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Diversity and Inclusion at AMWA

Join us for our next Quarterly Call on November 26, 2018 at 8pm CST

Conference Number(s): 712-451-0689
Participant Code: 102788
Please email to sign up.

About Us

A Message from Our Chief

Welcome to AMWA’s Section of Diversity and Inclusion (D & I) webpage. We are an evolving and constantly innovative section at AMWA, as we process change, development, and transformation, not only within the work of the Section, but also in our other initiatives within and outside of AMWA. Officially instituted by AMWA in 2014 we have experienced numerous successes, thanks to a strong, and supportive Board of Directors, highly motivated and talented staff and leadership team.

As a Section, our diversity values are:

  • A diverse AMWA membership and leadership team,
  • A women’s health-centered organization that acknowledges members and leaders from multiple healthcare organizations, stakeholders, students and residents focusing on their success as a top priority
  • The pursuit of knowledge and applicability of this knowledge through diverse traditions and inclusive efforts
  • Accountability and action towards the success and management of diversity
  • A welcoming environment that encourages diversity and inclusion of ideas, continuous personal and professional growth and academic attainment for all AMWA members and their partners
  • Engagement and collaboration across difference
  • A focus on INCLUSIVE excellence in everything that we do

Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, AMWA

Mission Statement

AMWA is dedicated to increasing the participation and fostering the leadership of women and minorities within the organization and in the broader medical community. Consistent with our founding principles, we recognize that our newly trained physicians and patients that we serve are from increasingly diverse ethnic backgrounds and communities. We actively promote a diverse culture through chapters and programs to a diverse group of pre medical, allied health and STEM students, medical students and residents and are committed to mentoring, training, professional development and community and public service programs. We are proud to have diverse professionals at all levels, from our Chief Diversity Officer, our Board of Directors and Executive Director to our resident and student leadership.

The charge of the Diversity and Inclusion (D & I) Section of AMWA is to guide leadership in implementing strategies to increase, enhance and sustain diversity and inclusion within the organization and serve as the primary advisory body to the organization’s chapters and other affinity groups. Our members are encouraged to actively participate in all of AMWA’s activities and programming that include the Gender Equity Task Force, the Advocacy Committee, Mentoring Task Force and program activities at the AMWA Annual Meeting.

We encourage all members to expand their involvement and advocacy at all levels by:


  • Identifying emerging issues and concerns of women in medicine and health;
  • Exchanging relevant information between the AMWA-D and I Section to the AMA-Women Physician Section (WPS) and the Associate partner organizations;
  • Participate in efforts to advance women into leadership positions that promote diversity and inclusion in medicine and
  • Implement programming and activities with partner organizations to enhance their programming of D and I healthcare and medical Initiatives.

Read about the AMWA D and I Section announcement here

Connect with us!

AMWA National Office

National AMWA Office
1100 E. Woodfield Rd.
Suite 350
Schaumburg IL 60173
Phone: (847) 517-2801

Social Media

Email_IconChief Diversity Officer: Dr. Neelum Aggarwal

Pre-medical Student Chairs: Isabel Kats & Emma Fleisher

                   Medical Student Chairs: Gabriella M. Reyes, MerryJean Losso

Resident Chair: Dr. Dahima Cintron-Lopez

TwitterbirdAMWA Diversity on Twitter

instagram @AMWA_diversity

Heritage Months

Throughout the year the Diversity & Inclusion members celebrate these following heritage months and highlight programs of interest to our members. We encourage our members to email us, tweet us, or post on Facebook about their activities and send us updates so we can highlight these activities in AMWA’s Newsflash and Connections publications.

  •  February – Black History Month
  •  May – Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
  • September/October – Hispanic Heritage Month 
  • November – National Native American Heritage Month

Pre-Medical, Medical, Residents & Physicians – Get Involved!

The Diversity and Inclusion Section is organized into three (3) sub committees, each of which has a physician, resident and student chair that work together to achieve the committee goals.

Racial and Ethnic Diversity Subcommittee

This subcommittee identifies health policy issues affecting minorities, develops initiatives to promote the success of minorities in the field of medicine, and works to create an environment best suited to capitalize on the strengths of AMWA’s minority physician, resident and student members.

Members of AMWA including Susan Ivey, PhD, a past AMWA President and Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD, AMWA’s Chief Diversity Officer were proud to serve on the AMA Commission to End Health Disparities. The Commission to End Health Care Disparities, was established in 2004 by the American Medical Association and the National Medical Association, and the National Hispanic Medical Association in response to the Institute of Medicine’s report “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care”. Read more about how the Commission started here. Read more about the importance of collecting Race/ Ethnicity and Language data in Ambulatory Settings here . Read more about Promoting appropriate use of physicians’ non-English language skills in clinical care here. Read more about the importance of Social Determinants of Health,Global issues and Health Equity from the WHO here. Presentations and key reports from the work of the Commission can be found on our members only page (coming soon!)


Theme: Research

Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

County: Life, Death, and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital by David Ansell, MD

The Death Gap by David Ansell, MD

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Subcommittee

The LGBTQ Subcommittee helps the organization foster an inclusive environment for physicians, residents, and students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender by providing educational and mentorship opportunities and supporting organizations that work toward equal rights for LGBTQ individuals and families in the broader community.

Byne, W. (2017). Sustaining Progress Toward LGBT Health Equity: A Time for Vigilance,Advocacy, and Scientific Inquiry. Access the paper here.


Lesbian Health 101: A Clinician’s Guide by Suzanne L. Dibble, RN and Patricia A. Robertson, MD

Military and Veteran Affairs Subcommittee

The committee provides the cultural connect for those who have served and continue to serve our country, through peer support, mentoring, team building, and other methods of engagement to learn how military service informs clinical practice and research. Check out our webpage here.

For more information on the National Veteran Equity Report click here

Mankowski, Mariann, and Joyce E. Everett. “Women service members, veterans, and their families: What we know now.” Nurse education today(2016). Access the paper here


Coming soon

Summer Research Externships

The Section on D & I is further developing its Summer Externship program based in Chicago. Presently, in partnership with the Rush Heart Center For Women,  AMWA pre-medical students and medical students take part in ongoing summer research projects in addition to developing research projects for presentation at the Annual National AMWA meeting, Women Physician Congress meeting in Washington, DC and the annual Rush Research Forum.

AMWA Pre Medical Students and National D & I Premedical Student Chairs, Isabel Kats and Emma Fleischer were the inaugural students accepted in to the Summer Externship program in 2017.

They developed the RHCW Summer Internship Newsletter that chronicled their time with us at the Center.  Check out the Newsletters here

MerryJean (MJ) Losso, AMWA National Student member, attended the AMWA Region 6 conference in Chicago and worked with Isabel, Emma and the RHCW on community projects and returned to Chicago to work with the RHCW team later in the school year. She interviewed Dr. Anitha Rao, a Chicago based entrepreneur.

Want to apply for the 2 slots in 2019? The application checklist includes:

  • Contact information for your project team (one Principal Investigator /Lead Investigator)
  • 2 page CV’s for each investigator
  • A brief description of the PI/Lead Investigator’s research interests
  • Project Summary document, 1 page maximum (PDF recommended)
  • Proposal Narrative document, 3 pages maximum (PDF recommended)

Submit your application to


Brain Health is Women’s Health: Dr. Katherine Tynus, Dr. Neelum Aggarwal, Dr. Theresa Rohr-Krichgraber and Dr. Kimberly Templeton

Chicago’s AMWA leaders participate in the Go Red luncheon:
February 2018









The Diversity & Inclusion programming database is designed to present the names, expert abilities, skills and contact information of minority- and women-owned medical and healthcare practices, businesses, and startups to AMWA members who are actively seeking a more inclusive environment in their practices, work or initiatives.

A. AMWA Partners with the Women Against Alzheimer’s Disease (WAAD) Network to Raise Awareness About the Impact of Women and AD on Families and Caregiving

Listen to important testimony given Washington, DC here

We Won’t Wait

Fact Sheet 

Women & Dementia – A Global Challenge

AMWA Leadership participating at the “Out  of the Shadow’s Dinner” in Washington DC

Learn more here

Watch previous Out of the Shadows Dinner footage here.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s 2016 National Summit and Out of the Shadows Dinner from The Carlin Company.

B. Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Trials — Why it Matters for Women

How to Engage, Recruit, and Retain Women in Clinical Research — Dr. Clayton

NIH Outreach Toolkit

Clinical Trials and Women

Women In Clinical Trials Fact Sheet 2016
How Sex and Gender Influence Health and Disease

SWHRSociety For Women’s Health Research Network

The Intersection of Sex and Gender, Neuroimaging Data and Medical Education as it relates to Alzheimer’s Disease

Newsletter  & SGME Poster — Gender differences in Alzheimer’s Disease onset and progression: Taking Research Findings and applying them to Medical Education

Road Map for Innovation in Women from the FDA : Access it here

C. AMWA member — Dr. Nancy Church, talks about Innovation in Medicine


D. AMWA Supports Tech Sector


E. AMWA Supports Medical Sign Language

This website was created by an AMWA Pre-Medical Leader, Ashley Barker, out of the passion for reducing the disparity that is existing between the hearing world and the deaf/hard-of-hearing world. It is targeted toward medical professionals with a lack of knowledge of the deaf/hard of hearing community and American Sign Language. Individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing are often not considered as a minority. This website will serve as an aid for better communication and patient care.

F. AMWA Supports Walk with a Doc

This national program was brought to AMWA by past AMWA 2014-2015 National President Farzanna Haffizulla, MD FACP FAMWA. This unique opportunity demonstrates many of our core values at D&I. The concept is this: community members gather with local physicians in their own neighborhood to exercise! The program begins with a 5-10 minute teaching point from a doctor about a specific topic the community members are interested in learning more about, followed by 45 minutes of walking in the neighborhood at their own pace. Participants are able to interact with a doctor and healthcare team in a novel way all while demonstrate the importance of exercising, gathering with neighbors, and staying active. Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD and her healthcare team, host many local programs in Chicago. Walk with a Doc welcomes walkers of all ages and experience levels. We are currently looking to open chapters through AMWA in New Orleans, Louisiana, Boston, Massachusetts and Detroit, Michigan. Please let us know if you are a physician interested in participating.

G. AMWA Supports Victory Garden Theater

The AMWA Chicago Consortium has partnered with Victory Garden Theater for several plays and musicals. AMWA Leaders will lead panel discussions on stage. AMWA members can receive discounted tickets for attendance.

H. Diversity Dialogues

Diversity Dialogues is designed to give AMWA readers a glimpse into the lives of our talented colleagues who are driving their own unique paths in practice and study of medicine.  We hope you enjoy this quarterly series.

Education & Training

The Division of Diversity & Inclusion plans to offer several training opportunities, facilitated dialogues, workshops, and podcasts to assist initiatives and interested parties develop diversity and inclusion within their areas.
These programs are offered on a quarterly basis and are open to all members of AMWA and led by our Section members. We will make every attempt to include our wide network of physicians in the space to share their expertise and experience in their fields.

Below is a list of our current offerings and areas of expertise:

  • Cultural Competency Series
    • Part I: Leadership Fitness & Multicultural Teams
    • Part II: Cultural Competency Basics & Awareness
    • Part III: Understanding Unconscious Biases
  • Managing in Diverse Environments
  • Creating an Inclusive Environment for Better Leadership

D & I Perspective on Global Education

For women to attain excellence in global leadership and competitiveness in STEMM fields, AMWA must become a leader in this area, and explore the intersection of diversity and its impact on future success in STEMM.  African-American, Latino and Native American women are underrepresented amongst STEM fields and medicine.

innovation lightbulbThe Section has begun collaborative efforts with STEMM organizations and health incubators, with the goals to increase the diversity of higher education in STEM fields through a variety of initiatives, supporting the education and professional advancement of highly talented women from underrepresented groups. Two programs presently under development include:

  1. Establishing a STEMM student academy to increase awareness of opportunities in STEMM  (internships, study/work at incubators/ healthcare startups, career, conferences, and research);
  2. Establishing opportunities for women in STEMM to network with AMWA members and exchange ideas regarding healthcare innovation.

Here are some examples of opportunities to link up with the AMWA D & I Innovation Lead:

  • WeTechUP — TechUP seek women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, veterans, and people who live with a disability to engage in technology initiatives.
  • Women in Bio — Mentorship & Sponsorship in LifeSciences & Innovation
  • Innovation Ecosystems – Chicago

We hope to provide awareness and resources to inspire and educate the next generation of entrepreneurs and physicians. We are not going to just inspire those in STEMM but also link them to key people in sectors to inspire and create new solutions. The Section has already collaborated with Health and Technology Innovation/ Incubators and Accelerators throughout the US. Under the leadership of our AMWA member, and Innovation Lead: Dima Elissa, a Chicago based CEO Vis Med-3D, healthcare innovator, this program is poised to bring network resources together in one, centralized gateway through AMWA. Presently, the Midwest network provides a broad healthcare community that will facilitate commitments from AMWA partners and members to accelerate access to the resources entrepreneurs need to vet and prove their concepts.  In addition, the Women in STEMM program will create a platform for both professional mentorship and sponsorship of innovations in healthcare.

Check out the Road Map for Innovation in Women from the FDA

Got an Innovative idea? Need to pair up with a tech professional? Contact us!

Research and Scholarship Grant Assistance

The Section collaborates and/or provides support to its members with research, scholarship and grant proposals and works with D & I members to make sure that their proposals have a D & I perspective focusing on the inclusion of men/women in analyses, separately reporting out analyses and interpretation of data as it relates to D & I core components. Read more about NIH guidelines here about Sex and Gender reporting in Research here:

Poster and Research Conducted by D &I Members

Data and Reports

S T E M MThe Section of Diversity, and Inclusion is working with our partners in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) to develop an Assessment & Research Core (ARC), to gather data for interpretation and reporting, as it relates to diversity and inclusion topics. ARC is planning to conduct annual assessments that align with the Section’s mission, goals, and objectives.

ARC will engage all AMWA Committees and its members in ongoing review of diversity assessments. The Project Leaders for ARC will provide support to the Chief Diversity Officer in various tasks related to diversity assessment, strategy planning, and research management. If you are interested in participating in ARC please contact

D & I Scorecard

AMWA’s Diversity and Inclusion Scorecard is a document for tracking and disseminating the status of the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion goals, over time. It also provides the criteria for evaluating the organization’s progress toward closing gaps in D and I initiatives. The Scorecard is completed yearly and is being developed for 2017.

AMWA D & I Progress Report

In preparation

Diversity Scorecard Report

In preparation


Diversity and Inclusion Section Cultural Cookbook in Honor of the Centennial Meeting — Chicago 2015

  • The cultural cookbook has over 100 cultural recipes as well as informative food articles on the history of traditional foods and ways to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. All the recipes and articles have been submitted by AMWA members and partners and MWIA members. If you missed purchasing a delicious piece of AMWA history at the meeting or just wanted more copies to give to family and friends as a gift, please click here to purchase the book. This cookbook is something that everyone can enjoy!
  • Health Disparities-Related Organizations
  • Public Engagement and Clinical TrialsAccess it here
  • Minority Women in STEMMAccess it here
  • Clinical Trials and DisparitiesAccess it here

Student Away Rotation

  • December 2018
    Fourth year medical student, MerryJean Losso, of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine completed the first AMWA Clinical Research Elective in Chicago at Rush University Medical Center with Dr. Neelum Aggarwal.