In Episode 035, Susan Salenger explains why patients need to take ownership of their own healthcare

Today I am interviewing a woman who has made it her mission to encourage people, especially women, to take more control of their healthcare.

Susan Salenger operated a business in California with her husband for many years where they produced and distributed management or supervisory training videos to companies.

When they sold their business, Susan’s retirement lasted all of three seconds. Because she had always been intrigued by biology and the study of cultures or society in general, she went back to school to take some anthropology classes.

Susan learned a lot about medicine and diseases as well a gender bias against women. She said there was a lot of great information out there, but women weren’t accessing it because it wasn’t being made available to the general public.

Even worse, Susan discovered women were misdiagnosed 30 percent more frequently than men, especially when it came to addressing autoimmune diseases. Often, women were too embarrassed to seek help because they had so many other people to take care of that they couldn’t afford to be sick themselves.

So, as a result of her research, Susan published her first book titled “Sidelined: How Women Can Navigate a Broken Healthcare System.”

It’s no secret that medical misdiagnosis is a big problem today. With more than 40,000 known illnesses, Susan said there are too few doctors treating many more patients. That means doctors usually can’t afford to take the time it takes to really delve into the underlying causes of an illness.

Susan explained that women often blame themselves for their medical problems by seeing the problem as a punishment for bad decisions in the past. I agree. My mother saw the cancer she developed in her 80s as a result of smoking in her 30s.

The medical establishment is often quick to prescribe medicines to address symptoms rather than look for the root cause of problems. Because people take so many prescription medicines, it can be very difficult to determine how one drug will combine with another to influence a third.

After sharing her own story of having problems misdiagnosed, Susan noted it’s unfortunate that many women are told reactions to medicine are either in their head or the natural result of aging.

For all these reasons, Susan took it upon herself to help educate people to the realities of medicine today. That way people can be more active in addressing concerns and getting second opinions before subjecting themselves to new drugs or risky medical procedures.

She encourages patients to trust doctors, but also do their own research to ensure that a diagnosis matches what people are actually experiencing. Patients can also structure visits with medical professionals in a way that they can get their concerns addressed as well as their questions answered.

For more help in taking ownership of your own healthcare, especially as a woman, consider reading Susan’s book “Sidelined: How Women can Navigate a Broken Healthcare System.” It is available on Amazon and in other bookstores.

To connect with Susan, visit or look for her on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or other social media sites.

That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit

I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.