Like Dr. Lucille Mason (The Everett Clinic’s first female physician in 1959), when Dr. Kavitha Chunchu announced in third grade that she wanted to be a doctor, her mother took it in stride.
Education was important to her family. Her family emigrated from India for educational opportunities for Dr. Chunchu and her sister. So, it was no surprise that their daughter chose a profession that required a great deal of time spent in training. Dr. Chunchu is the first physician in her family.
For Dr. Chunchu, medicine was a great way to combine her interests in science and community service. “I want to make a positive impact in people’s lives,” she said. Unlike Dr. Mason, when Dr. Chunchu entered medical school, at the Medical College of Virginia where she earned her degree in 2006, women made up about half of her class. “I remember they remarked that it was the first time they’d hit that ratio,” she said.
When she did her residency in Family Medicine at the University of Washington, seven out of the eight residents in her residency class were women. A female physician is no longer an unexpected part of any practice mix. Nowadays, it is important to ask whether there are women taking on leadership roles in medicine, suggests Dr. Chunchu, and understanding the possible barriers for women seeking these roles.
Women in leadership? That’s certainly the case at The Everett Clinic where Dr. Erica Peavy serves as Medical Director and Drs. Alka Atal-Barrio and Autumn Moser lead on the Board of Directors. Drs. Finn, Raines and Beighle are Primary Care Department Chairs. Drs. Chamblin, Hornung and Haugen serve as Facility Medical Directors.
“I chose to come to The Everett Clinic because I wanted to work with a multispecialty group and because of its good reputation,” said Dr. Chunchu. “These days a physician-owned group is a rare beast. This is an organization that is willing to evolve and that’s neat to be a part of.”
Work life balance is an ongoing issue for physicians and key to an organization’s ability to recruit talent. Dr. Chunchu admits she struggles with it. The career requires great dedication. “It helps to have a supportive family and friends,” she said.
Still, like Dr. Mason, she’d tell future doctors, “If you are passionate about it, do it! It’s a wonderful profession. For me, it’s been a fantastic choice.”
The best part? “It’s the people. There are fantastic people up in Marysville.”
Dr. Kavitha Chunchu, joined The Everett Clinic in 2010 and serves as the Facility Medical Director in Marysville. In addition to her Family Practice, Dr. Chunchu volunteers her expertise at a local free clinic and has been on a medical mission to Haiti.