Dr. Olwen Hahn is an Associate Professor in the Section of Hematology-Oncology. She graduated from Princeton University and Emory University School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency and fellowship in hematology-oncology at The University of Chicago. She joined University of Chicago faculty in 2007. Her clinical practice is focused on breast cancer. Currently, she serves as the Associate Program Directory for the Hematology and Oncology fellowship and the Medical Director of the Hematology-Oncology Outpatient Clinic and Infusion Therapy.
My husband, Mark, and I met during our residencies at University of Chicago; he is currently a urologist in practice in the Southwest suburbs. Like most physicians in practice, Mark is busy professionally and is on call for three hospitals every third weekend. We have a lively (but fun) household with our seven-year-old son, Edward, and four- year-old (going on 14) daughter, Emily (plus our elderly Doberman whom I consider my first child). Our children have tons of energy and are involved in sports and neighborhood activities. And just to add to the mix, we live in a 1890s Victorian home that we have been renovating on and off for nearly a decade (and I don’t see an end to that project).
In terms of work-life balance, Mark and I have been very thoughtful in choices for our family. We live in the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood in southwest Chicago, which is a beautiful neighborhood that luckily is located close to Mark’s work (which is quite helpful when he works late or is on call). My commute is very manageable. We were fortunate to find a neighborhood school that is a great fit for our children. These choices have made a big difference in allowing us to balance (if that is possible!) work-life demands and be present for important events for our family. While it is not easy and takes organization (good calendar keeping skills), our lives are not boring. Mark is from a large family based in Chicago, so we are fortunate to have a support network and the ability to spend our free time with extended family.
Advice to Women Faculty and Trainees
Take Care of Yourself
I learned the hard way that lack of sleep and no exercise is a recipe for disaster. Now I prioritize a solid 7 hours of sleep, with a goal of exercising 2-3 times a week.
It is okay to take time off of work at night and weekends to be with family. Trying to multi-task work during family or social time will only leave you (and your loved ones) miserable. We take two vacations a year that are completely work free; while it is painful to return home to that inbox and work, it is amazing to go off the grid and a great vacation can sustain you during the dark times.
Learn to delegate tasks at work and home to those you trust. Online delivery services, housekeeping services, etc are key. Your most valuable asset is your time(and I am still struggling with better time management).
Be Flexible and Collaborative
Be willing to adopt new ways of approaching problems and tasks (both professionally and personally).
Take a Step Back
It is too easy to get caught up in the day to day grind. Take time to look at the big picture in order to make sure you are making choices consistent with your overall goals.