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From a female perspective
  1. Dorothea Altschul
  1. Neurosurgery, Neurosurgeons of New Jersey, Ridgewood, NJ 07450, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dorothea Altschul, Neurosurgery, Neurosurgeons of New Jersey, Ridgewood, NJ 07450, USA; daltschul{at}

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I love my job. I am fascinated by the intricate network of brain arteries and veins appearing on high-resolution screens. I like feeling the whimsical wires, the delicacy of the devices, and the forces transmitted by telescoped catheters advanced faster and safer into the branching brain vessels with every year of my practice. I am devoted to designing a beautiful stent construct and delivering it into a diseased artery just as much as I am devoted to assessing quality and outcomes data on all my patients. Many of my patients are women, as the cerebrovascular pathology disproportionally affects more women than men. There is now emerging evidence that gender diversity among physicians can have a positive impact on patient outcomes.1 2

I am one of an estimated <8% female neurointerventionalists in the world, though the exact numbers are not known. There are even fewer females in academic and leadership positions. There are numerous reasons why women are underrepresented,3 and this is not entirely unique to our specialty.

When I became a neurointerventionalist, I did not seek or think about being a female leader or female role model. At that time, there were only few fellowships that would consider training a non-radiologist. I was lucky enough to have been exposed to interventional neuroradiology in my residency training, a privilege that to this date is not bestowed on all trainees in the neurosciences. My mentors at the time, many of whom were pioneers in their own right, recognized my enthusiasm for the field and pushed me forward to pursue a neurointerventional career. I was one of the first female neurointerventionalists they ever trained. As a result, I studied the male neurointerventionalists just as much as the diseases; how they communicated with each other and their patients, how they built their …

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  • Contributors I am the sole contributor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.