At home, Pam Panum is most at ease in the garden, where she nurtures living things through the natural processes of life. That same impulse, and a desire to do something meaningful, is what led her to medical school at the University of Minnesota and to using the tools of medicine—including counseling, teaching, and surgery—to help guide women through the many transitions of their lives.
“I like working with women in their 40s and 50s. It’s a time when women find it very hard to take the time to take care of themselves,” she says. “So I like to give a little nudge, to remind them that it’s OK.
“And there is a lot of satisfaction in surgery, too: in doing something well, and also in supporting people through that experience.”
Patients say they appreciate by her serene, competent manner. “A lot of people think transitions such as menopause are out-of-control kinds of things, that their hormones are wacko,” she says. “This is not really the case. I want people to be able to approach their life in a calm way, to see these transitions as normal, natural things.”