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Letter to a Young Female Physician

By SUZANNE KOVEN


A poignant and funny exploration of authenticity in work and life by a woman doctor.


In 2017, Dr. Suzanne Koven published an essay describing the challenges faced by female physicians, including her own personal struggle with "imposter syndrome"―a long-held secret belief that she was not smart enough or good enough to be a “real” doctor. Accessed by thousands of readers around the world, Koven’s “Letter to a Young Female Physician” has evolved into a deeply felt reflection on her career in medicine.


Koven tells candid and illuminating stories about her pregnancy during a grueling residency in the AIDS era; the illnesses of her child and aging parents during which her roles as a doctor, mother, and daughter converged, and sometimes collided; the sexism, pay inequity, and harassment that women in medicine encounter; and the twilight of her career during the COVID-19 pandemic. As she traces the arc of her life, Koven finds inspiration in literature and faces the near-universal challenges of burnout, body image, and balancing work with marriage and parenthood.


Shining with warmth, clarity, and wisdom, Letter to a Young Female Physician reveals a woman forging her authentic identity in a modern landscape that is as overwhelming and confusing as it is exhilarating in its possibilities. Koven offers an indelible account, by turns humorous and profound, from a doctor, mother, wife, daughter, teacher, and writer who sheds light on our desire to find meaning, and on a way to be our own imperfect selves in the world.


  • Item Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1324007141
  • ISBN-13: 978-1324007142
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 4, 2021)

Item: 132400714

Price: $26.95

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