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AMWA Student Wins SUNY Downstate Women in Medicine Essay Contest

In honor of September’s “Women in Medicine” month, the AMWA chapter at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, N.Y. organized a number of events to celebrate with the student body. These included weekly profiles of pioneering female physicians, a virtual movie night, and an online roundtable with former female surgeons general. In the spirit of this important month, an essay contest was held where students in the College of Medicine were asked to write a short piece about a female physician who has been a role model for their careers and represents the ideals of medicine. Three faculty members served as judges; Dr. Marianna Markell, Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education and Director of Transplant Nephrology; Dr. Christina Pardo, Professor of OBGYN and Director of Division of Health Equity; and Dr. Isabel McFarlane, Rheumatologist and Medicine Clerkship Director. The judges anonymously selected the winning essay, and the student was granted a $100 cash prize. 

Meet the Winner, Fradah Gold

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Where did you complete your undergraduate education? What did you study? 

I graduated from Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Brooklyn with an Honors Bachelor of Science in Psychology, minoring in Chemistry and Health & Nutrition Sciences.

Specialty/potential specialty:

I am interested in Ophthalmology, a beautiful synthesis of both medical and surgical care that plays a significant role in quality of life. I find it fascinating how the eyes can provide insight into multiple body systems.

What is your favorite memory in medical school so far? 

One of my favorite memories is studying with friends in the Gross Anatomy lab during various hours of the day – quizzing each other, demonstrating actions of different muscles, and sharing funny mnemonics.

Who was your favorite professor in medical school and why?

In addition to numerous professors who shared their passions for their area of study or practice during lectures, one of my favorite small-group facilitators include Dr. Eva Cramer. Dr. Cramer’s wonderful explanations during our first remote Histology sessions enhanced my knowledge of the presentation of various histological slides and also facilitated my understanding of the underlying mechanisms of several pathologies.

What inspired you to enter the essay contest?

Throughout September, SUNY Downstate’s AMWA chapter gave us the opportunity to read about a multitude of female physicians’ contributions to medicine in honor of Women in Medicine month. Upon writing my personal reflection, I wished to highlight the story of one humble female physician who may not be known internationally, but whose passion for lifelong learning and patient care continues to inspire me.

What virtues of the AMWA organization speak to you?

I value AMWA’s vision to provide inclusion, collaboration, and mentorship for women in medicine. Specifically, these key principles allow not only for the advancement of education, leadership, and wellness opportunities for medical students, residents, and physicians, but, most importantly, for the improvement in patients’ quality of healthcare.


The AMWA chapter at Downstate is comprised of a five-student e-board. The chapter seeks to host events that promote wellness, inclusivity, and advancement for female trainees. Past events have included resident panels, mentorship dinners, and a yoga and mindfulness session. Currently, a women-in-surgery panel is being planned alongside the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) club for November. 

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