AMWA’s history is rich with exceptionally brilliant and dedicated volunteers. We exist and persist because of the energy, ideas and commitment of those who have believed in and exemplified the power of community engagement. Learn about the inspiring story of women physicians in WWI, who felt so passionate about serving their country, that despite refusal of commissioned status by the military, they went abroad anyway to serve in areas ravaged by war. In Olga Stastny’s words, “I want to get to France, even if I have to scrub floors!” AMWA was one of two women’s groups to send hospital units to France – and that program, the American Women’s Hospitals Service continues to provide support for humanitarian aid today, most recently helping to raise funds for COVID-19 relief and the people of Afghanistan.
Today, women physician volunteers in AMWA are continuing to forge change locally, nationally and globally. They are chairing committees, advocating for better patient care, mentoring students, and stepping up whenever the need arises. Our volunteers have helped to set our course, to lead and mentor others. They bring influence and connections to bear, driving positive changes in healthcare. Our premedical and medical student volunteers bring fresh perspectives and push us to expand our vision. Through the multitude of opportunities within AMWA, they practice their engagement and leadership skills, develop meaningful career connections, and often make stunning contributions to AMWA and the field of medicine.
Thank you to every one of our volunteers. From our national physician leadership, to our regional and local leaders, our residency, medical school and premed leaders, to committee members, non-physician supporters, interns and opportunistic and informal volunteers who contribute to our work in even the smallest ways: each of you is special, each of you matter, each of you is making a difference. You are our legacy, just as much as founding president, Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen and the eleven other women who together in 1915 laid the foundation for the beginning of AMWA. Ours is the story about the legacy of service by women in medicine.
For more about the role of volunteerism in America, read President Biden’s inspiring Proclamation on National Volunteer Week, 2022. As you read, know that AMWA volunteers exemplify the best-of-the-best — we are caring for the caretakers, driving awareness of inequities and helping to right them, and improving policies for women, which will ultimately improve healthcare for all in this country.
Thank you again for all you do.
Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH
AMWA Executive Director