Mª Carmen Arias, president of the Medical College of Córdoba.
122 years have passed since the creation of the College of Physicians of Córdoba (Comcordoba). After more than a century of history, the College has for the first time a woman at the head of the institution, Mª Carmen Arias, who has been named president along with a joint team made up of six men and six women.
With a trajectory of more than 33 years of experience, Arias is a family doctor in rural areas, as well as a researcher at Imibic and a tutor for family medicine residents. To all this work, Arias now adds the presidency of Comcordoba, where he highlights the importance of the work and family conciliation as a starting point to attract more young people to Medicine.
Do you consider that there are gender differences in the positions of the medical profession?
I am here because I have many professionals in the province who have trusted me, both men and women. I don’t think the profession should be given sex. It is true that we have about 75 percent of women, but only from doctors over 30 years of age. There are more men older, so around 40 or 50 years we see that the percentage is equal and the number of men is increasing. This affects the positions, because they are assigned to people with more experience and by number there are more men.
The current reality is that there are more young women and, although we are few presidents, there are many managers and colleagues with managerial positions. In Córdoba we have many good examples of hospital directors, both public and private, this being the mirror of the reality of the profession.
Is there a ‘glass ceiling’?
I do not think so. We women are achieving everything we set out to do. It is true that we have greater difficulties when it comes to reconciling, but I believe that we are in the line of wanting and being able to achieve what we propose. At least in public health I consider that there are no problems, women are fighting and we do not have any kind of glass ceiling.
“I don’t think the profession should be given sex”
Around the conciliation. Does Comcordoba propose any measure to promote it?
It is a battle that we have and that we are going to fight. We have little personal time in our profession. The College has come a long way in promoting professional values and training and we are insisting on research.
We also highlight a part, which touches me as a professional and not only as president, which is Primary Care. Reconciliation is more complicated for Primary Care physicians, because patient care is continuous. There is not a time that you can dedicate to other topics and in the end you end up subtracting it from the time you dedicate to your family. We do it because it is what we like and it is our profession, so from the College of Physicians we work so that this conciliation can take place and that the institutions understand it.
This conciliation affects even more rural doctors, as is their case. What advantages does this type of medicine have then?
It is true that Rural Medicine has the negative part of traveling or not being around when there is a family emergency, but the rural rotation of all Family doctors passes through here and I have the opportunity to motivate them. Residents of Family and Community Medicine can see the advantages that Rural Medicine has. Among them, the closeness with the patient stands out and the power to do ‘Medicine with capital letters’, applied to all fields, as well as to attend to community and social problems.
It is also true that it is slower, because we need much more media. You can see that we do a lot of things from rural areas. An example is telemedicine, which was a necessity during the pandemic, but we had already done some things in that regard. The rural population is much older and it is necessary to help them in other ways, because you cannot always or can move around.
Can it be reconciled in rural medicine?
Yes, and it is not only my case, but that of many colleagues. To reconcile you have to make a great effort and sacrifices, but it is something that comes from the hand of this profession.
As president of Comcordoba. What will your lines of work be?
We are very ambitious. On the one hand, we already have the work of other presidents who have been contributing great lines of work and will remain. An example is the line of consolidation of the training of professionals, the one-stop shop or, in this last legislature, we are betting on telematic communication with the College. All this to improve visibility.
Looking to the future, we want to influence the opening of the School to the province, which has always been closely linked to the capital, because colleagues who are more distant also have a hard time. As for research, we want to deepen so that it is strengthened from all specialties.
Finally, we seek to promote public health education in health, informing and collaborating to address any doubts that may arise, as has happened during the pandemic. The objective is to become a strong School that serves as a home and accommodates personal situations and the profession that have to be solved, with an overall vision and in defense of the medical profession.
The Board of Directors of Comcordoba is joint. Was it premeditated?
The Statutes of the College say that there must be a ratio between men and women. The reality is that part of the Board of Directors has continued in the position and the important thing for those who make up the management team of the College of Physicians of Córdoba is that they are people who are involved in the profession and work for and to help their colleagues.
Now there are more women because we are more women in general, but probably at another time there will be more men. It is something that I consider to go with the statistics themselves. It is true that there are currently more women, 75 percent, with more young people studying medicine, with the difficulties involved in entering the career, so there are probably more women in positions and the proportion will increase in the future.
After their appointment, in total, there are five women at the head of a College of Physicians. Do you plan to carry out any joint measure?
So far I have not yet been able to have a meeting at the Council of Medical Colleges. Yes I have been vice president once, but I have not had the opportunity to meet the rest yet. I personally know some of the presidents and we could work together on a project. Contributing ideas and sharing work is always interesting.
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