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AAP-CA3’s Inspiring Women Feature on Dr. Alice Pong

For Women’s History Month, we are recognizing chapter members who are making AAP-CA3 history.

Dr. Alice Pong, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. She is also the Clinical Director of Infectious Diseases as well as Medical Director of Infection Control and Antimicrobial Stewardship.

Please take some time to read through Dr. Pong’s wonderful story where she shares some incredible advice and thoughtful insight.

1. When did you know you wanted to become a doctor/pediatrician?

“I decided to pursue medicine after working as a volunteer at a pediatric hospital in high school.”

2. Who are some of your role models and why?

“I’m lucky to have a lot of great role models. My father was the first person in his family to go to college and my mother immigrated from Japan. Both of them showed me not to let personal circumstances limit what you can do. I also had the privilege of having several wonderful physician mentors, including Dr. Marian Melish when I was in college. She showed me that female physicians can be good clinicians, participate in research, AND have a family. Dr. John Bradley has also been an awesome mentor for me in the field of infectious diseases.”

3. What are the most significant barriers you had to overcome?

“I don’t think I have experienced ‘barriers’ but there are always challenges. I grew up in Hawaii so it was a challenge breaking out of the safety of the smaller community into a larger one. Another challenge is balancing everything I want to do with the finite amount of time to do them (probably not an uncommon problem for most of us). There are so many opportunities and choosing which to accept and do well is a constant challenge.”

4. What are some of the leadership roles you currently hold, and can you speak to the importance of having more women in leadership positions?

“My leadership roles include being the Clinical Director of Infectious Diseases as well as Medical Director of Infection Control and Antimicrobial Stewardship at Rady Children’s Hospital. It is critical that women have leadership positions because we often have a different perspective than many men and will bring things up for consideration that might be overlooked. Leaders make decisions that affect others. In pediatrics where we are dealing with taking care of children, and where a large part of our workforce are women, we need to have a voice in those decisions.”

5. What advice would you give to women who are going through medical school, residency, or who are early in their career?

“Medicine is a team effort and everyone has an important role to play. Do not be afraid to ask questions and do not downplay questions that are asked by others. You do not need to have all the answers. Also – as you try to determine what you want to do with your career, focus on what you are passionate about.”

6. What are some initiatives/programs/efforts you would like to promote or want people to know more about?

“We are not completely free from COVID-19 yet. Vaccination is still the best protection we have so I hope people continue to advocate for this.”