Margaret Griffen, MD, has long called the UK College of Medicine home. Her father, Ward Griffen, MD, led the UK College of Medicine Department of Surgery as chair between 1968 – 1984. Like her father, Dr. Griffen was drawn to medicine and surgery. After receiving her medical doctorate from the UK College of Medicine, she remained at the institution to complete her residency and fellowship with the department of surgery. She later joined its faculty, where she currently serves as an associate professor and vice chair for leadership and development within the department. 

Q: Why did you want to return to your alma mater to teach?

A: This is two-fold.  I grew up in Lexington and wanted to come back home at this point in my life. In returning, I wanted to join UK because I have always felt great pride and loyalty to the University. I want to be a part of making UK the best it can be. I feel I have the skill set to contribute and be of value in pursuit of excellence for UK HealthCare.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working in your area of expertise?

A: My major focus of enjoyment and success throughout my career has been taking care of patients and teaching medical students and residents to do the same. Helping patients and families as they navigate illness, recovery, and death gives me a sense of value. Education is a complex process, and having a part in the growth of critical thinking skills and the transition of people into skilled physicians and surgeons is very rewarding.

Q: Can you describe your leadership role within your department and what it entails?

A: My vice chair role for the department of surgery focuses on leadership and professional development. I am working to bring success to leadership roles throughout the department. I am supporting the department as we create expectations and structure and how we implement those items for productivity and success of the entire team. I am working to support the faculty through career promotion. My long-range plan is the development of a leadership program for the department of surgery’s faculty, staff, and residents.

Q: What advice do you have for future surgeons in training?

A:My advice to future surgeons would be a reminder that patients are putting their trust in you, and the patient must always remain the focus. Always pay attention to details. There will be times of personal compromise when committing to life as a surgeon. To be your best, as a surgeon and in life, it is important to take time for personal growth and health. Self-care is often easy to overlook early in your career. Nutrition, exercise, and mental and emotional well-being are all components of success.  Finally, keep an open mind to options in life as you move through your career.