Dr. Amalfi Named a Women of Excellence Honoree
Dr. Amalfi in white suit sitting in ornate room, Rochester Business Journal Women of Excellence logo overlayed

The Rochester Business Journal’s Women of Excellence awards recognize high-achieving women for their career accomplishments, including professional experience, community involvement, leadership and a sustained commitment to mentoring.

The honorees were selected by a panel of judges comprised of previous years’ Circle of Excellence and Women of Excellence honorees and the Rochester Business Journal’s editorial team.

“The 2024 Women of Excellence inspire those around them by their actions, their words and their deeds. They support the next generation of women leaders,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, managing director of BridgeTower Media/Rochester Business Journal. “They are change makers who demonstrate professional success, break barriers and mentor other women. They work hard and play hard and create better lives for their teams, their networks and their families. The Circle of Excellence honorees inspire change and help to ensure women have access to every possible opportunity. Their passion and commitment to excellence enrich the Greater Rochester community. The Rochester Business Journal congratulates all of this year’s Women of Excellence.”

As a plastic surgeon who specializes in procedures of the breast and body, including breast augmentation, breast lift, mommy makeover, liposuction, tummy tuck, labiaplasty, and breast augmentation revisions, as well as injectable fillers and neuromodulators, Dr. Amalfi centers her work around empowering women to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. The majority of her patients are women, and the purpose of our work at the Quatela Center is to allow each individual to feel beautiful in their own way, however that manifests for them.

Involvement in National and Local Organizations

Dr. Amalfi is actively involved in a variety of national and local organizations and committees. Her focus on mentorship for women in the plastic surgery field, and honest education for patients, drives her involvement. Some of her involvement includes the Aesthetic Education Network of The Aesthetic Society, and various positions through the American Society of Plastic Surgeons including: Chair of the Social Media Subcommittee, the Annual Meeting Educational Programming Committee, the Breast Aesthetic Subcommittee, the Women’s Plastic Surgery Steering Committee, a member of the Young Plastic Surgeons Steering Committee, and Executive of the LIMITLESS Leaders Steering Committee.

Regionally, Dr. Amalfi has held various positions for the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons and locally, she has supported Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women on their board of trustees and with their annual fundraiser. She is also the co-founder of UR Women in Surgery and the founder of the Association of Women Surgeons UR Med Student Chapter at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She also founded Rochester Women in Plastic Surgery (WIPS).                

The Importance of Mentoring

As a woman in a male-dominated field, Dr. Amalfi has taken a particular interest in the mentorship of women in plastic surgery. As a medical student, she had no access to female mentors and no women who led her into this challenging career. She is determined to make that experience different for the medical students and residents whom she teaches and mentors.

“I am particularly proud of one graduate whom I had the opportunity to mentor as a plastic surgery resident. She had transferred into our program from general surgery and felt behind in her clinical skills and medical knowledge compared to her peers. Sensing her imposter syndrome, I immediately related to this young surgeon and took her under my wing. I shared with her study skills and time management that had been instrumental to my own success. In the operating room, I allowed her to be hands-on to learn the skills and become an exceptionally gifted plastic surgeon.”

“Since her graduation, our mentorship has continued. I invited her to apply for a scholarship to attend our Women in Plastic Surgery meeting. She was able to network with other women across the country and ultimately secure a job as an Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery. She has proven herself, and her boss personally thanked me for mentoring such a superstar in our profession. She now holds the title of Program Director for the Plastic Surgery Residency training program. I have involved her in the leadership of WPS and she is now my Vice Chair of our Committee. I also brought her along as section editor for our Young Plastic Surgeons’ Column in our Plastic Surgery News Publication. She again has proven herself to be capable and an exceptional leader, and this year was named as Editor in Chief of the entire publication. I could not be more proud of providing mentorship to this exceptional young woman, and I in return have learned so much from her tenacity and gracious ways.”

Most Significant Professional Accomplishment

“I am so proud to be a first-generation college graduate and to have carved my own path in medicine to become a board-certified plastic surgeon. My dad’s family came from Italy and continued their trade as butchers, opening a family business and grocery store in our community. Dad taught me the work ethic and entrepreneurial thinking that has led me to my success. I saw what my family had built and how much their family grocery store impacted the Rochester city community. I saw my family’s generosity as they paid for the groceries of those who were less fortunate. I saw the way my family cared for their employees and mentored them to pursue education, support their families, and become their best selves.”

“And as a young girl, I was inspired to dream big. I was encouraged to pursue my passions, and I set my sights high, and my family was behind me every step of the way. Even though we had no medical providers in my family, they sought out advice and helped me build connections each step of the way. And now as a board-certified plastic surgeon who owns my own business and has employees who depend on me to support their own families and personal goals, I continue to be inspired. I am so proud of who I have grown to be professionally and inspired by what is yet to come.”

How Dr. Amalfi Overcame Challenges Faced as a Woman in the Plastic Surgery Industry

“As a woman in plastic surgery, I am certainly a minority. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I am one of about 14% in our specialty. Plastic surgery remains a very difficult career choice for women, and female medical students are less likely to choose a surgical specialty. Of those who do choose to pursue the competitive specialty of plastic surgery, almost half of women decide not to start a family, and women surgeons face high rates of infertility, obstetrical complications, and miss work due to childcare issues.  Women are also not promoted at an equal rate to their male colleagues, and leadership in academic medicine has a scarcity of female representation due to many of these issues.”

Some of the challenges that Dr. Amalfi faced as a woman in the industry was this lack of equality in medicine and the lack of support for women who are also mothers. Often the culture of medicine, especially surgical medicine, makes women feel that if they choose family, it’s at the expense of their careers.

“I was fortunate to train at a program known for its diversity and for fostering a culture that supports women in our specialty. As a dual-physician family, my husband was halfway across the country completing a fellowship when both of our children were born. I leaned upon my program, and the wives of my co-residents, retired nurses, and staff to watch my son when my mother couldn’t be in town. Despite how challenging it was to have a child in residency, I never once questioned my career choice. My program was fulfilling its obligation to support me as a female surgeon, and I was grateful.”

“I transitioned to my first academic job pregnant with my second child and found the demands of a rigid and archaic system quite different. I missed weekend breakfasts and tennis practices to attend mandatory Saturday morning research meetings. Ultimately, I became one of the statistics and left academic practice for the flexibility and control that private practice could offer. I feel grateful to once again be in an environment that supports my needs as a surgeon, a wife, and a mother.”

To gain a voice and overcome these disparities, Dr. Amalfi, along with other females in plastic surgery, have banded together and created a tight network of women who support each other, build each other up, teach, and share with one another to further their mutual success. She is so grateful to chair that group of women.

“As more women join our specialty, I am proud of the foundation and network we have built to demonstrate the balance and nuances needed to be a successful plastic surgeon and mother, all while honoring our needs as women.”

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