Dr. Jessica Ridgway is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Infectious Diseases & Global Health. She attended medical school at UCSF and completed both her Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Diseases fellowship at the University of Chicago. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she is also a leader in the Infection Control Program as Associate Hospital Epidemiologist and an active researcher. Her research utilizes informatics and large electronic medical record databases to understand infectious disease epidemiology and to guide infection prevention.
My husband Bill and I have three kids, ages 5, 3, and 1. We also have a wonderful au pair who provides live-in childcare. We live in Hyde Park, allowing me an easy bike commute to work. One thing I enjoy about being in academics is the flexibility it allows, so I can attend my kids’ school picnics and ballet concerts, and make up for it by doing some work in the evening. I also feel incredibly fortunate to have a supportive section chief and co-workers. If one of my kids is sick or I have a last minute childcare issue, I can always find someone to cover my clinical duties for me. While some days balancing the demands of work and kids can be tough, I take comfort in knowing that I am providing an example for my children. My oldest daughter June recently told me that when she grows up she is going to be an artist, a doctor, a swim teacher, a yoga teacher, and a mommy — “because you can be lots of things when you grow up.”
Advice to Women Faculty and Trainees
- Set professional and personal goals for both the long and short term. These goals can guide your daily “to do” list and help you prioritize what projects to work on and roles to
- When you have an important project to complete (e.g., a manuscript or grant application), I find it helps to set aside a large chunk of time, minimize distractions, and even seek out a change of venue. I get the most work done sitting in a coffee shop for several hours, not once opening my email or Epic inbox.
- When career and/or home life gets busy and I start to feel burnt out, it helps me to remember why I went into medicine in the first place. As physicians, we have the unique opportunity to make a real impact in people’s lives when they are at their sickest and most vulnerable, which is an enormous privilege.