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Breaking Barriers as Women
April 4, 2023
Women have had to fight for years to be considered individuals, and yet they are still perceived as less than men, making it ten times harder for them to be seen by society. With that said, several professional industries are male-dominated, and when women work in those fields, they are deemed incompetent. Dr. Isabelle M. Germano, however, a neurosurgeon in New York City, challenged this narrative. Germano joined the Mount Sinai neurosurgery faculty in 1992 to develop brain tumor and stereotactic clinical programs. She oversees the complete tumor program and co-directs the radiosurgery program. She has spent several years inventing innovative technology in the field of image-guided brain and spine surgery and has overseen a practical course for neurosurgeons all around the world to teach about it until it became standard-of-care. These advancements in technology are utilized to perform minimally invasive surgery on patients suffering from brain tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, movement problems, and spine disease or malignancies. Germano developed a basic science laboratory within the neurosurgery department to focus on translational research on cerebral malignancies, with a special emphasis on gene therapy, stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells. Dr. Germano has experienced being the only female neurosurgeon in a room filled with her male counterparts. Successful women who are breaking down boundaries and flourishing in historically male-dominated fields should, arguably, expect to be underestimated, misunderstood, disregarded, or even misrepresented. However, Dr. Germano’s experience serves as a reminder that those experiences will not break you. As women, we will always have to work harder to be perceived as equal to men, but that should not stop us from putting up a fight.