SheHeroes Episode 9: Dr. Verna Gibbs

Dr. Verna Gibbs is a professor of surgery at the University of California, San Francisco.  Dr. Gibbs, is also the director of NoThing Left Behind, a national surgical patient safety project. Every year in the U.S. an estimated 4,000 cases of ‚Äúretained surgical items"(RSI's, as they are known in the medical world), or surgical tools are accidentally left behind in patients leading to serious injury and long term health problems for patients. Dr. Gibbs' project Nothing Left Behind is on the forefront of researching and promoting better hospital practices to prevent this from happening.

Currently, Dr Gibbs is the Chair of the SFVAMC Surgical Service Quality Improvement Committee, the Physician Utilization Management Advisor and the faculty director of the VA Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP) at the SFVAMC. She is Chair of the Physicians Relations Committee for Quality Improvement at Anthem Blue Cross of California and is a member of the Wellpoint Physicians Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University.

Discussion Questions

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  1. What do you think it must have been like for the Gibbs family to move into an all-white neighborhood and be fearful for their safety?  Why do you think that Dr. Gibbs' father and mother chose to do that? Have you ever experienced discrimination?
  2. Dr. Gibbs said that the role models for girls were more limited during the time that she grew up than for boys.  Dr. Gibbs played with her brother's chemistry set and people assumed that she wanted to become a Dr. like her father but he was more interested in her brother's future than hers.  What do you think about that?  Do you think that there are different expectations for girls than boys?
  3. Do you think that it is more important for someone to believe in you or for you to believe in yourself to succeed?  This answer will be different for everyone.
  4. Given what you know about Dr. Gibbs early experiences from the video, why do you think she wanted to become a doctor?  What do you want to be or do?
  5. Dr. Gibbs says she takes a lot of pride in her family--Dr. Gibbs daughter is named after her mother.  She says, "You have to know where you come from and where you are going." Can you answer that question for yourself?
  6. Dr. Gibbs says that to be successful, children need to know how to play. Play is how you learn and build skill sets to work with others.  Do you think that your parents and your school agree with that statement?  Do you agree with that statement?

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