Digestive Health Physicians Association's new president excited to pave way for women in GI

Latha Alaparthi, MD, was recently named the first female president and chair of the board of directors of the Digestive Health Physicians Association in Silver Spring, Md.

Dr. Alaparthi spoke with Becker's March 23 to discuss what it means to be the first female president of DHPA and what her plans are for her new role.

Editor's note: This piece was edited lightly for brevity and clarity.

Question: What does it mean for you to be the first female president of DHPA?

Dr. Latha Alaparthi: It's very exciting. The previous presidents have really laid a solid groundwork. When I first came to DHPA, the first meeting I was the only woman in the room, which quickly changed with introducing newer members that are not only active but are already in leadership positions. The prior leadership of DHPA has done an awesome job, but that's not the case in many organizations and companies. I'm really excited to sort of pave the way for the next generation of leadership within DHPA and outside of it.

Oftentimes in private practice, you don't see women. I'm really honored to be recognized for what I can bring to the table and be given the opportunity. So I really give the credit to prior presidents and the nominating committee of DHPA to set an example of how it can be done.

Q: What's your primary goal as president and chair of the board of directors of DHPA?

LA: [DHPA] has done a really good job over the years of keeping our ear to the ground with the advocacy efforts and doing what is necessary to help our practices, patients and helping provide low-cost care. Since we've gotten good at that, we've been pivoting to different topics of interest and importance to our membership. One of them being diversity, equity and inclusion starting with the societal issues we were facing a couple of years ago. We really built [diversity, equity and inclusion] into our structure at this point and have multiple projects and discussion going, which will definitely help with that effort.

Within that, I'm hoping to reinforce what I'm passionate about — the equity aspect. I'm really hoping to educate women out there on what leadership means and how they can try to incorporate that into their daily lives. On the other side, I hope to raise awareness within the leadership structure that having women in leadership brings significant strength to the organization and has been shown in multiple studies to have positive outcomes.

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