Woman Wednesday Series: Dr. Skylar Stewart-Clark
In continued observance of Women’s History Month, this week’s Woman Wednesday spotlight is on Dr. Skylar Stewart-Clark. Before joining the faculty at the Charleston Southern University’s Physician Assistant program, Clark practiced adult urology and urologic oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina as well as served as adjunct faculty in the MUSC PA program. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy in biomedical engineering from Louisiana Tech University as well as a Master of Science in physician assistant studies from MUSC.
Clark is passionate about unconscious bias and diversity in medicine and guest lectures on these topics. She also volunteers with the Seacoast Dream Center Clinic in Charleston.
Passion for medicine and faith
What advice do you have for women seeking a career in the medical field, specifically physician assistants?
Prioritize self-care, have a support system, find a mentor, and ensure the goals you aspire to complement your values. The truth is that during professional school there will always be more studying to be done. Further, once you start working as a healthcare provider, much of your day will revolve around what you do at work. Being grounded and centered in who you are will help encourage balance especially when difficult or challenging circumstances arise. Outside of the focus on yourself, be humble, and learn to cultivate relationships with others.
What does it mean to you to be a woman working in the field?
To be a female in healthcare is extremely motivating because I am surrounded by countless female peers and female leaders. What is exciting is that there are so many women in healthcare who are being recognized for their contributions. One of the challenges of being a female in healthcare is managing competing demands for your time—that is being true to self while achieving both personal and professional fulfillment. As females this often includes wearing many hats in home life and balancing those responsibilities with work life. I am blessed that I have found a career that allows me to take every opportunity possible, every day, to seek to achieve that balance.
Who inspired you to do what you do today and why?
There is no doubt that I was called to practice medicine. As I reflect, there have been countless along my professional journey, including my grandparents who instilled a strong work ethic, my parents, who made sure I had every resource necessary to reach my personal goals, professors who challenged me, research mentors, and physicians and physician assistants with whom I volunteered both here and abroad.
Why is it important for women, specifically women of color, to work in healthcare?
There continues to be a need for diversity in medicine, and women of color are underrepresented. We know that gaps in healthcare outcomes persist in marginalized and resource poor communities–these communities are most often communities of color. We also know that studies show that people of color are more likely to provide care in communities of color. It is, therefore, absolutely critical that women of color be normalized as healthcare providers. In my opinion, this is key to starting to build a pool of female providers of color who can serve as role models for future generations of females of color aspiring to work in healthcare.
Any other advice?
You can’t be what you can’t dream. So dream big!