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Celebrating Women in Health Care

February 13, 2023

A closer look at MVSC’s leading female physicians

Throughout your life, it’s likely that you have received care from a handful of specialists – many of which are women. However, female health care providers haven’t always been so common. In fact, we can credit the start of women health care providers to Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell who was the first woman in the U.S. to receive a medical degree in 1849.

Nearly 175 years later, we celebrate Dr. Blackwell and recognize the strides made by generations of women doctors with National Women Physicians Day, celebrated annually on February 3.

In recognition of this important day, we’re taking a closer look at some of the leading female physicians in the Quad Cities and how they make a difference at Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, the area’s largest outpatient surgery center located at 3400 Dexter Ct. #200 in Davenport, Iowa.

The area’s first female sports and hand orthopaedic surgeons

When it comes to orthopaedic hand and sport specialists in the Quad Cities, MVSC offers some of the most accomplished surgeons in the area. Two of these surgeons happen to be women, Dr. Kristyn Darmafall and Dr. Megan Crosmer. They’re also the area’s first board-certified and fellowship-trained female sports and hand orthopaedic surgeons. Both, while experts in their field and passionate about successful patient outcomes, are also acutely aware that being a woman in the field is something to be celebrated.

“Of all orthopaedic surgeons, females only make up around 4 percent of practicing surgeons – and this number is even lower within the sports medicine field,” Dr. Darmafall said. “I am proud to set an example for young girls, showing them that if you set your mind to something, you can accomplish it.”

Dr. Darmafall served as an assistant professor of clinical orthopaedic surgery at The Ohio State University and specializes in sports-related injuries of the shoulder, knee and hip. Her passion for helping people get back to an active life, whether that means the ability to comfortably take a walk or set records in a sports-related competition is what drives her.

Dr. Crosmer served as a hand and upper extremity orthopaedic surgeon at Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic, LLC in Florida, and completed her fellowship in upper extremity, elbow, hand, and wrist at the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center in Indianapolis. She’s dedicated to improving the quality of life for her patients and working together to find surgical and nonsurgical solutions.

“While orthopaedics, and medicine in general, has traditionally been a male-dominated field, things are changing,” Dr. Crosmer said. “We, as females, are fortunate to live in a time where if you have passion and put in the effort, training, and dedication, you can achieve anything.”

A vision for patient success

Vision is such a critical piece of someone’s quality of life. That’s why ophthalmology is dedicated to treating the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways, including the eye, brain and areas surrounding the eye, such as the lacrimal system and eyelids. Today, women makeup 20 to 30 percent of ophthalmologists. One of those individuals who is making a difference locally is Dr. Siv Brit Saetre.

As a leading ophthalmologist in the area, Dr. Saetre joined the MVSC team in 1993 after attending University of Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Medical School and University of Michigan Medical School for her glaucoma fellowship. Today, Dr. Saetre provides compassionate care and a literal vision for success.

“For me, I was drawn to this field to provide patient success,” Dr. Saetre said. “With something so important as our vision, getting the right care and treatment can be lifechanging. For me, making that impact is so rewarding. There’s truly nothing better.”

Empowering women through health care

Helping women achieve pregnancy is a uniquely female area of specialty, and something University of Iowa Health Care reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Jessica Kresowik has been dedicated to over her nine-year career. While practicing outpatient care at MVSC, she has provided countless successful patient outcomes and provided compassionate care along her patients’ fertility journeys.

Dr. Kresowik conducts outpatient monitoring of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) at the Mississippi Medical Plaza.  She also conducts surgeries at MVSC to help with problems of the uterus including polyps, fibroids, scar tissue, congenital anomalies or to remove tissue from the uterus that may have been retained after a miscarriage.

Ultimately, her support, guidance and expert medical care have helped so many.

“In our breakroom, we have a whole wall of birth announcements and Christmas cards from patients we’ve helped,” Dr. Kresowik said. “We have a lasting impact in helping build families. That’s what drives me.”

Dr. Kresowik, Dr. Darmafall, Dr. Crosmer and Dr. Saetre along with the thousands of women who work in health care across the country are testaments to the progress made since 1849. As you celebrate National Women Physicians Day this year, be sure to thank the female physicians in your life. We’ve made great strides since 1849 and we’re excited and hopeful about what else the future holds.

By the numbers: Women in medicine*

  • Women now make up about 35 percent of the U.S. physician workforce, compared to 5 percent in 1970.
  • In 2019, for the first time ever, the majority of U.S. medical school students (50.5 percent) were women.
  • The highest percentage of women physicians can be found in pediatrics, with 63.3 percent.

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