The creation of the women physician support group ‘Boss Lady Docs’

The creation of the women physician support group ‘Boss Lady Docs’

It was late 2020 and Dr. Lauren Matteini, orthopedic spine surgeon had just moved to a new office location near Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. Her office was starting to see patients again, but it was limited, and distancing was enforced between her and her colleagues.

“Looking back at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, it was such a hard time for everyone, physicians included,” says Dr. Matteini. “Here I was, new to my office and the suburbs. It was hard not to feel alone and isolated from my patients and colleagues.”

So, Dr. Matteini reached out and started a group chat with three of her colleagues via an app on her smartphone. At first, it was helping each other remotely since it was pre-COVID vaccine. They would share the personal and professional barriers they were facing. Soon, their group started inviting more of their female colleagues who in turn invited others. They then began hosting monthly zoom meetings and once vaccines were available, they began meet-ups at restaurants and attractions around the Chicago suburbs.

Around 25 people attended the first few meet ups and now there are over 165+ female physicians added to Dr. Matteini’s group contacts. The result is Boss Lady Docs, a social and professional organization that is non-partisan, apolitical and non-competitive, providing their area female physician members the support, mentoring, work-life balance conversations, medical consultations, business help and collegiality they need.

“Without realizing it, we discovered Boss Lady Docs tapped into a great need in our women physician community, which is supporting each other while also helping our patients,” adds Dr. Matteini. “We are all from different medical groups, partnerships, independent practices, hospitals, clinic or urgent care settings, specialties and backgrounds. To have a connection that reaches through all of them is unique and special.”

Along with supporting each other, Boss Lady Docs became a messaging center resource to help match internships for students and find appointment availability for patients.

Even in person, their gatherings are informal with no agenda or dress code, just to have fun and talk about life, work, health care in the U.S. and more in a safe space with their female physician colleagues. It might seem like just a networking group, but Dr. Matteini and others disagree.

“Our monthly meetings have become something to look forward to for myself and the group, and we all try to prioritize it because we need that face-to-face personal communication with each other,” shares Dr. Matteini. “It’s been a hard couple of years. Several of our members have told me that Boss Lady Docs kept them from quitting the profession, thanks to the emotional support and resources the group could provide.”

Read full Daily Herald story

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About the Author

Jennifer Benson
Jennifer Benson

Jennifer Benson, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has 10+ years of community development and communication experience for non-profits and has a BA in Architecture from Judson University in Elgin, IL. Outside of work, you can find her planning the next adventure near water or rocks, re-organizing spaces, working on her Master’s in Public Health, caring for her senior citizen cat, keeping to healthy moving and eating disciplines and growing green things wherever she can find room.