As Woman’s History Month draws to an end, we are very happy to bring you a special episode of Planning on Call. This episode features a discussion on ‘Impostor Syndrome’ between three female physicians, all representing different generations. Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Arendt, a 1979 Medical School graduate, Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist Dr. Julie Thompson a 2001 Medical School graduate, and Plastic Surgeon Dr. Emily Van Kouwenberg who graduated Medical School in 2012.

I would encourage you to listen to full interview of this episode of ‘Planning on Call,’ the podcast, here:

Follow the links below to listen to The Atlas Advantage on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Libsyn:

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The term Imposter Syndrome may be new to some people. As defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary imposter syndrome is “a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success”[1]. The term has actually been around for some time, originally defined by two professors at Georgia State University, Pauline Rose Clance & Suzanne Imes, in a 1978 research paper. Here is a bit of the abstract from that piece… ‘The term impostor phenomenon is used to designate an internal experience of intellectual phonies, which appears to be particularly prevalent and intense among a select sample of high achieving women. Certain early family dynamics and later introjection of societal sex-role stereotyping appear to contribute significantly to the development of the impostor phenomenon. Despite outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, women who experience the imposter phenomenon persist in believing that they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise. Numerous achievements, which one might expect to provide ample object evidence of superior intellectual functioning, do not appear to affect the impostor belief.’[2]

This phenomenon seems to be particularly relevant these days, and you can find evidence of this just by googling ‘Impostor Syndrome’ and finding a myriad of articles examining the topic and its pronounced effect on working professionals, women, and minorities in particular.

As I have relented in many of my recent blog posts, I will not take anything away from my guests by trying to reinterpret anything they’ve said. I would just encourage anyone, no matter their profession, race, or gender, to give this episode a listen to hear three successful individuals discuss their journey overcoming external pressures and internal insecurities. I think everyone can relate to the experiences shared, and will hopefully learn something too – whether that be a better understanding of their own struggle with imposter syndrome or recognizing and helping others with it along their professional journey.


[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impostor%20syndrome

[2] https://www.paulineroseclance.com/pdf/ip_high_achieving_women.pdf


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