While they have a number of father-son counterparts, Dietlind Wahner-Roedler, M.D., General Internal Medicine, and her daughter, Andrea Wahner Hendrickson, M.D., Medical Oncology, are Mayo Clinic’s first mother-daughter physician duo. "I think it shows the moving trend of more women going into medicine," says Dr. Wahner Hendrickson.
When Dr. Wahner-Roedler started her residency at Mayo in 1969, and when she was hired on staff afterward, she was one of just three women in physician roles at Mayo Clinic. Her example inspired her daughter's choice to become a doctor.
"I feel very fortunate, because I had a great role model," Dr. Wahner Hendrickson says. "My mom showed me that it takes a lot of juggling to have a career and a family, but I saw early that it can be done. I don’t know if I would have made it through residency and fellowship without having her example and support."
Although she originally wanted to move somewhere warmer than Minnesota, Dr. Wahner Hendrickson says that family — and Mayo Clinic — brought her back. "Maybe it’s because it’s the way I always pictured medicine, or because of my amazing mentors, or because of the support I have with my parents here, but I realized I can’t find this anywhere else," says Dr. Wahner Hendrickson.
The similarities between this mother and daughter go beyond their positions on staff. They both had their residencies at Mayo and completed fellowships in Hematology here. Now, they’re both practicing in areas of women’s health — Dr. Wahner-Roedler in the Breast Clinic and Dr. Wahner Hendrickson in Oncology, with a focus on gynecologic cancer. And Dr. Wahner Hendrickson sees some of Dr. Wahner-Roedler’s patients after they’re diagnosed in the Breast Clinic.
What does it mean to these women to be the first mother-daughter physician duo at Mayo Clinic? "It was unusual to be a woman and a physician before, but not anymore," says Dr. Wahner-Roedler. "I think we are the first of many to come."