A general internist with an interest in women's health, Eliza Lo Chin, M.D., has drawn inspiration from her female colleagues who strive to combine family responsibilities with a career in medicine. She has collected their experiences in her book, This Side of Doctoring: Reflections From Women in Medicine, published in 2002. For her continuing work on women's issues in medicine, Dr. Chin was nominated for the New York branch of the American Medical Women's Association's Outstanding Woman Physician Award for the year 2000.
The idea for the book, she says, "was borne out of a personal need for mentoring. Being a young mother, physician, and wife, I found myself perpetually struggling to achieve some semblance of balance in my life. As a clinician-educator at Columbia University, I frequently encountered medical students and residents contemplating these very same issues. Yet how had other women physicians managed to structure their lives so admirably? Surely my situation was hardly unique, despite the realities of having two young children and a surgical resident husband. Thus the notion of collecting written experiences began to take shape."
Her call for contributions brought an overwhelming response in the form of stories, poems, and essays from women physicians across the country who were eager to share their experiences. She spent the following year weaving them together in a book. "Reading these letters," Chin recalled, "I was amazed by the diverse yet somehow common experiences of women across different specialties, ages, and geographic divides... With relief, I discovered that my daily juggling act was far from unique. Others were also engaged in that same endeavor, living busy but deeply fulfilled lives."
Eliza Chin earned a B.A. with honors in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1993, she completed an internal medicine residency with the Primary Care Program at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. In 1997, she was appointed assistant clinical professor of medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. She also served as assistant attending physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and course director for the Women's Health Elective at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
In August 2000, Dr. Chin moved with her family to California, where her husband, Dr. Douglas Chin, completed a fellowship in hand surgery. It was during this time that she became interested in the unique issues faced by women in medicine, particularly the challenge of balancing work and family, and she began collecting the other women's stories.
Dr. Chin currently lives with her husband and three children in Northern California, and recently returned to clinical medicine part-time.