Welcome Message from the MWIA Secretary General

On the occasion of the Centennial Congress of the Medical Women’s International Association, it is a great pleasure as well as a privilege to extend words of welcome from the Secretariat.

Having the congress in New York City has great significance as it was in 1919 that Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy and her colleagues met at the Waldorf Astoria to inaugurate MWIA. We have come full circle to meet again in New York City to celebrate 100 years since that momentous occasion.

I would like to thank the American Medical Women’s Association for hosting this congress. I acknowledge the tremendous amount of work it has been to hold a conference in New York City, having the need to balance creating an exceptional experience yet keeping within budget.

This is going to be my last congress as Secretary General. It seems like only yesterday that my predecessor, Dr. Waltraud Diekhaus, twisted my arm to have me take on the role of CEO of MWIA. I am very grateful that I succumbed to her persuasive ways, as I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as the Secretary General. Waltraud always said that the President was the spokesperson but the Secretariat was the heart and soul of the organization. I have enjoyed working with several executives and extend best wishes to the upcoming 2019-2022 executive.

When Dr. Lovejoy started MWIA, it was due to the need to allow more women into medical school and to allow them to practice medicine upon graduation. Particularly in the developed countries, we have long ago won that battle, with many medical schools seeing over 50% female enrolment. Our challenge now is to make sure that women physicians step up and take on the leadership roles that will shape the profession into the future. MWIA needs to train them and support them in those roles.

MWIA has also been seen as an advocate for women’s health and must stand up and speak particularly for those women who have no voice. MWIA has long been known for its work on Gender and Health and now is becoming known for working in the field of Violence against Women. We need to keep a keen eye on emerging issues in women’s health and empowerment and make sure our voice is heard.

At the Centennial Congress, I look forward to seeing many members of MWIA that I have come to know over the years and to meet many more who are new to MWIA. See you in July, 2019!

Shelley Ross MD, CCFP, FCFP, ICD.D
Secretary General, MWIA