This summer the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Family Physicians Society (POFPS) elected its first all-female executive committee. In honor of Women in Medicine Month, ACOFP is proud to congratulate them and feature a member spotlight on their new vice president, Christine Rohanna, DO.
This summer the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Family Physicians Society (POFPS) elected its first all-female executive committee, possibly the first all-female executive committee of any ACOFP state society. In honor of Women in Medicine Month, ACOFP is proud to congratulate them and feature the following member spotlight on their new vice president, Christine Rohanna, DO.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a physician?
When I was in 4th grade, part of our science class was designing an experiment. On the returned assignment, my teacher wrote, “You should be a scientist!” on the top. My mom was a PT and worked in the local hospital so I would go to work with her sometimes. Somehow that comment about going into science translated into working at the hospital and I just assumed I was meant to be a doctor!
Why did you choose family medicine?
It chose me. I started residency as a traditional rotating intern but then did two prelim surgical years. In the meantime, FM preceptors who knew me from med school rotations had been trying to convince me that I was meant to be in family medicine. There were some life circumstances that convinced me about halfway through my second prelim year that they were absolutely correct, and I was luckily able to transfer into family medicine.
What is your favorite aspect of osteopathic family medicine?
I love getting to know entire families of patients. It can be so helpful to figure out something going on in a younger generation because you saw it in their older relative. I love that I can do almost anything–procedures, OMT, etc.–and my patients don’t need to go anywhere else. That’s so important in a rural practice where we don’t always have accessible resources.
How did you get involved in POFPS?
I became a member as a resident at the encouragement of a friend who became a colleague (and later POFPS president). Later, when there was a vacancy on the board of trustees, that same friend called to see if I’d be willing to serve on the board of trustees. I was voted on to the board in 2015 and have been involved ever since.
Why did you volunteer to run for the POFPS board?
I also have a bad habit of not saying “no.” It’s how I get involved in most things–and definitely how I got onto the board! But when there was a vacancy in the secretary-treasurer position I volunteered. I feel that you can only be part of a solution to problems if you’re involved and active in representative societies. Running for office was a natural extension, and I can’t wait to continue my service as the current VP.
What advice do you have for other female physicians in our specialty?
Stay true to yourself. Find what is important to you in life and in practice and let it steer your decisions. Remember that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of anyone else, and that there are going to be frustrating days but there are going to be so many rewarding days as well. We are the cornerstone of care in family medicine–we can do almost anything and, because of that, we can help our patients live healthier lives.
What’s your favorite moment of your career so far?
Learning all we can do in family medicine. I didn’t know when I was in training that I could work in student health and travel medicine (which I have). I didn’t know I could work as an MRO (which I have). I also love caring for the community near where I grew up. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.