For this week’s Woman Wednesday, AY About You sits down with Karen Farst.
Farst grew up with a love for the outdoors and athletics, making Arkansas feel even more like home for her.
After attending Texas Tech University during her undergraduate years and playing on the basketball team, Farst entered medical school at her alma mater. Afterwards, she came to Little Rock for residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH). After residency training, Farst moved to Northwest Arkansas and was in primary care private practice for three years.
During that time, she became involved as a medical volunteer at the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of Benton County. It was through her experience at the Children’s Advocacy Center that Farst developed a better understanding of how childhood trauma impacts many adult patients. It was then that Farst decided to pursue additional training in child abuse pediatrics. She completed a fellowship training in child abuse pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and then returned to Little Rock to join the UAMS Department of Pediatrics and work with the Team for Children at Risk at ACH in 2004.
Farst explains to us what it means for her to be a woman. “There are parts of my life as a woman that have remained consistent in regards to being a daughter, friend, aunt, sister, team-mate and someone who loves to escape to the outdoors. Other aspects of who I am at this stage of my life have developed into a family caregiver, doctor, leader, cheerleader and community volunteer. I don’t hike as hard and fast as I used to, but still love to get out there,” he says.
Farst goes into detail about addressing some of the struggles that women face in the workplace.
“I have been very fortunate to have had supporters and opportunities via sports, academics and medicine that allowed me to grow and succeed based on effort and ability as opposed to gender,” she says. Now that I am in a leadership role, I am working on developing skills of being able to be heard and voice my opinion in a manner that encourages others to listen without being perceived as ‘bossy’ or harsh.”
Lastly, Farst gives a word of advice to young women and girls who might read this article. “I have been so fortunate to have strong women and men in my life that were role models and mentored me into finding my niche in medicine to be something that I was passionate about. If you can develop a passion into what you do for a living, it will be so much more fulfilling than just having a job. Treat other people how you would like to be treated and don’t expect everyone to like you. Find balance by investing time and energy into things that are meaningful to you,” she says.