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Cover Focus | May 2016

Be a Leader

Those who know me personally or are connected to me on social media can undoubtedly perceive two things about me: (1) I love my kids. A lot. (But what mommy doesn’t love her kids?) And (2) I love endurance sports, specifically Ironmans, marathons, and ultramarathons. These two passions of mine take up most if not all of my free time outside the office. They help to define me, to make me who I am.

And, like others who have life passions that run as deep as mine, I have a few people to whom I look for motivation and inspiration. One of these is Roberta Gibb.

Ms. Gibb’s name is probably not as recognizable as the name Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston marathon as a numbered entrant in 1967. However, it is Ms. Gibb who was truly the first woman to run the Boston marathon—after she jumped out from a hiding spot in the bushes near the starting line when the race began in 1966. Ms. Gibb had applied to the Boston Athletic Association to run the marathon, but the organization denied her application, stating that “women were not physiologically capable of running 26 miles and, furthermore, under the rules that governed international sports, they were not allowed to run.”1

Finishing the marathon in 3:21:40—in a pair of her brother’s Bermuda shorts, tied tightly around her waist with twine; a navy-blue hooded sweatshirt, which she took off at some point during the race; and her black one-piece bathing suit—Ms. Gibb helped to change the sport of running forever.

Of the effects of her achievement, Ms. Gibb wrote: “It was a pivotal point in the evolution of social consciousness. It changed the way men thought about women, and it changed the way women thought about themselves. It replaced an old false belief with a new reality.”1

By now you are thinking: “How does this anecdote tie in to our cover focus?” Stay with me, the link is coming.

Just as Ms. Gibb was a pioneer in women’s running in the 1960s, today, a group of surgeons is pioneering a movement in physician leadership. The physicians who contributed to our cover focus, among others, advocate that becoming a more active participant in the business side of medicine will help to maintain patient care as the primary purpose of medicine.

I hope that the following series of articles can be part of the next pivotal point in the evolution of medicine and that it helps physicians change the way they think about business and about themselves as physician-leaders.

— Laura Straub, Editor-in-Chief

1. Gibb R. A Run of One’s Own. Running Past website. http://www.runningpast.com/gibb_story.htm. Accessed April 14, 2016.