Daisy Ayim, MD, has always been able to clearly see how women’s health, wellness and cosmetic care fit together. She is triple board certified in cosmetic surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology – a combination that was unheard of during her medical training more than 20 years ago.
“I had a vision for myself and my practice that involved these distinct specialties, but, when I sought advice on dual residency training, I was met with blank stares or flat out, ‘No, that is not possible,’” she explained. “My love interest at that time in my life was also completely unsupportive about women in surgery, and he basically gave me an ultimatum to choose him or my career.”
Although she was a woman entering a male-dominated specialty, Dr. Ayim did not consider gender important. “For me, personally, I do not think being a woman hindered or influenced my choices in life. Instead, I have been reminded of my womanhood when other people project their limitations or support on to me,” she shared. “I do not think along the lines of gender, race or religion as I pursue my dreams. My thought process is simply, ‘What do I want to do for myself?’”
While personal and professional resistance led Dr. Ayim to momentarily doubt herself, she soon realized she had the power to forge her own path. “My uncertainty led me to join a residency training program in general surgery with the intention to do a plastic surgery fellowship,” she noted. “But I had such a strong interest in women’s health that I later switched programs to obstetrics and gynecology, then completed a dual fellowship in facial and general cosmetic surgery.”
During her training, Dr. Ayim developed a simple mindset that kept her moving forward. “I learned early on to distance myself from anyone or any situation that did not add value to my vision,” she emphasized. “And I am ecstatic to have stayed on course. I love it here.”
The Business of Medicine
Born in the Republic of Cameroon, and later migrating to Texas, Dr. Ayim spent her formative years dreaming of owning her own business. When she immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager, her entrepreneurial spirit flourished, but her focus shifted. “My parents, like many immigrant parents, expected me to pursue science. They wanted me to become a physician. It was non-negotiable as they paid for my college tuition. So, I focused on how to merge my passion for business with a career in medicine.”
For Dr. Ayim, private practice was the answer. She has two practice locations: one in Houston, Texas, because it was the state her family first called home in the U.S.; and a second in Miami, Fla. “I love the vibe and energy of the city,” she added. “I always wanted to live in a beach city or town, and Miami is the complete package for me.”
Looking back, Dr. Ayim is grateful for her parents’ guidance. “Becoming a doctor was the path my parents wanted me to take, and I was not opposed to it, but I really do enjoy the medical profession. And I have still been able to pursue my dream of owning a business, as well as my interest in women’s health, wellness and beauty.”
Although surgery is her specialty, Dr. Ayim takes a holistic approach to body contouring. “I love exercise and appreciate the natural contouring that can occur as a result. That is why I use cosmetic procedures as an adjunct treatment to lifestyle changes, not a substitution,” she said.
“I love infusing fitness and nutrition into my treatment plans,” Dr. Ayim continued. “I see myself as a part of this movement towards more sustainable cosmetic results, which is why I focus on exercise and diet as the foundation for my clients.”
Dr. Ayim follows this holistic approach in her personal life as well. “I practice the healthy lifestyle I preach, so my patients genuinely trust my knowledge and expertise. Representation of my craft is important to me,” she admitted. “I have always felt that it is odd to discuss beauty enhancements with clients when the deliverer does not exude an aura of beauty. Would you trust a hairstylist with bad hair to do your hair?”
When it comes to the future of the specialty, Dr. Ayim is excited and hopeful. “I feel like cosmetic surgery is so normalized in conversations these days – which is exciting – but can also lead to challenges in counseling clients,” she explained. “Social media is a great tool to disseminate information, although it is not always accurate. This is a challenge that is definitely here to stay, but it is also where we, as physicians, can make the biggest impact for our patients.”
Dr. Ayim has had to forge her own path not just in her professional life, but her personal life as well. “I am a divorcee with a teen daughter whom I have raised exclusively over the years,” she shared. “It has been an incredible juggling act to find a balance between motherhood, owning a business and having a personal life.
“My biggest fear in life was to not have my complete family structure, and deciding to divorce was the most painful step that I’ve had to take in my life,” she added. “But I find comfort in knowing I did the best I could.”
Dr. Ayim allowed herself to be vulnerable as she entered this new, unexpected phase of her life. “I had to rediscover myself post divorce,” she said. “I focused on living a simple life: eating good, nutritious food, exercising, traveling for enrichment and having great childcare assistance, as well as a small circle of friends. Every interaction had to bring joy into my space, or I walked away.”
“Now, I balance all aspects of my life by constantly reprioritizing to meet my personal and professional goals,” she admitted. “My single piece of advice to anyone in a similar situation is to try not to wallow in despair. It is really amazing how happy thoughts feed the mind.”