February 3, 2023, marks the sixth National Women Physicians Day in honor of trailblazing women in the medical field. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, whose birthday is celebrated on the date, was the first woman to earn her medical degree and paved the way for women physicians for the past 150 years. Today and every day, we celebrate and recognize the amazing and hard-working women of Access Sports Medicine. We interviewed our own Dr. Chelsea Backer about her experience as a female physician and her inspirations.
What got you interested in becoming a medical professional, and more specifically, a sports physician?
Dr. Backer: I got interested in Sports Medicine through my own experiences as an injured athlete. I grew up swimming and developed an overuse injury towards the end of high school and college. I worked with several physicians that helped me navigate my treatment and recovery. During my family medicine residency training, I always gravitated toward musculoskeletal injuries, and I realized I could become the doctor to others that I had when I was younger.
What do you appreciate about your day-to-day work as a female orthopedic physician?
Dr. Backer: I really enjoy the day-to-day variety of sports medicine. No two cases are the same. Each new chief complaint is a mystery to solve and (hopefully) help resolve. I also enjoy the camaraderie of the multi-disciplinary sports medicine team and working with people from all backgrounds (surgeons, physician assistants, athletic trainers, physical therapists, medical assistants, radiology, etc.) to help diagnose and get patients feeling better.
What’s the importance of your role as a female orthopedic physician?
Dr. Backer: I think it’s important to see people that look like you in all aspects of the workforce. If a patient or high school athlete can look at me and say, ‘if she can do it, maybe so can I,’ then I’ll have done some good. I also think that sometimes, particular patients/athletes/students feel more comfortable disclosing certain information and injuries to a female doctor, and I strive to provide that safe space and support.
How are you working to inspire the next generation?
Dr. Backer: I hope to listen and take great care of young athletes and help them navigate their treatment journey. By doing so, I hope they can consider medicine as a field, just as I did when I was a young injured athlete. I also hope young female athletes can look at me and realize that they can do this too!
Who inspires you?
Dr. Backer: I’m inspired daily by my patients and the team I work with. My patients are resilient and are sometimes struggling through terrible symptoms or unclear diagnoses. I’m inspired by their motivation and perseverance to get better! I’m also inspired by the amazing team I work with here at Access, who often go above and beyond to take care of patients.
Request an appointment today with Dr. Backer or one of our many other talented women at Access Sports Medicine.