In the exam room, conference suite, and community, Dr. Claudia Mason has made it her personal and professional commitment to champion the needs of women.
It comes naturally as a gynecologist at Cleveland Clinic Florida’s offices in West Palm Beach, which she helped to open 10 years ago. A certified ob-gyn, Mason has 35 years of experience and estimates she’s cared for more than 100,000 patients—and counting. “This is a life’s work,” she says, explaining that she “guides women through their lifespan” beginning with general checkups and progressing through contraception, menopause, and hormone therapy.
For four years, Mason has served on the board for the South Florida affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. “The worst part of my day is calling someone to tell her that she has breast cancer,” says Mason. “One out of eight will get breast cancer, but eight out of eight are frightened by it. It’s an emotional, gut-wrenching disease. The emotions and fear are overwhelming, even if you don’t have it.”
She’s a believer in the serious research Komen supports. “They’ve funded the research for the most important treatment and detection breakthroughs in the last 35 years,” she says. In addition, the organization is there for women who are going through treatment. “They are the local resource and first responders for breast health. They take care of people in their own neighborhood.”
Being a fluent Spanish speaker is a plus in South Florida, but Mason didn’t grow up in a bilingual household. Instead, she learned the language while earning her medical degree from the Universidad de Zaragoza in Spain. Throughout it all, Mason kept motivated by thinking about both sets of her immigrant grandparents. “They all had the same challenge: learn another language, establish themselves, and make good,” she says. “They had to do it.”
Mason is the Palm Beach representative for Cleveland Clinic’s Women’s Professional Staff Association, which advocates for women in medicine and promotes personal and professional growth through leadership opportunities in education, clinical settings, and research. Members also focus on happiness at work, recognizing “that often women have dual or triple roles, as physicians, mothers, wives, community members,” Mason says. “We want to create opportunities for success.”
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2017, the Palm Beach County Medical Society named her a Physician Hero, and she also received the American Medical Women’s Association’s 2016 Local Hero Award. —C.C.