ASA Open Forum

Member Spotlight: Dr. Tracey Straker - Anesthesiology Mentor, Would-Be TV Anchorwoman, Motorcycle Enthusiast

  
Member Spotlight: @Tracey Straker, MD, MPH, MS, FASA

Nominated by:  @Crystal Wright, MD, FASA

Reason for Nomination: "She's director of the ASA Mentoring Program and has done remarkable work!"

(Is there an ASA member you'd like to nominate for a Spotlight? Tell us here.)



What first drew you to anesthesiology? Is there a particular moment that stands out for you as the game-changer?

I liked the humanity of anesthesiology. There are so many things in medicine that could not be accomplished without anesthesia. Think of the surgeries, procedures and and studies that could not be accomplished. The immediacy of relief and the gratitude that patients display is so heartwarming.

Can you tell us about a mentor whose guidance or mentorship style continues to inspire you to “pay it forward” as president of ASA’s Mentoring Program?

My influence really stems from my medical school, the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. It is a school designed to graduate minority physicians to work in underserved communities . My academic upbringing is steeped in community health and social medicine. My professors were instrumental in my career, and some still are now. One of my professors, Dr. Camara Jones, still continues to influence me. She would always say to her students, "play it forward."

What aspect of a typical workday do you love the most and why? What’s your least favorite and – if applicable! – what are some of your go-to procrastination techniques?

I like the end of the work day when I am home. It is a time to reflect on my cases and my patients: What could I have done better? What did I do to my an impact? Did I give my all to my patients today? This is the time of the day to be inspired for tomorrow. I am not a procrastinator, but my least favorite procrastination technique is when someone acts as though they do not know how to perform a task, until finally someone else comes along and does it for them!

Speaking hypothetically, if you had a college-age daughter who was considering medical school, what advice would you have for her?

My advice would be go into medicine because you truly want to help people in a medical way. Do not do this profession for money or prestige. There are many ways to help people - be very certain that medicine is the way for you, because medicine is a sacrifice, especially for women

If you hadn’t pursued a career in medicine, what do you think you’d be doing right now?

If I were not in medicine, I would have pursued journalism, with a goal of becoming a television news anchorwoman.

What haven’t we asked you about that you wish we had?

My hobbies - I would have told you about my love of riding motorcycles for the past 16 years. Riding my bike is so freeing - your mind is completely at rest - nothing but you and the road.

Dr. Tracey Straker is a Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York. In addition to heading up the ASA Mentoring Program, Dr. Straker is a member of ASA's Committee on Professional Diversity, Committee on Problem-Based Learning Discussions, Educational Track Subcommittee on Fundamentals of Anesthesiology, and Educational Track Subcommittee on Professional Issues. Dr. Straker also currently serves as the Speaker of the House for the New York State Society for Anesthesiology and President Elect for the Society for Head and Neck Anesthesia.

(Is there an ASA member you'd like to nominate for a Spotlight? Tell us here.

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ASA Community Blog is published as a benefit for ASA members. The views expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributing writers only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of ASA.

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Comments

Oct 08, 2020 02:31 PM

Thank you for highlighting Dr. Straker. Her work leading the ASA Mentoring Program has had so much impact. I'm grateful to have leaders like Dr. Straker committed to advancing anesthesiology.

If you haven't watched the linked TED Talk, "Allegories on race and racism," by Dr. Camara Jones, put aside 20 minutes to do so this week, because it will give you new ways of thinking and talking about racism.