Alumni News

Letter to a Young Female Physician

Suzanne Koven MFA ’12, a longtime physician and current writer-in-residence at Massachusetts General Hospital, penned a letter to her younger self as part of a recent orientation session for new medical interns in Boston. 

Suzanne Koven

In the letter, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Koven warns herself of the sexism and wage discrimination she’ll confront in the medical field, adding, “there’s also a more insidious obstacle that you’ll have to contend with—one that resides in your own head. In fact, one of the greatest hurdles you confront may be one largely of your own making. At least that has been the case for me. You see, I’ve been haunted at every step of my career by the fear that I am a fraud.”

Koven told that she's been stunned at how many people—across all demographics—have responded to her letter. 

The piece "seems to have spoken to older physicians, male physicians, and even many non-physicians—and all around the world," she said. "This particular vulnerability, this fear of being a fraud, is widespread apparently."