EP. 85 Reflections from Dr. Susan Bailey, AMA’s 175th President

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Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Woman Dr. Susan Bailey, practicing allergist/immunologist and lifelong advocate for patients through her work in advocacy.  As the 175th President of the American Medical Association, Dr. Bailey is completing forty years of leadership service in organized medicine.  She claims “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up” when asked what is next and spent some time reflecting on her years of service during this episode of Inspiring Women.

Dr. Bailey has always been a joiner, loving clubs and leadership, and as an extrovert, getting energy from being around other people.  She views advocacy as a professional obligation and privilege.  When she started in medicine, she had a successful practice, participated in organized medicine while raising two boys as a single mom.  How did she make it work?  It took a village but having flexibility with her schedule and the financial considerations of her practice were key.  She believes working parents have to have a Plan A…B…C…. AND D to make it work, certainly then, and also today.

When discussing the evolution of women in medicine, Dr. Bailey reflected on her experience.  She did not have many female mentors as there were many fewer women in medicine back then.  And while she did break various gender barriers, she always thought things would just work out for women in medicine.  But not anymore.  She points out the disparities –  today, over a third of physicians are women which doesn’t correlate to medical school deans where only 12% are women.  And the lack of gender pay parity is just wrong.  Dr. Bailey suggests that women be intentional and be outspoken.  Consensus building is wonderful, but that should not mean NOT negotiating for what is fair.

Dr. Bailey asks women to reach their hand out to help other women by being a mentor.  She also strongly supports being involved in organized medicine as it is gratifying to feel that sense of achievement with other like-minded colleagues.

Thank you for your service and leadership Dr. Bailey!!


Susan R. Bailey, MD, an allergist/immunologist from Fort Worth, Texas, was the 175th president of the American Medical Association. Previously, she served as president-elect of the AMA for one year, speaker of the AMA House of Delegates for four years and as vice speaker for four years.

Dr. Bailey, who has been active in the AMA since medical school when she served as chair of the AMA Medical Student Section, has held numerous leadership positions with the AMA. These include serving as chair of both the Advisory Panel on Women in Medicine and the AMA Council on Medical Education, as well as representing the AMA on the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the American Board of Medical Specialties, and COLA.

Her long history of service in helping guide organized medicine extends to the local and state levels as well. She has served as board chair and president of the Tarrant County Medical Society, and as vice speaker, speaker and president of the Texas Medical Association.

Dr. Bailey is an allergist in private practice and has been with Fort Worth Allergy and Asthma Associates for over 30 years. She completed her residency in general pediatrics and a fellowship in allergy/immunology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and is board certified in allergy and immunology, and pediatrics and has been awarded the title of Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

In addition to receiving her medical degree with honors from the Texas A&M University College of Medicine as a member of its charter class, Dr. Bailey was later appointed to the Texas A&M System Board of Regents by then Gov. George W. Bush, and has been named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University and of Texas A&M University College of Medicine.

Dr. Bailey is married to W. Douglas Bailey, has two sons and one grandson, and is an elder and longtime choir member of her church.

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