'Behind the Blue': Surgical oncologist Emily Marcinkowski on women in health care
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 27, 2023) — As a young child, Emily Marcinkowski, M.D., spent a lot of time in the hospital, but not as a patient. Her mother, a single parent, worked as an operating room scrub nurse, which led to Marcinkowski spending a fair amount of time in the OR and offices during her mother’s shifts.
It was that exposure to medicine and surgery that inspired her to become a surgeon herself. In a field of health care that is largely dominated by men. Marcinkowski says it never occurred to her to not be a surgeon simply because she is female.
Today, Marcinkowski is a surgical oncologist at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, specializing in breast cancer, soft-tissue sarcomas and skin cancers. She says she likes surgery because of the closer relationships that surgeons have with their patients, and how that is of specific benefit in regards to working with breast cancer patients, who are often concerned with how their diagnosis and treatment affects their sexuality and self-identification.
Marcinkowski also teaches classes as an associate professor in the UK College of Medicine, where she strives to pass on her enthusiasm for her work to a new generation, along with the importance of students having the mindset of investing in themselves.
On this episode of "Behind the Blue," Marcinkowski talks about her drive to be a problem-solver, how surgery presents her with tangible problems she can act upon, the importance of greater diversity and patient-based inclusivity in the medical field, and more.
"Behind the Blue" is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.
For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue. Transcripts for this or other episodes of "Behind the Blue" can be downloaded from the show’s blog page.
To discover what’s wildly possible at the University of Kentucky, click here.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.