Dr. Jennifer Walden is a bit of an anomaly amongst plastic surgeons, of the approximately 8,100 board certified plastic surgeons in the United States only 851 are women. Only around 180 are members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the leading professional group for cosmetic plastic surgery, of those only 12 reside in Texas.
Dr. Walden The native of Austin, Texas, attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston where she was salutatorian of her class. Following medical school, she completed a fellowship for Aesthetic Surgery at the Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital building a successful practice in New York. In 2011 she returned to Austin and began a practice there.
Dr. Walden believes a key reason that surgery is such a male-dominated field is the additional length of time required to specialize in the field. It requires at least 5 years of training beyond medical school, and possibly one or two more years in a fellowship to complete the training required to become a surgeon. This is an addition to the four years of pre-med and four years of medical school. That means women often have to put off having children until all of this training is complete. She also believes the culture around surgery has only become welcoming to women recently. She compares life as a female surgeon to that of a woman working on Wall Street, saying you constantly have to prove yourself.
Dr. Walden does believe that being a female plastic surgeon offer some advantages over her male counterparts. With over 90 percent of cosmetic surgeries being performed on women, she feels that her patients are more comfortable speaking with another woman about their body knowing that she is not judging them. she feels this helps her build rapport with patients which can lead to a better outcome.