Dr. Vicki Macy, MD
OB-GYN, Kittitas Valley Healthcare, Ellensburg, WA
Dr. Vicki Macy is ahead of her time. She’s the first woman to complete the OB-GYN residency at the University of Utah, and one of the first female OB-GYNs in the state of Utah. As a pioneer for women in medicine, she’s delivered more than 9,000 babies, including multiple generations in several families. We spoke with her recently to learn how she got there and what motivated her along the way.
An Early Interest in Medicine
For Dr. Vicki Macy, being a woman ahead of her times is in her genes.
Growing up in the small town of Burley, Idaho, it was Dr. Macy’s mother, a school teacher, who first served as a role model for breaking out of traditional gender roles. It was the 1950s, and her mother developed a successful reading program that was copyrighted and used for children across the West.
Dr. Macy fell in love with a non-traditional career path and decided she would like to become an obstetrician when she was in the fourth grade. Through her school’s 4-H program she studied the birth process in sheep and became fascinated by it. She continued on this path, taking science courses throughout college with the intention of going to medical school. However, during her junior year, Dr. Macy put her dreams on hold to become a wife. Following in her parents’ footsteps, she changed tracks to pursue education, taking on extra classes to finish college in four years.
The Drive Towards a Dream
Then, in 1974, in her 30s and with two young children, Dr. Macy came across an article in Parade magazine about a 54-year-old woman with nine children who went back to medical school and changed the course of her life. Dr. Macy cut out the article and put it on her fridge as motivation. “I thought if she could do that, so could I,” she says.
Dr. Macy spoke with an admissions officer at the University of Oregon Medical School, who said she might have been able to pursue medical school seven years ago, but that “no one is going to believe your brain is capable of it without recent classes.” The admissions officer encouraged her to take a few additional undergraduate courses for a year, and if she did well, then she should apply. So she did just that and, on her second attempt, she was admitted as one of only 15 women in a nearly all-male class of 118 students.
Proving Herself as a Woman in Medicine
Dr. Macy moved to Salt Lake City after medical school to complete her OB-GYN residency at the University of Utah School of Medicine. There were two women who were admitted to the program in prior years, but they had both quit during their intern years. The “powers that be,” all of them men, didn’t accept another woman until Dr. Macy, so she knew the pressure was on her to prove a woman could succeed.
“I was terrified that I wouldn’t hold my own and they’d say ‘oh she’s not working hard enough.’ I didn’t ever want to hear ‘she doesn’t pull her weight,’ so I probably over-excelled.”
Dr. Vicki Macy
Thousands of Patients, Touched by her Care
Dr. Macy became the first woman to complete the OB-GYN residency at the University of Utah and then went on to become one of the first female OB-GYNs in the state. Though she’s proud of that accomplishment, she’s most proud of her relationships with her patients. Throughout her 30-year career, Dr. Macy has delivered about 9,000 babies, including several families where she delivered as many as 22 children in one extended family.
“It’s amazing to have several daughters in a family that you have delivered and then get to know their children. It’s something that you can’t ever put a price on as far as the value that has in your life.”
Dr. Vicki Macy
Though many of Dr. Macy’s patients have moved from the Salt Lake area, some still come back to see her every year, even from as far as Louisiana. “Many of my patients and myself will be forever connected emotionally,” she says.
When Sarah tells her cancer patients she knows what they are going through, she means it. Read Sarah's Story
Mallory Marconi’s journey to becoming a Hospital Hero started the same place she was born. Read Mallory's Story