St. Thomas Heart has hired its first cardiac surgeon. Dr. Amber Edwards grew up in a small North Carolina town where few people go to college and about 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line. From a young age, she was determined to make great grades in school and accomplish something that would make a difference. While she briefly considered becoming an attorney, it was medicine that truly captured the Carolina blonde's attention.
After finishing her undergraduate studies at East Carolina University in just 3 years, then 21-year-old Amber began her first year of medical school. Every Tuesday, she would skip class to learn first-hand in the operating room. Between observing in the OR, taking notes in class, and performing on lab rats, Amber fell head-first in love with cardiac surgery. Post-med school, she completed 6 years of residency as an integrated cardiothoracic surgery intern at the University of Rochester.
Throughout her residency, Dr. Edwards stayed in touch with a mentor from East Carolina University who had relocated to Nashville--Dr. Evelio Rodriguez, now a cardiac surgeon at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital. Dr. Rodriguez encouraged Dr. Edwards to apply for a position with Saint Thomas Midtown.
Dr. Edwards landed the job, becoming Saint Thomas Heart's first female cardiac surgeon and a statistical anomaly. Nationally, approximately 97% of cardiac surgeons are male.
Dr. Edwards, her husband, and their 6-month-old son moved to Nashville this December. They are settling comfortably into Germantown, their new neighborhood, and Dr. Edwards loves being back in the south.
She offers this advice for young women who are interested in pursuing surgery or another male-dominated industry: "People will tell you that you shouldn't or can't do what you want to do. Do it anyway, and make your own rules."