SARASOTA, Fla. – The Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County (www.TheWomensResourceCenter.org), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering women in Sarasota County and enriching their lives, is incorporating a new class into its schedule beginning in November.
‘Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life’ will take place twice this month as a four-part class on November 3, 10, 17 and 24 from 12 – 1 p.m. and a three-part class on November 4, 18 and 25 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Taught by Dr. Barbara Srur, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, this class will help attendees learn to identify trials from their past and turn those challenges into building blocks for a successful future. The nonprofit plans to run the class again in January 2015.
“We hope to influence and benefit the lives of women going through transitions with this empowering class,” said Valerie Goddard, executive director of the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County. “We hope to equip women with the power to overcome their challenges to help them come through their situation stronger, and there’s no better teacher than Dr. Barbara Sur, who has been through a number of challenges herself.”
Like many women, Srur has also been through a number of hardships, including the divorce of her parents, the loss of her best friend to cystic fibrosis at age 14, discrimination during her medical school applications and her own divorce.
The Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County believes that a woman is the foundation of a family. Srur, who is semi-retired, echoes that belief. A woman’s influence has a ripple effect, said Srur. By working with a woman, we can also impact her children and beyond. Srur chooses to donate her time for this worthy reason to the nonprofit.
“Each of us has our own book,” said Srur. “The front cover is our birth, and the back cover is our passing. The in-between chapters make the story and each one is a process.”
Born in Hungary, Srur relocated to the U.S. at age 10 years old – not knowing a word of English. She was placed in first grade when she should have been in fifth grade due to the language barrier. After four months of not being able to express herself, Srur became relatively fluent.
“It’s all about attitude,” said Srur. “I remember thinking, ‘I don’t belong here’, but I changed my thinking to, ‘I belong anywhere’.”
Srur finished high school and college in three and a half years each and applied to medical school. At the time, women couldn’t get into medical school because of the Vietnam War. Instead, Srur applied to the Peace Corps and spent two years in Malaysia teaching chemistry and biology at an all-girls high school.
She returned to the U.S. and applied for the third time to medical schools only to be told her was too old. While hitchhiking through France, she learned the country had an open-enrollment policy at its medical schools. Srur saved her money, learned French in a few months and started medical school in 1972.
At age 42, Srur was considered a specialist. After all the delays and obstacles, she achieved the goal she had worked so hard for. “If you have a goal and work towards it, you can get there,” said Srur. “With each challenge, you just find how to get around it – there’s always a way.”
Classes are $8 for non-members and $5 for members. For more information on the ‘Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Mind’ class, please call 941-366-1700 or visit www.TheWomensResourceCenter.org.
About the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County
For over 30 years, the countywide not-for-profit agency has provided women with life skills training, career services and scholarships to achieve their highest potential. For more information, visit www.TheWomensResourceCenter.org.
About Dr. Barbara Srur
Dr. Srur is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist who has worked in the Sarasota/Bradenton area for 26 years. She’s an experienced psychopharmacologist who takes an integrative approach, evaluating the whole person, not just the acute symptoms. Srur specializes in the treatment of depression, bipolar disorders, ADHD, anxiety disorders and eating disorders.
She joined the Peace Corps as a high school chemistry and biology teacher in Malaysia. She later attended medical school in France. Srur trained as an intern in pediatrics as well as a child psychiatry fellow at the prestigious North Shore University Hospital, Cornell Medical School in New York. Her adult psychiatry training included time at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore, Jacobi and Bronx State Hospitals.
She is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Florida State University and continues to teach third-year medical students. She is on the active staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.