Dr. Susan Karol is the first woman of the Tuscarora Indian Nation of Sanborn to become a surgeon, and the first woman to become Chief of Surgery at Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Massachusetts. She considers her career in medicine a lifelong learning experience and strives to bring compassion as well as skill to her surgical practice.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Karol has spent her career to date as a general surgeon helping patients as far west as the Navajo nation in Shiprock, New Mexico. She served as chief of surgery and anesthesia at the Shiprock Indian Hospital from 1988 to 1990. She then returned to Massachusetts, where she is currently chief of surgery at Beverly Hospital in a small town on the coast of northeastern Massachusetts.
Dr. Karol credits her medical career to her mother, Minerva Karol, "whose kind manner, empathetic ear, and ability to be non-judgmental" made her "my greatest mentor," and to her cousins, Dr. Janice Schmidt and Dr. Karen Deasey, "who served as my mentors during my college years. Their medical school experiences at the time I was in college [at Dartmouth], and their enthusiasm for medicine, fueled my interest in becoming a doctor."
Dr. Karol divides her time between a wide variety of professional responsibilities and family life. She and husband, William Stinson, a vitreo-retinal surgeon, have a 5-year old daughter, Laura, and work hard to balance their careers with parenthood. She was chief of surgery at Beverly Hospital from 1996 to 2002, has been a partner in Beverly Surgical Associates and medical director of the Hunt Breast Center in Danvers, Massachusetts, both since 1991. She has also been a consultant to Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts, since 1992. She has also been an assistant medical director of specialty care and member of the board of directors, New England Community Medical Group, Inc., since 1996 and has been medical director of Stroke Prevention of New England since 2000. Dr. Karol is on the staff of Beverly Hospital and Hunt Hospital, and has been associate staff of the North Shore Medical Center, since 2000. She has also been a trustee of Northeast Health Systems, Incorporated, at Beverly Hospital, since 2001.
Dr. Karol says she was fortunate in not meeting any real obstacles to becoming a doctor, although her residency experience at the Medical College of Wisconsin was thoroughly rigorous and demanding. "I knew that if I worked my hardest, I would become a competent and caring surgeon." She continues to give her all to her career, and is immersed in the professional life of her community. She is a member of the Association of American Indian Physicians, the American Society of Breast Surgeons, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the American College of Physician Executives.