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Dr. Lila Wallis: Armchair Research at 98 Years

This past January Dr. Laurel Waters and I had the good fortune and opportunity to visit Dr. Lila Wallis, AMWA Past President and a pioneer in women’s health. Remember how you learned how to perform your first pelvic exam on trained subjects in medical school? That was a program started by Dr. Wallis to ensure that physicians would learn how to perform these exams properly to minimize discomfort for the woman patient. Dr. Wallis would go on to become a trailblazer in women’s health, co-authoring one of the leading resources, Textbook on Women’s Health.

In 1998, AMWA established the Lila A. Wallis Women’s Health Award. Past recipients have included women’s health trailblazers in their own right — Dr. Patricia P. Barry, Dr. Sheila Blume, Dr. Janine Clayton, Dr. Florence Haseltine, Dr. Wendy Klein, Dr. Donald Lindberg, Dr. Susan M. Love, Dr. Saralyn Mark, Dr. Nawal Nour, Dr. Patricia J. Numann, Dr. Janet Rose Osuch, Dr. Natalie Rasgon, Dr. Gloria Elizabeth Sarto, Dr. Adaline Satterthwaite, Dr. Vicki L. Seltzer, Dr. Nada Stotland, and Dr. Norma Jo Waxman. The 2019 recipient is Dr. Susan Kornstein, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Women’s Health, and Executive Director, VCU Institute for Women’s Health.

In her 9th decade of life, Dr. Wallis remains as sharp as ever, continuing what she coins “armchair research” in her advocacy of women’s health. We reminisced with her on a sunny afternoon in Southern California and also connected by FaceTime with Dr. Satty Keswani, another long-time AMWA leader.

Here is a message from Dr. Wallis to future generations of AMWA leaders —

Dr. Lila Wallis

Dr. Lila Wallis

A Selfie with Dr. Wallis (L-Dr. Waters, R-Dr. Chin, C-Dr. Wallis)

March 12, 2019

My Dear Colleagues,

I am Lila A. Wallis M.D. MACP, AMWA President in 1988 – 89.

On June 21, I will be 98 years old.

Our numbers are increasing.

What will happen if we put them to work? If we use our knowledge, skills and imagination to come up with ideas on better health for everyone? To increase the number and status of women physicians? To improve women’s health? To improve children’s health? To build enduring peace?

Get into your “armchair research” chair.

Put on your “thinking caps”!!!!

And send your ideas to

With warm regards,

Dr. Lila Wallis

AMWA Admin

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