Facing Challenges, Chasing Dreams: Q&A with Dr. Jordan Halsey
Surgery has always been a male-dominated field. Even when looking at specialty areas, only around 16 percent of plastic surgeons are women — and the numbers are likely lower for those practicing in pediatrics. That didn’t stop Jordan Halsey, M.D., though from pursuing her dream of becoming a pediatric plastic surgeon. From a young age, Halsey was intrigued by the medical field and helping children around the world. She hopes to inspire other children to follow their dreams and lets us learn a little more about her and what led her to the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Describe what you do in a normal day?
First thing in the morning when my alarm goes off, I go through my schedule to mentally prepare for the day. Then, my day typically consists of clinic, surgical cases or research-related activities. I have clinics in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Brandon and Sarasota every month and also see patients in the Vascular Anomalies Clinic. Because I am an assistant professor at both Johns Hopkins and University of South Florida, I am involved in educational and research activities with the residents in both programs. The last thing I do at night, typically, is a review of the day to make sure I make a mental to-do list for the next day. I also usually pray and meditate in the evenings — it always helps me wind down!
What made you choose your specialty?
I have always been interested in medical missions work and have traveled all over the world on medical mission trips, starting in high school. Because of my experiences on those trips, I envisioned taking care of children with facial differences as being my dream job. Plastic surgery was the perfect field to go into because it involves performing complex and creative reconstructive procedures. Furthermore, by specializing in pediatric craniofacial surgery, I can accomplish my dream by caring for children with facial differences and complex surgical issues.
Who were your role models growing up?
Even though I was the first person in my immediate family to go to medical school, I grew up with fabulous supportive parents and was surrounded by family support. Looking back, I could not have made it to where I am now, without them. Parents — support your kids' dreams, they need you!
What’s something people might find surprising about you?
I won the Price is Right showcase showdown in 2013. I won a trip to Tahiti, a trip to Barbados, two iPads, and an underwater camera.
What do you do to take your mind off work?
I love to travel, and I am a huge Disney person. I also love to spend time exploring St. Pete with friends/family and spending time with my dachshund, Margo.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your life and work?
When COVID began, I was finishing up my residency training in the northeast. Several people I knew contracted the disease, and a few physicians ended up very sick or dying. It was very traumatic and because of that I am very passionate about advocating for everyone to be vaccinated and to continue to take proper precautions to prevent COVID-19 spread and future outbreaks.
Is there a piece of health advice you might offer to families?
It is always challenging to find a doctor/surgeon you can trust with your children so I recommend always researching your child's providers and their medical training. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital’s pediatric plastic surgeons are fully-trained, academic plastic surgeons who completed additional training in craniofacial plastic surgery at two of the most renowned programs in the country. Our team is not only focused on providing the best care for our patients but also follows evidence-based practices to ensure your child receives the latest treatments and care that is demonstrated to provide the most effective outcome. Our cleft and craniofacial program at the hospital is also the only American Cleft Palate Association-approved program in the entire Tampa Bay region.
Do you have a motto that guides you?
My dean of my medical school gave this advice early on and it stuck with me: “Never let anyone tell you can’t have it all.” It serves as a constant reminder to always chase after your dreams and to never settle.