Meet this week’s #WomanCrushWednesday, Dr. Rachel L. Slotcavage, MD, a fellowship-trained Endocrine Surgeon!
“Never compete with anyone other than yourself – your dreams and goals are yours alone, and if you achieve them, you have been successful.” – Dr. Rachel L. Slotcavage, M.D.
Name: Rachel L. Slotcavage, M.D.
Specialty: Endocrine Surgery
Undergraduate education: Bucknell University
Medical school: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Residency: Cooper University Hospital
Fellowship: Cleveland Clinic
Hometown: North Catasauqua, PA
Tell us about yourself?
I was born and raised in North Catasauqua, PA – between my last name and my town, spelling was a huge hurdle early in life! I received my B.S. at Bucknell University, then went on to earn my M.D. and complete my post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania. Believe it or not, I desperately wanted to be an Orthopaedic Surgeon, but the Match had other plans. Therefore my training was somewhat fractured. I did my internship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, then my General Surgery residency at Cooper University Hospital (now of Rowan University) in Camden, NJ – the most dangerous city in the country makes for interesting Trauma training! It was very clear to me that I wanted to do something else with life, and fell in love with Endocrine Surgery in my PGY-II year. After spending a year working with stem cells in the lab, I returned as a PGY-III to find the field was just as exciting to me as it ever had been, and I pursued my Endocrine Surgery fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic, matching into one of 26 spots in the country.
What are some fun facts about you?
- I didn’t Match (more than once).
- I played high school football – I was a left tackle and played on the kickoff and punt return teams.
- I am city girl through and through – my heart will probably always be in Philadelphia. I’d actually never had a yard until moving to Arkansas, and promptly hired someone else to…do whatever it is one does with grass.
What do you love about surgery? Your field?
I love the instant gratification of removing a tumor or stopping a bleeding vessel. I love that I can make people better with my two hands. Surgery offers an intimate connection with your patient’s body that no other field offers! Regarding Endo Surg specifically, I love that I do a lot of diagnostics, like performing my own biopsies and ordering complex lab work, prior to the OR – I get to practice the art of medicine, not just the technical aspects of surgery. Thyroid and parathyroid surgery are very oriented towards fine details and meticulousness, which suits me very well. Also, my colleagues are delightfully nerdy – and I mean that as the highest possible compliment because I fit in perfectly!
Did you have a career before medical school?
Not unless you count working part time as a lifeguard at the University gym through all 4 years of medical school!
What brought you to Little Rock?
Short answer: the two physician job search! My husband is a neurologist, and we are both passionate about medical education. We needed to find an institution that presented good opportunities for both our unique mutual interest as well as my uncommon specialty.
What do you like to do when you’re not at the hospital?
I am a devoted road cyclist and currently training for a time trial in March. I sometimes pretend to be a runner, and my preferred distance is the 10k. I’m also a huge foodie, which is likely how the above two hobbies came to be!
Do you have some WISE words for women who want to become surgeons?
No one can do it all. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can. It’s all about balance – at times you will be a better doctor, at times a better wife or mother, at times a better housekeeper, and at times you won’t get out of bed on a Saturday! Be prepared to acknowledge that you aren’t perfect, but still strive to beat yesterday every day. Never compete with anyone other than yourself – your dreams and goals are yours alone, and if you achieve them, you have been successful. No matter what, it takes a village – your family, significant other, friends, and colleagues – but never forget that you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of YOU!