A friendship formed at Georgetown is the inspiration behind new book for aspiring physicians

Five Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM) alumnae—Diane Boykin (M’98), Leah Matthews (M’97), Sylvia Morris (M’98), Jessica Osborn (M’97), and Angela Walker (M’97)—recently discussed their new book, The Game Plan: A Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Doctor and Living a Life in Medicine. Throughout the book, the authors reflect on their journeys from Georgetown medical students to medical professionals while covering a wide range of topics, including applying to medical school, choosing a specialty, and facing barriers for female physicians. The book also offers a detailed look at each author’s typical day as busy medical professionals and their attempts to achieve work/life balance. 

“The idea was to share the real-life activities that add hours to your day, especially those things you typically don’t talk about, certainly not in medical school or even with mentors,” says Walker, an OB/GYN currently serving as medical director for Humana. “One mother I spoke with said that she was going to have her daughter, who wasn’t planning to go into medicine, read the book because of the practical advice we offer for professional women in general,” she continues. “That’s a bonus that wasn’t on my radar.”

Finding a supportive community at Georgetown

Four of the five co-authors (Boykin, Morris, Osborn, and Walker) first met in the 1992-93 academic year as students in the Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies (GEMS) program,  a one-year, competitive non-degree post-baccalaureate program designed to equip underrepresented and disadvantaged students for success in medical education. 

GEMS participants complete classes selected from the actual first-year medical school curriculum and have access to advising specific to their individual skills and needs. From its founding in 1977 to 2023, 902 students have matriculated into the GEMS program. Over half of GEMS graduates have become physicians, and  others have engaged in other health fields. 

When Boykin, Morris, Osborn, and Walker began GEMS, it marked the first time women made up 40% of incoming medical school classes nationally, up from less than 10% before the 1970s. Reflecting GUSOM’s commitment to equity and inclusion, the graduating Class of 2025 is the most diverse class in GUSOM history, and the 2023–24 entering class at GUSOM is 63% female.

All five women express gratitude for the values Georgetown instilled in them when they were students in the 1990s, and the changes they’ve seen in the composition of the GUSOM’s faculty and student body. They also give special thanks to GEMS, which they hope will continue to serve students well into the future.

“The mention of cura personalis has come up so much recently wherever I go,” Walker says. “People who have experience with Georgetown know that we truly care about the community that we’re serving, and I treasure that. It bodes well for Georgetown, and we feel it in our group.”

Read more about the co-authors of The Game Plan: A Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Doctor and Living a Life in Medicine and the Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies (GEMS) Program.

Topics in this story
, , ,

Next Up

Colleges are revamping the freshman experience to retain more students

Noting that many colleges are working to increase student retention rates, the Chronicle of Higher Education outlines five ways schools are transforming the first-year experience.