Nurse, teacher, chef, athlete—the possibilities are limitless.
Young people often bounce from one idea to another as they consider their career aspirations. But for Anita Khetan, MD ’95, the answer was always simple: doctor.
“I don’t think I ever had a backup plan because I knew nothing would make me happier than becoming a doctor,” she says.
A graduate of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, she works as an internal medicine physician and watches as her daughter, a first-year medical student at the school, follows her into the field of health care.
Through the years, Anita experienced some of the challenges that confront women in the medical field.
“The obstacles that face female physicians are as much societal as they are personal,” she says. “While more patients have become comfortable with being treated by a woman, we still grapple with the misguided stereotypes that women are weaker, more emotional, and less competent than our male colleagues.”
She says having a community of women who support one another is important in promoting their prosperity and success. Such communities can offer mentorship, encouragement, and a forum to discuss problems unique to women.
In an effort to provide this type of guidance to the next generation, Anita serves on the leadership team for the Women in Medicine alumnae group at McGovern Medical School. This group serves as a structured support system for female students and alumnae as they navigate their medical careers.
Nurturing future leaders is a family affair for the Khetans. Anita’s husband, Rainer Khetan, MD ’94, serves on the McGovern Medical School Alumni Association Board of Trustees, and his twin brother, Roger Khetan, MD ’94, serves as the board’s president and is a member of the UTHealth Development Board. In addition, as a way to pay forward the financial support they received as students, the three established The Khetan Family Scholarship Fund to help medical students achieve their dreams.
Thinking of the future of medicine and the next generation of professionals, Anita hopes for equality.
“I see medicine being the great equalizer, where it doesn’t matter if you are male or female, and you just treat patients in the best way possible,” she says.