Breaking the Mold

Dr. Linda Yancey excels in the male-dominated medical world of infectious disease

Katy Magazine, April 2017

Written by Gail G. Collins

When a Texas A&M undergrad in biology signed up for a rusty professor’s microbiology class, her life’s work came into focus. Today, Dr. Linda Yancey is a rarity, where only a handful of the women studying internal medicine go on to become infectious disease specialists (IDS). She also holds a position as chief of staff, where the demographics of executive positions have been slow to shift to women.

Dr. Yancey graduated from medical school at Texas Tech in 1996 and did her residency at Arizona’s Mayo Clinic. She returned to Texas for a fellowship at Baylor after the birth of her first child. The new doctor moved down the street from her in-laws and had three more children, calling Katy home.

Dr. Mom

“The work-life balance is most challenging, and more so for female physicians,” says Dr. Yancey. “Doctors don’t have the option of closing the clinic because their own child is sick.” Her husband, Lanier Ripple Jr., is a software developer and works from home. It has been a major win for their family as childcare issues often fall to the mother, and Yancey praises his career support.

What children see in their home life is normal, and often it is enlightening and funny. When Yancey’s oldest daughters were 5 and 7 years of age, they were together in the car traveling from a baby shower, rife with female physicians. The older daughter wondered aloud if men could be doctors. Before Dr. Yancey could speak, the sister answered in a tone that implied it was stupidest question she had ever heard, saying, “No, only girls are allowed to be doctors.” Dr. Yancey burst out laughing before she could confirm that, despite the recent evidence, both men and women can be doctors.

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