Celebrating National Women Physicians Day

WashU Nephrology women physicians enjoying a night out for dinner.

February 3rd is National Women Physicians Day, marking the 201st birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who in 1849 was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. 

This day gives us the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of all women doctors and to say “Thank You” for all they do.

Please meet WashU Nephrology’s talented, dedicated and hard-working women physicians (in random order) and read their advice to young women entering the field of medicine:

Rowena Delos-Santos, MD

– Assistant Professor of Medicine
– Director, WashU Transplant Nephrology Fellowship
– Former Chair of American Society of Transplantation Conflicts of Interest (COI) Committee

The medical field is a tough field to enter and navigate, especially in times like these.  What I have to say to young women entering this field is the following:
Remain grounded, centered, and confident in the strong woman that you are.
Seek out and surround yourself with people who will guide and encourage you on your path.
It is entirely possible to be a physician, a spouse, a mother, a scientist, a mentor, a teacher, and whatever other role you have.
Believe in yourself and your abilities, because you can do anything you set your heart and mind to do.

Maryam Saleem, MBBS

– 2nd-year Nephrology Fellow
– Graduate of 2021 Nephrology Business Leadership University (NBLU) program
– An event organizer enthusiast, avid surfer, gear head, official translator/interpreter, and a self-proclaimed workoutholic


“The journey is long and exhausting, you will get tired, and its normal to feel so. Just be yourself. Don’t let others define you, you define yourself.”

Tingting Li, MD, MSCI

– Professor of Medicine
– Associate Program Director for Clinical Research and Career Development
– Director, Glomerular Diseases and Vasculitis Clinic

Believe in yourself, don’t be afraid to speak your mind, pursue what interests you and seek out a mentor/sponsor who will help you succeed.

Monica Chang-Panesso, MD

-Assistant Professor of Medicine
-First recipient of the Roger M. Perlmutter Career Development Professorship.

Anitha Vijayan, MD, FASN 

– Professor of Medicine
– Director, Acute Dialysis Services Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Recipient of the Neville Grant Award for Clinical Excellence


“Work hard and work smart. Use your voice to advocate for yourself, your mentees and trainees, as well as your patients.” 

Ojaswi Sing Tomar, MD

– 1st-year Nephrology Fellow
– Has an interest in transplant and interventional nephrology, as well as research

Ying Maggie Chen, MD, PhD

– Associate Professor of Medicine
– Director, Nephrotic Kidney Syndrome Clinic
– Physician/scientist
– Awardee of a patent for the treatment of ER stress-mediated kidney disease

Be confident in yourself!

Manasa Metireddy, MD

– Assistant Professor of Medicine
– Medical Director, WashU Nephrology Home Modalities
Recipient of a Project Award from The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Morgan Schoer, MD

– 1st-year Nephrology Fellow
– Her goal is to become an academic nephrologist and clinician-educator

Anuja Java, MD

– Assistant Professor of Medicine
Director,  Kidney Transplant Clinic at Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System
– Renowned physician-scientist and expert in rare complement diseases and their involvement in kidney damage
– Councilor in the Women in Nephrology organization


Boldly pursue what you are passionate about. Don’t let the opinions of others define you and don’t get intimidated by rejections. Find your tribe of people and mentors that support you and believe in your abilities.”

Mabel Purkerson, MD

Mabel Purkerson, MD

– Professor Emerita
– WashU Nephrology Faculty 1966-1998
– Physician/scientist/mentor
– A founding member and former President of Women in Nephrology

Patricia Kao, MD, MS

– Associate Professor of Medicine
– Director, Teaching Physician Pathway Division of Medical Education (WUTPP)
– Recipient of the Academy of Educators inaugural Honor Roll Awards


Leslie Gewin, MD

– Associate Professor of Medicine
Councilor One in the Women in Nephrology organization
– Dedicated mentor, advocate and role model for women in medicine and science


“Find mentors who share your vision of success and don’t rely on just one mentor. Seek advice from professionals at your institution and beyond, those who are a few years ahead of you and those who more established in your area of interest.”

Dr. Reena Gurung

Reena Gurung, MD

– Assistant Professor of Medicine
– Graduate of our Nephrology Fellowship Program
– Joined WashU Nephrology community-based practice group in 2021
– Composed a poem describing her fellowship experience

Kelli King-Morris, MD

– Associate Professor of Medicine
– Has a passion for clinical education and incorporates the use of humor in medicine both at the bedside and in the classroom
Inducted into Washington University’s Academy of Educators in 2021


Karen Marie Flores, MD

– Renal Transplant Fellow
– Volunteered in fundraising activities so that her patients could afford to undergo a kidney biopsy or receive a temporary dialysis catheter
– Wants to advance the practice of transplant nephrology in the Philippines, her home country

Maintaining a good work-life balance is important, and your physical, personal, and mental well-being should also be a priority.”

Zoey Levine, MD

– 1st-year Nephrology Fellow
– Volunteered in mobile clinics in small communities in Lima, Peru, to provide medical care and screening to those with limited medical access