“Many feel lost or ill-prepared for what lies ahead. I think this is one of the most important things we do as thoracic surgeons is to impart knowledge and clarify the road ahead in addition to the surgical treatment. We alleviate fears and guide them through the process and if we have the ultimate luxury of practicing in an academic medical center, we have the distinct honor of teaching the next generation of thoracic surgeons to do the same. As an African American female Thoracic Surgeon, one can feel a bit like a pink unicorn, but my hope is that over time, this forest of surgery will have a huge population of “unicorns” who are all thriving!”
Dr. Backhus is a true superstar in our field, well-respected by colleagues, adored by patients, and loved by her family at home. She is a thoracic surgeon at Stanford University and the Chief of Thoracic at the Palo Alto VA Hospital. She holds a number of leadership roles throughout academic thoracic surgery, and she is a fantastic mom, to top it off. She is a tremendous role model for any who aspire to join our field. As eloquently stated in her nomination, “Dr. Leah Backhus is someone we should all aspire to be like.” Without a doubt, she is a phenomenal example of what we’d all like to become.