Honoring Women Physicians
An Interview with Transitions' Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kuljit Kapur
National Women Physicians Day is February 3rd, an annual celebration to recognize female physicians on the birthday of Dr. Elisabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the U.S. This year, we are highlighting one of our favorite women physicians, Transitions’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kuljit Kapur.
Dr. Kapur attended Medical School at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating in 2006. She began her career as a geriatric subacute rehab and long term care physician, had a palliative care clinic at Rush Copley’s Cardiology suite, and became the Chief Medical Director at two different hospices before joining Transitions in May 2020. Even in a relatively short amount of time, Dr. Kapur has already made such an impact on our patients and their families across the state of Illinois and Indiana, and we are so grateful to have her leading our clinical teams in both hospice and palliative care.
Recently, we asked Dr. Kapur what it was like to be a woman physician in 2021. The first thing that came to her mind was one word – “empowerment.” She reiterated the idea by saying that “with the wave of political climate and needs of society, being in this position reminds us that there’s nothing as women that we cannot do. I can give to my family and be a physician at the same time.” Talking about her own sense of empowerment as she has grown in her career, Dr. Kapur added that “earlier in my life I sometimes undervalued what I brought to the table, but now I feel more confident and can lead with a stronger voice, while remaining humble and compassionate – it has helped me achieve balance in all aspects of my life.” She also mentioned how being a woman helps her be successful as a physician: “The innate nurturing of being a mother, wife, and woman is so necessary in the hospice and palliative care world. I feel natural going to the suffering patients and uncovering their needs, and with Transitions I have the tools and teams to take them to a place of comfort. I feel as women we may have more empathy for pain — hello childbirth — and our experiences highlight our approach.”
Since her time at Transitions began, it has been clear that Dr. Kapur has put this compassion and humility on display. She has focused on new educational initiatives, connected with other physicians to help them provide the best hospice and palliative care possible, and has been a positive light on everyone at the company. When we asked her about her time so far with Transitions, she said that “Everyone here has fostered a great environment for success. The whole team does a great job and lets me know that I bring value in my experience. I feel very supported by our executive team, who really help bring out the best in me by seeing my value and my strengths. Transitions rewards you as an employee with proper benefits and I have the tools I need to be successful and do my job to the best of my ability”.
Before Dr. Kapur’s medical successes, there was a woman in her life who inspired her to be the best she could – her own mother. She was a “strong independent woman” who was a first generation Indian-American and a successful nurse and certified nurse assistant throughout her career. According to Dr. Kapur, “My mother shaped my ability to know that I have value as a woman but also as a healthcare practitioner. She and my father fostered my competitive nature and encouraged me to achieve success, competing against my own ego, my own doubts, and my own bad habits. With that support I was able to achieve my mission of becoming a physician, a wife, and a mother, and found my strength”.
Like her mother, Dr. Kapur has bright hopes for her own three daughters as they grow into young women – “I hope, whether my three daughters become doctors or not, that they are confident, passionate and compassionate. I want them to have all opportunities that a man would have, and all the equal compensation and respect that a man garners”. In order to do this, Dr. Kapur helps each of her daughters set goals: her sometimes shy 11-year-old is working on her strength, bravery and independence, her middle daughter is working on becoming more balanced, and her third is trying to develop her skills even from a young age. By setting goals and growing from a young age, Dr. Kapur hopes all of her daughters “have a positive experience recognizing adversity, and pushing through regardless. I sit down and have conversations with my children to help them identify their needs and foster positive communication between the family”. If Dr. Kapur’s daughters learn from her and her experiences, we have no doubt they will turn into smart, successful, and brave young women.
Dr. Kapur’s inspiration has already left a lasting impact on Transitions. We are so grateful to have her as a part of our team, and we cannot see where she can take us moving forward.
“Everyone’s journey teaches them different things. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I think I’m able to help people because of that. I’m happy to give my time to our families, earn their trust, and provide the best care to our patients and families.” – Dr. Kapur