Professor & Division Director, Vascular Surgery & Endovascular Therapy, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

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Do what brings you joy, even if the road to accomplishing that seems difficult.

Bernadette Aulivola

What do you do?

I am a vascular surgeon, clinical outcomes researcher and surgical educator. I care for patients with arterial and venous disease using risk factor modification, medical management, as well as endovascular and surgical intervention.

Why did you choose this field?

I was fascinated by anatomy and biology in high school, leading me to pursue a career in Medicine. During medical school, I realized that the impact I could have as a surgeon, using my technical skills would allow me to have a huge impact on patients’ quality of life. I encountered many surgeons, specifically vascular surgeons who inspired me along the way and still serve as my mentors.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I advanced from a junior faculty member at a school of medicine to the director of a busy surgical division. I have accomplished a doubling in size of our faculty and staff and have mentored many medical students and surgical trainees. Earlier in my career, I don’t think that I appreciated that my leadership skills could have supported my accomplishing all of this.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I am invigorated at the thought of inspiring bright young individuals, particularly women, in pursuing careers in medicine, Surgery, and Vascular Surgery. I have seen my profession become more diverse over the course of the past 15 years and hope that I have contributed to this in some way. I am humbled and gratified that I have an impact in saving lives in improving the quality of life of my patients every day.

Best advice for next generation?

Do what brings you joy, even if the road to accomplishing that seems difficult and even if others tell you that you cannot. The best form of personal victory is demonstrating that you can accomplish what you set your mind to.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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