Interview with Dr. Lina Triana, MD (Colombia) – ISAPS President-Elect 2022-2024

ISAPS: As Chair of the ISAPS Women Surgeons Committee, what are your expectations, vision, and goals for the Committee moving forward?

Triana: We as women spend our day between work and family, sacrificing many times our dreams. ISAPS Women Surgeons Committee is a space where we can all share our experiences and challenges working towards how we, as woman plastic surgeons, can live life free to do what we are passionate about. ISAPS Women Surgeons Committee is a space for networking, for finding new possibilities. Today we live in a world where the majority of scientific papers and books are produced by men. What if we empower women plastic surgeons to write scientific literature? This is the first step to have more women on the podium, this and much more, is what we can make possible in our Committee.

ISAPS: You are one of the few women Presidents-Elect for ISAPS: how do you feel about it and why is it so important to get more representation for women in plastic surgery?

Triana: When I started working as a plastic surgeon, I wanted a change. But changes don’t simply happen. You have to take action. And to achieve changes you must be part of the leadership. I ended up being the first woman ever elected as president of the Colombian Society of Plastic, Aesthetic, and Reconstructive Surgery. And not because it was my goal. I ended up being president by serving the society, making people around me see me as a leader. And that’s how you end up in these leadership positions. I encourage all women to do what we do best: serve, and by doing so become leaders! We are leaders in many areas of life. Let’s also lead in the scientific world, in scientific meetings, and in our aesthetic plastic surgery practice.

ISAPS: As a woman and plastic surgeon, what advice do you have for women pursuing a similar career path, and what can they do to stand out in their career and achieve leadership positions?

Triana: I don’t believe that, just because you belong to a special group, you have to be treated in a special way. You have to create yourself as a professor, you have to create the future that you envision. At ISAPS, we help each other by networking, ISAPS gives us mentoring opportunities. We have to fulfill the vision where women are excellent with their families, in the scientific world, in their jobs, and with our patients.

ISAPS: Do you perceive obstacles / barriers for aspiring or resident women plastic surgeons and how do you feel these can be overcome?

Triana: I perceived obstacles when I climbed the ladder, but sometimes you add obstacles yourself. You doubt yourself, but life shows you that you can achieve anything you want. You have to live towards something bigger than yourself, for your colleagues, for your patients. By aiming for a bigger purpose, you make it possible that all those around you move towards a common goal. You create a future that simply wouldn’t have happened. I invite all ISAPS women to do the same.

ISAPS: How can ISAPS support women specifically to progress in their careers?

Triana: By networking and mentoring each other towards seeking new opportunities. These opportunities come by following examples through real life situations, or by helping each other. I invite you all to be part of our ISAPS Women Surgeons Committee and enlarge our community and networking opportunities. By doing so, we are taking action, we are creating a change towards how others and ourselves see us women plastic surgeons.

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