TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Half of today’s medical students are women, but not many of them are surgeons.

Tampa’s Dr. Sharona Ross hopes to change those statistics.

“Many women believe they can’t handle the demand of being a surgeon and create a work life balance,” said Dr. Ross

Dr. Ross shows young women by example. She is one of only a few doctors in the country that can perform precision single incision laparoscopic and robotic surgery for complex GI cancers, like pancreatic, esophageal, stomach, gallbladder and liver cancers.

Her job is demanding, but she has an incredible family and a good life balance.

“I love what I do , and I want other women to have that same joy,” she said.

A decade ago, Dr. Ross decided to create a symposium to bring the small number of other female surgeons together to help mentor female medical students to become surgeons.

“It was in my living room,” Ross said with a laugh.

The idea quickly caught on with female surgeons from around the world showing up in support of Dr. Ross’s initiative, and it’s working.

Female med students are starting to change their paths, like Marci Crowley who planned to do lab work when she graduated from medical school.

“I saw her not just being a surgeon, but being an incredible surgeon. She is at the top of her field.” said Crowley.

The 11th Annual International Women in Surgery will be held on February 14-15, 2020 at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

For more information on the program, visit women-in-surgery.com.