Women's History Month Spotlight: Rebecca Gompf, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Cardiology)

Mar 11, 2024, 10:33 AM by Krystin Langer



What inspired me to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, particularly in specialty medicine? 

I knew since I was in fifth grade that I wanted to be a veterinarian. After I got into veterinary school, I did a masters along with my DVM with Dr. Bob Hamlin and the project was in cardiology. After an internship at AMC where I did a project with Dr. Larry Tilley, another cardiologist, I obtained a cardiology residency at UC Davis with Drs. Gary Bolton (on sabbatical there), Steve Ettinger (came over to do work with cardiology), Bill Thomas, and Ed Rhode plus Dr. Peter Suter in radiology.

Describe your experience in veterinary medicine as one of the early women veterinary specialists.

An intern classmate of mine, Dr. Betsy Bond, and I were the first women to become board certified in cardiology. When Lee and Inga Pyle took over running the ACVIM office, I became secretary of cardiology which was a position I held for 30 years. The other male cardiologists treated me well and I became friends with many of them and enjoyed seeing everyone at the meetings. I felt especially close to new Diplomates as I helped them as secretary.

What initiatives would you like to see implemented in the veterinary profession to further increase representation for women veterinarians/specialists?

We need affordable daycare for students, interns and residents. Daycare on site of the veterinary school would be the best solution. We also need loan forgiveness or to go back to the system where student loans do not have to be paid off until after the residency is completed and no interest is accrued during the internship and residency. Right now our residents cannot afford to work in a university unless they are single or have a partner that can pay all the bills. This is not good for the future of the profession and something needs to change, especially as more veterinary schools are being built.

How do you think that the veterinary profession has evolved for women since you became a Diplomate?

Since there were only 18 women in my veterinary class of 120 people and Betsy and I were the only women cardiologists for several years. The profession has come a long way as more women have graduated and specialized in cardiology.  Women bring a different perspective to the practice of cardiology and I feel we have shown that women can have a family and be a specialist, especially in private practice.

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