Stephenson named one of top 50 women leaders in medicine

Jan. 16, 2024

Stephenson named one of top 50 women leaders in medicine

Kenna Stephenson, MD, FAAFP, an associate clinical professor in the College of Medicine – Phoenix Department of Family, Community & Preventive Medicine, was named one of 50 women leaders in medicine by Women We Admire

Woman doctor with short, curly blonde hair stands against a blue background, wearing a burnt orange turtleneck, white coat with her name on it and a stethoscope.

Kenna Stephenson, MD, FAAFP

This award is “humbling and exciting and has opened opportunities for me in sharing my passion for family medicine around the world,” said Stephenson, who is a primary care physician in the Northern Arizona VA Healthcare System. She also teaches in the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix Doctoring Program under the leadership of Marícela P. Moffitt, MD, MPH, FACP, director of the program.

“I would like to thank Dr. Moffitt for offering me the opportunity to teach in the College of Medicine – Phoenix after I returned to Arizona a few years ago,” Stephenson said. “The Doctoring Program is one of the most impressive designs that I’ve seen and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Stephenson’s expansive career has included private practice, community medicine, rural medicine, creating a health center for female veterans, employee health and academic medicine. She is a founding member and medical director of the Team-5 Medical Foundation, which is dedicated to providing medical and dental care to patients, and training to Indigenous people in remote regions of the world.

She has practiced medicine in diverse settings, including “under triple-canopy jungles in remote Guatemala, traversing East Texas minefields in a mobile unit, on a marae caring for Māori of New Zealand and inside a truck on a Paramount Pictures set,” according to her College of Medicine – Phoenix biography

Stephenson said she knew she wanted to be a physician since she was 5 years old. She did her preceptorship during medical school with her own family physician, Dr. Prasert Punhong, who inspired her. 

“Although he was a physically small man, a devout Buddhist and an outsider to my small West Texas town, he was a giant in his knowledge and generosity,” she said. “The priest, the banker, the pastor, the mayor, the farmer and others listened carefully when he spoke and showed him deep respect and gratitude. He was the same in his caring demeanor to all patients, meeting them in their illness and hoping for their wellness. I wanted to be like that – helpful to all while simultaneously gaining knowledge of the art and science of medicine.”

As a primary care physician with a wealth of experience, Stephenson’s advice to medical students and early career physicians is to “treat the patient as you would want your fellow physician to treat your sister, your brother, your father or your mother and you will never disappoint them nor fail yourself. Measure and verify in the patient what is observed as real and visualize the patient as their ideal with remission of their condition or lessening of their suffering.”

Women We Admire is a membership organization comprised of the most accomplished women executives and leaders across the United States and Canada.