ASTCT asked Linda J. Burns, M.D. questions about what it is like to be a woman in the transplantation and cellular therapy field in celebration of Women's History Month, March 2021.
Who inspired you to enter the BMT and cellular therapy field?
A patient. I’ll never forget her. I was an intern when a young woman was admitted with thrombocytopenia secondary to chemotherapy. Following a platelet transfusion she developed transfusion-associated GVHD and ultimately died from it. This was before we fully understood the need for irradiating blood products. The science fascinated me.
How do you inspire others?
I’m not sure I do, but I try! Keeping patients first, being supportive of colleagues, and respectively speaking up even when it’s the more difficult path.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in this field?
As a junior faculty, there were only five woman in the Department of Medicine, and I was the only one in my Division, so it’s been exciting to see women and under-represented minorities enter medicine. Our field is richer when diverse perspectives are represented. Inclusiveness matters.