No matter how many times Gifty was told "No" or it was suggested to her to pursue a different career, she pushed forward. Her belief in herself paved the way from her village in Ghana to becoming a surgeon at Michigan Medicine. Today, on International Women's Day, we celebrate Gifty Kwakye, MD, and all women, who have broken the bias in their field and pursued their passions. 

Dr. Gifty Kwakye completed her medical school at Yale University and holds a Master's in Public Health from Johns Hopkins. She completed her general surgery residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and colorectal surgery fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Kwakye joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2018 where she is now a colorectal surgeon. 

Breaking the Bias, and the crossed arms #BreakTheBias pose, are the themes for this year's International Women's Day. Join in celebrating those who help break the bias for International Women's Day on March 8th, 2022.

“Breaking the bias is promoting diversity, equality, inclusion, and wellbeing in the workplace. It’s creating spaces where we can educate ourselves on how social determinants of health contribute to health inequity. Breaking the bias is about how we as health care professionals can be a part of the change we need.“  Azsa Guthridge, BSN, RN Newborn Intensive Care Unit | C.S. Mott Children's Hospital
“Breaking the bias is promoting diversity, equality, inclusion, and wellbeing in the workplace. It’s creating spaces where we can educate ourselves on how social determinants of health contribute to health inequity. Breaking the bias is about how we as health care professionals can be a part of the change we need.“ Azsa Guthridge, BSN, RN Newborn Intensive Care Unit | C.S. Mott Children's Hospital
"Let's make Women empowering Women a new standard amongst one another."  Chrystal Miller, CST Surgery | UH-Main/Operating Room
"Let's make Women empowering Women a new standard amongst one another." Chrystal Miller, CST Surgery | UH-Main/Operating Room
“We can continue to break biases in our field by intentionally mentoring and sponsoring the next generation of women in medicine and science.”  Donnele Daley, MD Surgery
“We can continue to break biases in our field by intentionally mentoring and sponsoring the next generation of women in medicine and science.” Donnele Daley, MD Surgery
"I take action to create change by mentoring, sponsoring, and promoting to create an equitable and inclusive academic environment. There is so much work to do in this space and the steps we take as individuals will multiply, having a long-lasting impact on those we work with and future generations."  Durga Singer, MD Pediatric Endocrinology
"I take action to create change by mentoring, sponsoring, and promoting to create an equitable and inclusive academic environment. There is so much work to do in this space and the steps we take as individuals will multiply, having a long-lasting impact on those we work with and future generations." Durga Singer, MD Pediatric Endocrinology
“Breaking the bias means living everyday as my authentic self and empowering others to do the same. It means honoring those who came before while forging new paths for those who follow. It means speaking out against inequity and injustice in any form. In the words of Marianne Williamson, '…as we let our own light shine, We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.' Breaking the bias means shining our brilliant light for all to see!”  Ebony Parker-Featherstone, M.D. | Family Medicine & Obstetrics and Gynecology
“Breaking the bias means living everyday as my authentic self and empowering others to do the same. It means honoring those who came before while forging new paths for those who follow. It means speaking out against inequity and injustice in any form. In the words of Marianne Williamson, '…as we let our own light shine, We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.' Breaking the bias means shining our brilliant light for all to see!” Ebony Parker-Featherstone, M.D. | Family Medicine & Obstetrics and Gynecology
"I am committed to breaking bias by cultivating a creative academic environment in which diverse faculty, learners, and staff are valued and can achieve excellence. Together, we break bias by maintaining a culture of creativity, camaraderie, empathy, and courage."  Erika Newman, MD Pediatric Surgery
"I am committed to breaking bias by cultivating a creative academic environment in which diverse faculty, learners, and staff are valued and can achieve excellence. Together, we break bias by maintaining a culture of creativity, camaraderie, empathy, and courage." Erika Newman, MD Pediatric Surgery
"I am breaking the bias by showing up and speaking up in spaces that have not always had AAPI voices. I look forward to a day when AAPI women/transwomen are not viewed as a monolith or a threat. A day when stereotypes no longer endanger our lives and those of our families. That regardless of one’s gender, you can be fully seen, heard and humanized. I remain hopeful we can challenge notions of what a ‘leader’ should look like and counter harmful thoughts and actions through self-reflection and an understanding of the dire need to contribute towards a more just, equitable, and inclusive health system."  Erin Khang, LMSW Social Work
"I am breaking the bias by showing up and speaking up in spaces that have not always had AAPI voices. I look forward to a day when AAPI women/transwomen are not viewed as a monolith or a threat. A day when stereotypes no longer endanger our lives and those of our families. That regardless of one’s gender, you can be fully seen, heard and humanized. I remain hopeful we can challenge notions of what a ‘leader’ should look like and counter harmful thoughts and actions through self-reflection and an understanding of the dire need to contribute towards a more just, equitable, and inclusive health system." Erin Khang, LMSW Social Work
"Breaking biases that support patriarchal systems to better support our learners and faculty at Michigan Medicine."  Helen Kang Morgan, MD OBGYN
"Breaking biases that support patriarchal systems to better support our learners and faculty at Michigan Medicine." Helen Kang Morgan, MD OBGYN
“I support women by celebrating their accomplishments and helping them with their obstacles. During my career, I have been lucky to mentor other women that were new to Michigan Medicine. As a latinix, it’s important that women feel welcome to our institution. I want to be there for other women not only helping with their jobs but listening to their issues with work/life balance. I, myself, I am part of a wonderful sisterhood of women at Rogel Cancer Center!”  Lucia Baru, Administrative Specialist  Rogel Cancer Center
“I support women by celebrating their accomplishments and helping them with their obstacles. During my career, I have been lucky to mentor other women that were new to Michigan Medicine. As a latinix, it’s important that women feel welcome to our institution. I want to be there for other women not only helping with their jobs but listening to their issues with work/life balance. I, myself, I am part of a wonderful sisterhood of women at Rogel Cancer Center!” Lucia Baru, Administrative Specialist Rogel Cancer Center
“I grew up in Argentina, where I completed my BSc and PhD in Biochemistry, at The National University of La Plata, in the Province of Buenos Aires. During the time I was attending college, Argentine was under the grip of the bloodiest military dictatorship in South America that killed and “disappeared” more that 30,000 people, including close friends from college. This harrowing experience gave me a unique perspective on how to deal with and break the bias in my field and more broadly academia. I came to realize that as individuals we are much stronger and powerful than what we believe we are. That strength and power, comes from within, but our mentors, networks and advocates are the ones that help bring it to light for ourselves! I strive to be that advocate, that mentor, that friend, that colleague, so that my experiences can help empower others. Breaking the bias in my field is a collective endeavor and I aim to be an integral part of that collective. Onwards always!”  Maria G. Castro, PhD RC Schnieder Collegiate Professor of Neurosurgery
“I grew up in Argentina, where I completed my BSc and PhD in Biochemistry, at The National University of La Plata, in the Province of Buenos Aires. During the time I was attending college, Argentine was under the grip of the bloodiest military dictatorship in South America that killed and “disappeared” more that 30,000 people, including close friends from college. This harrowing experience gave me a unique perspective on how to deal with and break the bias in my field and more broadly academia. I came to realize that as individuals we are much stronger and powerful than what we believe we are. That strength and power, comes from within, but our mentors, networks and advocates are the ones that help bring it to light for ourselves! I strive to be that advocate, that mentor, that friend, that colleague, so that my experiences can help empower others. Breaking the bias in my field is a collective endeavor and I aim to be an integral part of that collective. Onwards always!” Maria G. Castro, PhD RC Schnieder Collegiate Professor of Neurosurgery
"I break the bias by writing stories that bring attention to the work of our female faculty, including work focused on gender disparities and gender discrimination. I hope that by helping to provide a public platform for these researchers, their important messages move beyond the scientific world and become a conversation we have at multiple levels throughout society. I also mentor other women in my field to bolster the next generation of female leaders."  Nicole Fawcett Director of Communications for Rogel Cancer Center
"I break the bias by writing stories that bring attention to the work of our female faculty, including work focused on gender disparities and gender discrimination. I hope that by helping to provide a public platform for these researchers, their important messages move beyond the scientific world and become a conversation we have at multiple levels throughout society. I also mentor other women in my field to bolster the next generation of female leaders." Nicole Fawcett Director of Communications for Rogel Cancer Center
"On this International Women’s Day, we have much to celebrate and also much to do to ensure fair equality of opportunity to women.  As fields like my own profession of medicine become increasingly inclusive, we improve our ability to discover new ways to improve health and deliver the highest quality care to our patients.  Together, we can demonstrate that when we #BreakTheBias and ensure that all can reach their full potential, we all gain."  Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine
"On this International Women’s Day, we have much to celebrate and also much to do to ensure fair equality of opportunity to women. As fields like my own profession of medicine become increasingly inclusive, we improve our ability to discover new ways to improve health and deliver the highest quality care to our patients. Together, we can demonstrate that when we #BreakTheBias and ensure that all can reach their full potential, we all gain." Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine
"How I break the bias: I gently but firmly correct those who identify me as a nurse or any other member of the healthcare team instead of a physician. I support other women on the healthcare team by empowering them to work at the top of their licenses and learn new skills. I hope in my new faculty role to mentor many women in medicine and open the conversation about breaking the bias."  Sarah Allexan, MD Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
"How I break the bias: I gently but firmly correct those who identify me as a nurse or any other member of the healthcare team instead of a physician. I support other women on the healthcare team by empowering them to work at the top of their licenses and learn new skills. I hope in my new faculty role to mentor many women in medicine and open the conversation about breaking the bias." Sarah Allexan, MD Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
“I grew up in Panchkula, India and I am the only women in my family to have successfully pursued higher education (PhD) in the United States. Currently, I am working as a senior post-doctoral fellow in Arul Chinnaiyan’s lab (University of Michigan). My research interests have consistently revolved around ways of studying cancer progression and therapeutic targeting. I am highly inspired by my mentor - Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan, and strongly admire his vision of conducting high quality science. My life journey so far has been adventurous, and I can describe it like an electrocardiogram graph (highs and lows). Despite the challenges of my journey, my perseverance and dedication helped me overcome the language differences, financial obstacles, and gender barriers I have encountered. Being the first women in my family to complete doctoral education, I have encouraged younger girls to also educate themselves and have been a role model for them. I believe education is the most expensive asset and life-changing opportunity. I am very thankful to my family, mentors, and students for their extensive support in this journey. I believe Michigan Medicine with its diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment is an excellent place for women in science. Here is my message to all the women: “Break the barriers inside you, to break the bias outside”  Seema Chugh, PhD Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP) Rogel Cancer Center
“I grew up in Panchkula, India and I am the only women in my family to have successfully pursued higher education (PhD) in the United States. Currently, I am working as a senior post-doctoral fellow in Arul Chinnaiyan’s lab (University of Michigan). My research interests have consistently revolved around ways of studying cancer progression and therapeutic targeting. I am highly inspired by my mentor - Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan, and strongly admire his vision of conducting high quality science. My life journey so far has been adventurous, and I can describe it like an electrocardiogram graph (highs and lows). Despite the challenges of my journey, my perseverance and dedication helped me overcome the language differences, financial obstacles, and gender barriers I have encountered. Being the first women in my family to complete doctoral education, I have encouraged younger girls to also educate themselves and have been a role model for them. I believe education is the most expensive asset and life-changing opportunity. I am very thankful to my family, mentors, and students for their extensive support in this journey. I believe Michigan Medicine with its diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment is an excellent place for women in science. Here is my message to all the women: “Break the barriers inside you, to break the bias outside” Seema Chugh, PhD Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP) Rogel Cancer Center
"Don’t critique, extend a helping hand to each other! Don’t assume the worst, extend understanding Break the bias by uniting and claiming equality With maintaining individuality! Michigan Medicine understands and respects the need to recognize and break the bias!"  Ulka Vaishampayan, MD Medical Oncology
"Don’t critique, extend a helping hand to each other! Don’t assume the worst, extend understanding Break the bias by uniting and claiming equality With maintaining individuality! Michigan Medicine understands and respects the need to recognize and break the bias!" Ulka Vaishampayan, MD Medical Oncology
"Breaking the bias is about speaking up and speaking out. It’s about not tolerating ignorance and injustice, but rather being a fighter and advocate for equity, inclusion, and social Justice at all times and in all spaces. It’s about demanding more from our community and ourselves."  Versha Pleasant, MD, MPH OBGYN
"Breaking the bias is about speaking up and speaking out. It’s about not tolerating ignorance and injustice, but rather being a fighter and advocate for equity, inclusion, and social Justice at all times and in all spaces. It’s about demanding more from our community and ourselves." Versha Pleasant, MD, MPH OBGYN

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