DR. HEATHER GREENWOOD
HG: Heather Greenwood
BEN: What do you do with your days/profession?
HG: Radiologist specialized in breast cancer imaging at UCSF medical
BEN: Food you can’t live without?
HG: French Fries and Pizza! I can’t pick between the two and
definitely NEED both.
BEN: What do you feel most proud of accomplishing or doing in your life so far and how does it make you feel?
HG: The things I am most proud of accomplishing are my career and being a mom. After losing my mom to breast cancer when I was 9, I knew I wanted to become a doctor. As I grew older I realized, not only did I want to be a doctor, but I knew I wanted to focus on women's health. I spent A LOT of time in the engineering library while during college at Northwestern (because the main library was too social for me haha) to have my best chance at getting into a medical school. I was lucky enough to get accepted and then, following 4 years of medical school, I spent 6 years in training to become a radiologist sub-specialized in breast imaging. As a breast-cancer radiologist I am often the first person to detect breast cancer and the first person to tell a patient they have breast cancer. While it can be extremely emotional, I feel fortunate to be able to detect breast cancer when it is smallest and most treatable in hopes to give women their best chance to fight this horrible disease. The idea that I can play even a small role in keeping moms around for their children longer than I had mine in this world, makes every second of hard work worth it. Working at an academic institution I am able to contribute to research in the field and my research focuses on high-risk breast cancer screening and emerging technologies in breast cancer imaging. Balancing a demanding career with raising two small children (a 2-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter) has been one of my life’s biggest challenges. After losing my own mom, nothing is more important to me than being the best mom I
can be. Part of this for me is showing my kids that I love them and am their biggest supporter, while at the same time accomplishing my own personal goals and dreams, hoping to show them they can one day do the same.
BEN: What’s your favorite color?
HG: HOT pink
BEN: If you could tell your thirteen year old self something from her future what do you think would surprise her most?
HG: That she would enjoy running 26.2 miles for fun!
BEN: What’s your favorite movie from growing up ? (impossible we know)
HG: Big Business
BEN: What has been a challenge that you’ve faced in your life, how have you lived with it, and what has it taught you for the future?
HG: When I was 6 years old my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She unfortunately passed away when I was 9 and she was only 35 years old. It taught me at a (way too) young age that life is truly our biggest gift and not to sweat the small stuff. Each day we are here is a gift and I try to fill it surrounded by people who I love, admire, and who add joy to my life. I am so blessed with the tribe of family and friends that I am surrounded by, I know my mom would be so happy to see the way that I am loved and supported by them.
BEN: All time favorite song? (also impossible, so sorry)
HG: "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips
BEN: What is an important and unexpected pivot you’ve made in your life?
HG: Letting go of perfectionism and portraying that everything is
always wonderful. Through my mid 20s I definitely felt the need to portray perfection, from a brief struggle with an eating disorder to unhealthy relationships, I never wanted people to know I was hurting. Learning as I have gotten older to be able to let people see when I am struggling and to allow them to help me when I need it, whether going through post-partum anxiety or a scary family medical situation, I have learned it’s ok to not be ok and to ask for help.
BEN: Which vault are you and why?
HG: The Endeavor Vault. I commit hard – from deciding I wanted to dedicate my career to the fight against breast cancer, running and training for marathons, or supporting my loved ones – I choose the things that bring joy to my life and don’t do any of those half-way. My favorite place by far is a celebration, whether a birthday celebration or a post-race party, I love to celebrate all things in life.
Life is short and it needs to be celebrated.