I've known Tracy for quite some time now. I met her around the same time I started dating her older brother :). 5 years younger than Neil, Tracy has been trail blazing since I met her. She is the daughter of Filipino immigrants who came to this country with the intention of helping their family back home. Her mother was a nurse and her father was a respiratory therapist. The medical field was a profession that her family thrived in and so it came as no surprise that her dream was to become a doctor.
It seemed like Tracy was in school forever. There was a crossing point where she called me one fall day in October because she was worried she wasn't going to get into residency. Her classes were incredibly hard. Being the perfectionist she is, I don't know when she ever stopped studying. I can only imagine how burnt out and how frustrated she must have felt. She had spent years away from home and here she was with the possibility that all of the schooling would have been for nothing. Tracy is one tough cookie and to hear her cry and be as scared as she was, broke my heart. Nevertheless, she persisted and got into residency. I knew if anyone could do it, it would be her. Pantigs don't mess around and when they want something, they make it happen. Over the next few years she lived in New York and had more challenges with staff that made her time a difficult one. Once again, Tracy fought back and did not stay silent. She is now a full time doctor and living the life she set out to accomplish. I am incredibly proud of her and the woman that she has become. (Also, it's really nice to know I can call her when the kids have some rash or weird growth and I don't have a clue what it means.) It's still so fancy to say it..but here she is, Dr. Tracy Pantig.
What is your name and how do we know each other?
"Tracy Pantig. Sister-in-law"
How old are you?
What are you currently doing with yourself?
Currently, I am full time physician at Kaiser in Family medicine.
Are you where you hoped you would be? If not/ Why? If so-what do you love about it and could you see yourself doing anything else?
"I do think that I am where I thought I would be. I feel like the things that really make me happy about medicine are the things that drew me to it initially. Those things are the connections that I have with my patients. I know their family and we have a good doctor/patient relationship. I don’t think I could see myself doing anything else however, I do think I have aspirations to do other things in my profession later on in my career such as working on physician advocacy and physician rights."
Women are becoming a resilient sound that cannot be silenced. What are you doing to contribute that sound?
"You know I think having a voice in anything you do-medical fields are male dominated. I feel like I’m being an advocate when I stand up at meetings or when I step up and give my ideas on how to make things more efficient or better."
What is something you learned from a younger age that has stuck with you?
"I think the thing that I learned the most from my formative years is that it is okay to take risks in your life. It’s okay for things not to work out because it’s in those moments that you grow as a person and you learn a lot about yourself."
Who is an individual who made a profound impact on you and why?
"I have two that I can think of. The first was an old neighbor I had when I was trying to get into residency-Lucy Dixon. She was an OB/Gyn nurse at a local hospital. I was terribly afraid that I was going to make a wrong decision. She was a bright light in my life because she told me no matter what I did I was going to be great at it.
The second person was a cardiologist who was an attending in my residency. Dr. Fass. He really made a profound impact on me in not only how he lived his life, but also how he was a physician. He reminded me to love what I do and to always be present in the moment -whether you're in a patient room or your personal life. He attended my graduation."
What is a weakness or something that exposes your vulnerability and what do you do to combat/embrace it in order to grow?
"I think that it’s pretty interesting that my 'weakness' is something that I consider to be one of my strengths. I think that would be that I am both incredibly conscious and industrious. Those are two things that help me to be great at what I do but there is fine line. I.E. Setting a boundary for myself. As an example, 'This is how much I am going to get done today' and being other things besides the role of 'doctor'. Other parts of me deserve attention, if not more attention that I am already able to give."
What is something that you want to accomplish and what are you doing to get to that place, if anything?
"What I want is to be able to practice medicine and also have a clinic where I get to choose my hours in the way I want. It’s goal to have more control over my own practice."
And now..a few questions to lighten the mood...
Dogs or Cats?
Cheeseburgers or Salad?
Beach or Mountains?
Sweet or Salty?
Lose all of your old memories or never make new ones?
"Lose all my old ones. I feel like that answer determines where you are in your life. I feel like if I were married or I had kids, I don’t know if I would necessarily give that same answer because those memories would be so much more important to me."
Disney..or is there any alternative?
"I don’t understand the question. Disney or 6 flags? Disney as in theme parks? I’m not a Disney person. Again, if I had kids...maybe my perspective would be different."
What is a fun fact that someone may not know about you?
"I do feel like I have a bit of spontaneity in me. People think I’m reserved but I think it’s fun."
And the final two important questions...
What is a common misconception about you that people make based on your appearance? What is your truth and how do you personify strength?
"What I get mostly when I walk into rooms is people base their misconceptions on my age. Also, that I am female. I think I personify strength by being empathetic to my different encounters to what their apprehensions are. I let my professionalism and my education speak for itself. I get a lot of older females and males who comment on my age. I don’t dispute it. 'Yes, I am young. But I also am your doctor and I am here to help you.' I find it puts them at ease."
You have inspired me. What about yourself do you hope to put out in order to inspire other young people?
"In these days and times there are a lot of pressures on young people. Whether it be achieving a certain look or goal, these pressures are heavily occurring and sometimes more so on women. 'That you need to fit into a box...but that you don’t' etc. I have a lot of depressed patients that are both men and women. They hear something in the media and it’s a judgement. The environment we live in -social media-there is an invisible marker that you need to meet. It’s based on a construct on someone else's perception on how you should be. My advice would be that you can be a trail blazer. You were placed on this earth for a reason."