Eva Niyibizi

1984

Head physician in Emergency and Internal Medicine at Geneva University Hospitals (HUG), Geneva

"Now we have to identify all the bias and taboos that women face in order to put an end to them."

My career path

I’m a specialist in emergency and internal medicin, and work as one of the head physicians in the adult emergency room at the university hospital in Geneva. I completed my medical training in Belgium, Switzerland and Israel. I work closely with patients, help to set up their treatment plan, supervise teams, and oversee and provide clinical training to young doctors.

I’m passionate about helping people and being close to the community. I try to do what I can for my patients and to meet their most pressing needs. It’s very varied – you never know what will happen. I work in a team, supervise younger doctors and do whatever I can to provide safe, high-quality care. That’s what drives me.

Raising awareness undoubtedly takes longer in medical circles, but it’s coming and it’s already visible in the younger generations. Now we have to identify all the bias and taboos that women face in order to put an end to them. I decided to turn my frustration into something constructive and long-lasting by uniting forces. In early 2018, I created a group called MedFem with the aim of bringing male and female doctors together to ensure we have the tools we need to adjust to the “feminization” of medicine. We want to build bridges with all those around us – and in all areas.

It is always helpful to talk with friends and colleagues because you realize that your own personal situation is more common than you might think. I also learned a lot from my mentors – both men and women – outside my hospital and from other faculty members.

A downside or obstacle ? Striking the right balance between my work and my private life, and looking after myself, my body, my sleep cycle, my friends and my family with the same care I give my patients. And overcoming the natural resistance that some people have to cultural change.

At the moment in medicine, even though there are more and more women coming in, in my direct hierarchy there’s only one woman and seven men. There’s a lack of female mentors and role models, and people are still unaware of the networks out there. Career plans are vague, often incompatible with family life and offer no real alternative or flexibility. Women are held back in their careers by glass ceilings and sticky floors. The conservative mentality is often not very inclusive, and there’s plenty of benevolent and complacent sexism out there. All too often, to get recognition women have to do “better than the men”.

I’m proud of my empathy, my love for my patients, my positive energy and my ability to think outside the box. I do my best to cocreate and maintain an intra-hospital medical culture that is more humanistic and caring towards doctors. I also do what I can to increase awareness of the changes that have to be made to include more women in our profession, and to build an environment in which women doctors help each other and drive the change. My multicultural background and independent mind give me an outsider’s view in some ways, and that helps me to challenge the status quo – and to condemn violent and discriminatory attitudes. But above all, it’s about building the bridges we need to keep moving in the right direction.

The Proust Questionnaire

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Au-delà de votre profession

La méditation, les livres, la danse, l’astrophysique, les marches et les découvertes en voyage.

Des personnes qui vous inspirent

Michelle Obama, sa présence et sa force et mon grand-père Mathias. Jeune orphelin élevé par une famille suisse dans les années 1930, il a toujours privilégié le dialogue. Il nous a appris à être fier-e-s de nos identités multiples et à cultiver l’excellence.

Un livre & un film

Femmes qui courent avec les loups (Clarissa Pinkola Estes), The power of vulnerability. Dare to Lead (Brené Brown) et Frida (Julie Taymor).

Un modèle

Nous sommes devenues nos propres mentores et modèles, vu que nous n’en avions pas assez…

Un objet

L’arbre. Ses racines, son tronc, son feuillage, son rôle, sa cime.

Une couleur

Le jaune… pour le moment.

Un rêve

Faire le tour du monde.