This is our time! We’re stronger when we work together to lift other women up. EvolveMe's #40over40 list curates profiles of women who have or are in the process of reinventing their careers in their 40s, 50, 60s, and beyond. We're thrilled to share these stories of reinvention - women returning to work, pivoting careers, or launching new ventures!
Meet Neda Frayha MD. As a doctor, she knows the health care system often pits doctors against patients - and she wants to change that. Dr. Frayha believes that clear, compassionate education and compelling storytelling can help bridge this divide.
Read on below and be inspired!
What is the current focus of your career or if you are in transition at this time - your area of professional interest?
I am an internist and medical educator with a passion for audio storytelling and education. I enjoyed a successful career as an educator and assistant dean at a large academic medical center before pursuing my dream of reporting on health care and medical topics for both podcasts and public radio broadcasts.
What prompted your career reinvention?
When I was 10 years old, I wanted to be a health and science reporter for NPR. In my 20s, I went to medical school and found myself too singularly focused on my education to pursue other interests. In my 30s, a friend encouraged me to apply to an audio storytelling workshop through Transom.org. This workshop changed my life. Two and a half years later, at the age of 40, I left a busy role in academic medicine administration and moved into medical education podcasting and public radio freelance work while maintaining a primary care practice.
What's the best thing about mid-life career change?
So many things - it's hard to pick just one! Realizing that there is still so much exciting knowledge to gain and joy to experience. Feeling scared by new opportunities and embracing them anyway. Discovering that you have more control over how you spend your time and energy than you might have been conditioned to believe.
What's the biggest challenge?
Summoning the strength and courage to make the change. I had insomnia and acid reflux for 4 straight months as I agonized over the decision. I was terrified that I would disappoint my colleagues, that my move would be too bold, that others might not approve. I wish I could go back and relive my former self of all that heartache.
"There is still so much exciting knowledge to gain and joy to experience." - Neda Frayha, MD
What's your personal mantra/mission? Why?
My mission is to humanize medicine through education and storytelling. It is incredibly hard to be a patient in today's health care system. It can also be deeply challenging to be a health care worker, now more than ever.
Patients and clinicians actually have a great deal in common, but the health care system pits the two against each other. Through medical education podcasting and public radio reporting on health and medical topics, I strive to humanize both patient and clinician experiences so we can all feel healthier and more empowered in our medical care.
Your best career advice for other women at midlife is...
To quote a dear friend of mine, there is a juicy journey ahead! You have so much to offer the world, and so much time to enjoy what the world can offer you in turn.