Contributions to STEMM
Dr. Cheng divides her time between clinical and administrative responsibilities at UT Southwestern.
“Clinically, I'm a champion of regional anesthesia. It's an elegant way to help control pain in the peri-operative arena, in a non-opioid, non-sedating way.”
Dr. Cheng is a leader in operational management in the Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management. “Administratively, my responsibility is to oversee the amazing people of our Department, ensuring that we can provide anesthesia services wherever and whenever we are needed.”
Dr. Cheng cited her mother’s drive to complete medical school as a central motivator for her own medical aspirations. “My mom went to medical school when I was in the fourth grade. As a nontraditional student in her 30s, with two kids at home, she believed in her goals and herself and became a physician, even though it required commuting three hours to the nearest medical school for two years every Monday through Friday, driving home on the weekends, and learning medicine in her second language,” she said.
In support of her mother’s ambitions, “my dad worked full time, and he and my grandpa took care of my sister and I during the week. Through their actions, my parents demonstrated the values of working hard, striving for your goals, no matter how big, and the importance of family support. In doing so, they created childhoods for my sister and me that were safe, loved, and happy,” Dr. Cheng said. “Any success I have is a tribute to my parents.”
The UT Southwestern Difference
“I love helping patients get through surgery, which can be a stressful event for many. It's rewarding to see them safely through the process, from pre-op to post-op,” Dr. Cheng said of her crucial role in the Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management. “I also enjoy collaborating with my colleagues to ensure that we, as a Department, are successful at being part of the care of all patients undergoing surgery at UT Southwestern.”
“It's an honor to be associated with the women who have already been introduced through the project – and I hope it is inspirational for those who have not yet been recognized,” Dr. Cheng said of her involvement in the Celebrating Breakthroughs Together Project. “This project showcases amazing women. It's wonderful to see the successes of women at UT Southwestern.”
Advice to the Next Generation
Dr. Cheng advises the next generation of women to “enjoy your studies, but also enjoy life outside of the STEMM field. Everything in life is intermingled, and lessons learned through relationships, literature, and the arts will help you in your life as someone with a STEMM career,” she said.
“My path to being an anesthesiologist was not a straightforward one. I envied those who knew from a young age what they wanted to be when they grew up,” Dr. Cheng said.
“However, I learned that all the searching and exploration are part of my distinctive journey, and they have shaped me into the person that I am now. The years of searching also make me even more grateful that I now find happiness and satisfaction in my career.”