentworth was a dermatology resident at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Jennifer Hand, M.D. (MED ’94, I1 ’95, DERM ’98, MGEN ’00), helped her weigh the pros and cons of a fellowship and subspecialty, inspiring her to pursue a fellowship in pediatric dermatology. “I saw what she and her fellowship-trained colleagues could do because of their additional expertise,” says Dr. Wentworth, who is now in the Department of Dermatology on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. “Dr. Hand is an incredible clinician and academic physician who has achieved a good balance between the professional and personal in her life. Her door has always been open to me. She’s supportive and eagerly shares her wealth of knowledge. I hope to mentor others as well as she has mentored me.”
Enter Sydney Larkin, M.D. (MED ’20). She met Dr. Wentworth during a career exploration selective in her first year at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine. Within an hour of the two women meeting, Dr. Larkin says she was inspired by Dr. Wentworth.
“Meeting Dr. Wentworth on my first day exploring dermatology changed my career trajectory,” says Dr. Larkin. “She’s such a happy physician and is great with patients. We clicked right away. She was a first-year dermatology resident at the time but helped me complete my first research project in dermatology, introduced me to staff in the department, and assisted with residency decisions and preparation. Dr. Wentworth was incredible and never said no to anything I asked of her.”
As luck would have it, Dr. Hand was assigned to be Dr. Larkin’s mentor during medical school — boosting the connection between Drs. Larkin and Wentworth.
“Once I’d committed to dermatology, Dr. Hand laid out the next four years of what I needed to accomplish to match and succeed in dermatology,” says Dr. Larkin, now an intern at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. She’ll return to Mayo Clinic for dermatology residency. “Having her career guidance and a clear-cut path to reach my goals was incredibly valuable. She mentioned my name to others in the department so they knew who I was, told me about events where I could network, helped me publish case reports and wrote a letter of recommendation. Dr. Hand is one of few physicians who are double-boarded in dermatology and genetics, so her name carried a lot of weight in residency interviews.
“Having her career guidance and a clear-cut path to reach my goals was incredibly valuable. She mentioned my name to others in the department so they knew who I was, told me about events where I could network, helped me publish case reports and wrote a letter of recommendation.”
“I’m endlessly grateful for the support of Dr. Wentworth and Dr. Hand. Meeting them early in medical school made my journey easier, and I’ve gotten to where I am because of them. I hope to stay in academic dermatology because I value medical education. Having these two women as role models has helped me take the first steps toward achieving that.”