Women's History Month: Meet Candace Gamble, M.D.
Celebrating Women's History Month at Cook Children's
By Ashley Antle
March is Women’s History Month. While the country commemorates the role of women in American History, at Cook Children’s Health Care System, we celebrate the role of women in building one of the largest free-standing pediatric health centers in the country.
After all, it was the vision and generosity of two women that started it all.
One, a former postmistress with few financial resources, Mrs. Ida L. Turner, dreamed of a place where fragile babies would be cared for regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Her vision and hard work led to the opening of the Fort Worth Free Baby Hospital in 1918.
The other was a wealthy heiress who wanted to honor her late husband by helping sick children. In 1929, Mrs. Missouri Matilda Nail Cook dedicated the oil royalties from the Cook Ranch to build the W.I. Cook Memorial Hospital.
Eventually, the two children’s hospitals became one and grew to be one of the finest pediatric medical institutions in the country with more than 1.5 million patient encounters every year.
Throughout our 105-year history, the women of Cook Children’s have championed children; nurtured the sick and hurting; led innovation in science, medicine and technology; and steered the business of health care with imagination, safety, generosity, kindness, respect and collaboration.
While these women number in the thousands throughout Cook Children’s history, this year, we’re highlighting a few who have made their mark in medicine. Each comes from different backgrounds, different specialties and different decades, but they all share two things — a passion for their work and the Promise to improve the well-being of every child in our care and our communities.
Candace Gamble, M.D.
Medical Director, Genetics
Years at Cook Children’s: 7
As a geneticist, Candace Gamble, M.D., puts together the pieces of a patient’s genetic puzzle, including medical and family histories and genetic testing results, to identify an underlying disorder. Once a diagnosis is made, she and her team help patients and their families navigate their health care needs through counseling and advocacy.
In college, Dr. Gamble thought she wanted to be a lawyer, but after a little more than a year following that path, she realized her heart wasn’t connecting with the legal profession. So she pivoted and found her calling in the biological sciences.
“I look at my work as a calling when the days and weeks become difficult, so my faith is what does it for me,” Dr. Gamble said of what gets her through adversity. “I’m not sure I could have made it through this long journey to medicine without my faith foundation. It’s not about me and my accomplishments, but about my divine purpose.”
Watching her team work together to find creative solutions to overcome recent staffing challenges is one of her proudest moments at Cook Children’s. Dr. Gamble said each person in her department, from administration to clinical staff to the nurse practitioners and fellow doctors, has been incredible team players and instrumental in developing creative solutions to continue to meet their patient’s health and well-being needs.
“I love caring for our patients but my work family in genetics makes it so much easier,” she said.
During her residency, and thanks to the influence of one of her mentors, Dr. Gamble became interested in the study of skeletal dysplasias, a category of rare genetic disorders that affect a baby’s bones, joints and growth. She has been an investigator in several skeletal dysplasia research studies and a contributor to many publications.
“Much of the research I have done was all natural history studies, learning more about the disease process and how they affect patients,” she said. “But now we are entering an exciting time where treatment options are available for specific conditions and patients and families that desire treatment. One example of this is vosoritide, a daily injection that can be used for those with achondroplasia, which is the most common skeletal dysplasia, to increase final adult height.”
Having a mentor, she said, kept her moving forward in the pursuit of her passion. Dr. Gamble encourages other women working towards a career in health care to find someone, in medicine or another profession, that will hold them accountable to their dreams and goals.
“Those dreams were put upon your heart for a reason, and I truly believe they are part of your destiny and purpose,” she said. “Having a mentor is especially important for women of color who may lack access to tangible representation in a certain field.”