UCSF Department of Urology Celebrates Women Physicians

Submitted by UCSF Urology on February 4, 2021 at 3:09 pm
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share via E-mail

Women physicians continue to shape and cultivate the changes we see in healthcare every day.  This may be through research, patient care, as an advocate, community outreach, mentorship, the list goes on.  In the UCSF Department of Urology, you will find some of these pathbreaking women. Below our urologists discuss what they enjoy about being a physician, their achievements and their advice to future women physicians. 


Anne Suskind

Anne M. Suskind, MD, MS, FACS, FPM-RS

“One of my favorite roles as a physician is mentoring junior faculty and trainees.  Each person has something unique and special to contribute to our field, and it is my absolute privilege and joy to help others to discover and grow their own spark.  That is one of the single most rewarding parts of my job.”

“Be authentically you. Value who you are and what you bring to the field. Identify good mentors early on who are invested in you and in your success.”

Carissa ChuCarissa Chu, MD

“As physicians we have the privilege to connect with people from all walks of life, and to find ways both big and small to try to restore health and bring comfort. During COVID especially, when isolation is the norm and anxieties are high, I feel very fortunate to have these relationships with my patients and colleagues. It’s the people around me who bring joy and curiosity to the work I do. There is never a dull moment."

"Find your mentors/lady heroes and keep them close. I have been so lucky to have a clan — Dr Greene, Porten, Suskind, Hampson, and Skinner, plus my very own co-residents. In each I admire her tireless ability to take on new challenges with grace, to lift others up, and to stay committed to family and career. The future is female! And while we are fortunate to have a growing number of women role models in Urology, don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail, be yourself, and ask for what you want—you are more than worthy."

“What I enjoy the most about being a physician is helping others, especially the most vulnerable people in our community. In order to care for and be trusted by the members of our community I think it is important that we as physicians be just as diverse as the rest of our community. As a woman, an immigrant, a Latina, a wife, a mother, I can relate to many of our patients that have similar backgrounds. Throughout my career I hope to inspire other women to join me in our mission of caring for others.”

“Do not take no for an answer, we can do it all and just as well as anybody else!”


Claire De La Calle

Claire de la Calle, MD


Dominique Escobar
Domenique Escobar, MD

“Being a current urology resident at UCSF is an achievement in and of itself that I am very proud of. I'm the child of Argentinian/Mexican immigrants and I was the first in my family to go to college and now the first doctor in my family. One of my favorite things about my job is getting to connect with and serve my Latinx patients and giving back to our community.”


Find strong mentorship and connect with other women who share your experiences and interests and who will support you; I think this is especially important for women of color and women who are underrepresented in medicine. Having a team behind you is critical!”

"My favorite part of being a physician is caring for our patients. Often, when our patients come to us they are at their most vulnerable, and it’s really humbling to be able to care for them and support them through a difficult time. We get an intimate glimpse into our patient’s lives, including their hardships, fears, sources of joy, and it’s especially nice in urology where we get to build longitudinal relationships with our patients and care for them long-term. Another amazing part of being a physician is being part of a team and being able to collaborate and learn from colleagues in so many different disciplines. I am especially grateful to be at UCSF where there are so many women leaders and women in surgery to have as role models."

"My advice to prospective women physicians is twofold: 1) Figure out what gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. The road to becoming a physician is challenging and long, with many ups and downs - it’s important to remember who you are throughout the journey. 2) Identify mentors as early as possible! Looking back at my own journey, I have been fortunate to have many wonderful mentors who have been a tremendous source of support and inspiration. Seek out mentors you admire and want to emulate."

Farnoosh Nik Ahd
Farnoosh Nik-Ahd, MD

Hillary Copp, MD, MS

"It is incredibly rewarding to impact the health and quality of life of children with urologic conditions and a tremendous honor to have parents place their trust in you to do so. I am grateful to have a career that challenges me intellectually, allows me to be creative, and continuously drives me to acquire new skills and knowledge."


“Go for it!”


“My favorite part of my job is that I help to improve quality of life for patients. As a reconstructive urologist, I typically see patients who have significant urinary symptoms that are greatly impacting their lives and ability to do the things they want to do. The surgeries that I can do to help them can improve their quality of life and get them back to living the lives they want to! This gives me immense gratification and enjoyment.”

“Find female mentors in whatever field of medicine you want to pursue. See how other women physicians have made it work and learn from their advice, examples, and mentorship. I was so lucky to have amazing female role models throughout my training and this made me realize how to achieve my own success.”

Lindsay Hampson
Lindsay A. Hampson, MD, MAS

Mary Fakunle
Mary O. Fakunle, MD

“One of the things I enjoy most about being a physician, is the representation I achieve. In addition to the daily gratifications that come with providing care to our patients, I get to represent one of the few, as a black woman in medicine and specifically urology. This means so much because I've become a resource for others. I am often told that there are many young black women, students, who feels inspired to pursue medicine, and look up to me. I've given out my email/phone number to so many up-and-coming future black physicians, offering whatever advice I can. And this has been an unexpected, but most rewarding part of my job.” 

“My advice is to not let the fear of how others perceive you, stop you from being yourself. Women, more so than men, have the burden to needing to consider how they will be perceived before acting. In medicine we have to balance being outspoken, but not too loud, and quiet without fading into the background. That extra pressure often just gets in the way. And we really have no control over how others think/feel. So be your unapologetic self. Always.”

Maya Overland
Maya Overland, MD, PhD

“In both surgery and research, I love that there is always more to learn, dogma to reconsider, and new approaches and techniques to try.”

“Being a woman in a male-dominated field is a strength, not a weakness. Don’t try and fit yourself into the mold of what others tell you a surgeon should be, but rather be true to yourself and you’ll find that carries you much further.”

In 2020, my co-residents and I started a mentorship program in support of #BlackLivesMatter with the goal of expanding the urology pipeline. The UReTER (UnderRepresented Trainees Entering Residency) Urology Mentorship Program pairs current residents and fellows with medical students who identify as Black, Latinx, Indigenous, or Native American/Hawaiian and are interested in urology. I'm so proud of how we've expanded this program nationally, and of all our mentees across the country that are thriving in spite of all the challenges that they face. I received tons of mentorship and support to get to where I am today, so I really enjoy paying it forward and sharing that knowledge and advice with other future urologists.”

““You'll never know until you ask!" - very wise advice given to me by Dr. Kirsten Green when I was a 3rd year medical student. Society expects women to be overly polite, mild mannered, and soft spoken, at the cost of our own goals and careers. We all must contribute to changing this expectation by starting with ourselves. Seek out that leadership role, find strong mentorship from women role models, and ask for what you want - even if it's outside the parameters of the "norm" or "tradition." You'll never know until you ask!”

Micha Y-Z Cheng
Micha Y-Z Cheng, MD, MPH, MS

Michelle Van Kuiken
Michelle E. Van Kuiken, MD

“What I love about being a physician is how much meaning I find in work. Every day, I have the opportunity to learn something new while helping to improve the lives of others. There really is no better job in my opinion.”

“Choose whatever interests you and don’t ever feel like there are roles that are less appropriate for you because you’re a woman. Everyone benefits from the added diversity and perspective that you as a woman bring to your chosen field.”


“There are many things that I enjoy about being a physician at UCSF. In particular, I really enjoy getting to know my patients during their journey in managing their cancer. Interacting with people is one of the favorite parts of my job!”


“Dream big and never give up!”

Sima Porten
Sima Porten, MD, MPH