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AMWA 2023 —Thriving, Leading and Transforming

Magical. Energizing. Inspiring. These were the words conveyed by attendees at the 108th AMWA Annual Meeting held jointly with the Medical Women’s International Association North American Congress. This was the first in-person annual meeting after three long years on Zoom, much to everyone’s sheer joy. Old friendships were rekindled and new connections were made. We met in the halls, during committee meetings, between sessions, over lunch in the exhibit hall, and while viewing posters. We planned ways to continue discussions in the coming months to retain the energy, passion and excitement rekindled in Philly.

AMWA leadership is grateful to Annual Meeting Program Chair Dr. Eleanor Chu and President Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber who set an innovative program shared in an atmosphere of collegiality and warmth. New this year was the inaugural AMWA Healthcare Innovation Challenge. Five impressive women physicians pitched their concepts to an accomplished group of expert judges.Dr. Paula Doyle was selected as the docpreneur for her development of the GreenEgg, a fluorescent medical device that improves tissue visibility during surgery.

The opening keynote speaker, Dr. Joan Reede, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School, addressed racial inequities in medical institutions. Saturday’s keynote speaker, Dr. Caitlin Bernard,with her unwavering fortitude inspired us to reframe our approach and reclaim the narrative around abortion care. The gala keynote speaker, Dr. Janine Clayton, Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has pushed for scientists to consider sex as a biological variable across the research spectrum, which is foundational to the work of AMWA’s Sex & Gender Health Collaborative.

Plenary sessions covered the unique characteristics of women leaders and finding one’s worth in medicine as well as the climate impact on health and physicians’ role in gun solutions and LGBTQ+ health equity. Following the keynotes and plenary presentations, attendees participated in table talk sessions facilitated by physician coaches who encouraged members to reflect, share insights, and promote advocacy.  

A variety of practical workshops were offered from skill-building for private practice physicians to surviving sexual assault, exploring medical humanities, understanding medication abortion, global health, sex and gender-focused medicine, and the ever popular hot topics sessions, which included menopause care, environmental impact on health, osteoporosis, and HPV related management, to name a few. Discussions on the challenges faced by women physicians as leaders–(in)fertility, implicit bias, gender discrimination, workplace stress and mental health strain, and salary disparities–were impactful and enlightening. 

AMWA honored luminaries in medicine for their outstanding contributions to the cause of women in medicine, to the association, and to medical science. View Awardees

Other highlights included a panel on transformational leadership across diverse healthcare sectors was moderated by Dr. Nancy Spector, AMWA’s 2023 Blackwell Medal recipient, and the GME Symposium, which focused on resident wellbeing, the impact of privilege, and inspiration from culinary medicine. 

Two special events enriched the conference experience – a reception and tour of the AMWA archives at the Legacy Center at Drexel University College of Medicine, which highlighted the impact of those who pushed open the doors for women physicians in previous generations. Friday’s Women in Medicine Reception was held in the elegant venues of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the “birthplace of American medicine” and home of the Mutter Museum, This event brought together six women-led organizations – AMWA with presenting sponsors, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, American College of Physicians, Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) of Drexel University, Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation, and Alliance for Women’s Health and Prevention. The synergy of this arena of powerful women leaders and our future leaders, was palpable. 

AMWA celebrated recent graduates of the AMWA ELEVATE Certificate in Leadership Fundamentals along with WEL scholars, AMWA EVOLVE graduates, and Korn Ferry Leadership U participants.

In her final remark as outgoing AMWA president, Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber expressed appreciation for the collective work of all the AMWA divisions and anticipation of future advocacy efforts on behalf of women physicians and for women’s health. 

Incoming President Dr. Elizabeth Garner shared her unconventional path to medicine starting as a refugee of the Nigerian war. Regarding her vision for AMWA, she stated, “It’s an exciting time to be the president of AMWA! We are making great progress on our mission to improve the lives of women physicians and our patients thanks to all the hard work of my predecessors, AMWA leaders, and of course, our amazing members. I look forward to contributing to AMWA’s continued growth and impact.”

Message from President Biden to the American Medical Women's Assocation


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