Meet our #WomanCrushWednesday – Dr. Analiz Rodriguez, MD, PhD, fellowship-trained Neurosurgical Oncologist at UAMS!

Dr Analiz Rodriguez MD, PhD

“Surgery is a team sport.  Studies have shown that diverse teams with multiple perspectives function better.  Hardcore, talented surgeons can wear heels and a ponytail. We need to change the image of what a surgeon ‘looks’ like.”

Name:  Analiz Rodriguez MD PhD
Specialty: Neurosurgery
Undergraduate education: New College of Florida
Graduate education: Case Western Reserve University
Medical school: Case Western Reserve University
Residency: Wake Forest University
Fellowship: City of Hope National Medical Center
Hometown: Cape Coral, FL

Tell us about yourself?  “I am a neurosurgical oncologist who specializes in taking care of brain tumor patients. I am a surgeon-scientist so along with my clinical work, I run a research laboratory. I was a big science fair/math team nerd growing up who also wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I entered the MD/PhD program and shadowed a neurosurgeon very early on. I loved the dichotomy in neurosurgery between “hard” (i.e. drilling bone) and “soft” (i.e. delicate nuanced movements underneath a microscope). In residency, I most enjoyed taking care of brain tumor patients. Since these patients oftentimes have a short survival, the care you give them is very impactful. My goal for both my clinical and research work is to give people as much time and quality of life as possible.Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 11.32.33 AM.png

What are some fun facts about you?  “I have an artistic side. When I was in high school, my science teacher was shocked when I got second place in a statewide poetry competition.  She had no idea I wrote poetry. I also love crafts (like amigurumi) and cooking.”

What do you love about surgery? Your field?  “Neurosurgery is one of the newest surgical fields. The surgical techniques continue to evolve, and patient management is very complex. In my subspecialty, neurosurgical oncology, we deal with some of the most aggressive tumors of the human body. You have to try to outsmart the tumor without hurting the person. Every day you are trying to prolong precious lives and you have to keep going despite setbacks. It’s a field that attracts people who like challenges.”

Did you have a career before medical school?  “No, I went straight through training.”

What brought you to LR?  “As the only medical center in Arkansas, we really get to impact a large group of people. I am the only fellowship trained neurosurgical oncologist in the state right now.  Many studies have shown that when cancer patients have access to specialty care, they do better.  Given that a good proportion of people live in rural communities, we have to be creative to ensure they have access to care.  Our neurosurgery chairman, Dr. JD Day,  has a vision to provide the best quality care to people in this state which was in line with my personal values as a physician. I also really liked the research community I encountered during my interview.  There’s a lot of genuine southern hospitality here.”

What do you like to do when you’re not at the hospital?  “I am a cinephile and enjoy plays/performances.  I love French literature, museums, traveling and trying new restaurants.  My favorite activities to decompress are watching mindless, fun TV and shopping.”

Do you have some WISE words for women who want to become surgeons?  “There are many unique hurdles that you may encounter being a woman in surgery.  However, the last thing anyone needs is another woman blocking their path.  Surgery can be a “dog eat dog” environment so don’t carry a big chip on your shoulder or get bitter.  I think we need to promote sisterhood rather than competition.  Lastly, just be yourself. People feel pressure to fulfill stereotypes or to take on ‘masculine’ characteristics. Surgery is a team sport.  Studies have shown that diverse teams with multiple perspectives function better.  Hardcore, talented surgeons can wear heels and a ponytail.  We need to change the image of what a surgeon ‘looks’ like.

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