American Medical Women's Association: The Vision and Voice of Women in Medicine

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The Vision and Voice of Women in Medicine ’ Celebrating 100 Years ’

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A Message from the Executive Director Dear Friends and Colleagues, As we celebrate the centennial of the American Medical Women’s Association, I cannot help but feel a deep sense of awe. What a privilege to be part of a century-old legacy of women in medicine, following in the footsteps of pioneer women physicians like Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen and Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy. As Alice Walker once wrote, “To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves, that the line stretches all the way back.” I had the privilege of visiting the home of our ancestor, Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen, on the occasion of what would have been her 150th birthday. The town of Rochester Hills, Michigan, is steeped in the history of the Van Hoosen family. Driving by the one-room schoolhouse where she studied, standing in her living room with the horse hair couch upon which she made the decision to study medicine, and peering at the artifacts in her office – including trinkets from past AMWA meetings – gave me a sense of connection to a time vastly different from the present day. What must it have been like in the late 19th century to pursue a field of study where women were not always welcome? Would I have had the courage to do the same, were I in her shoes more than 125 years ago? Yet, we have the honor of celebrating AMWA’s centennial because a cadre of women physicians in 1915 saw a need for unity and believed in the collective power of women, despite their minority status within the profession. How right they were. Time and again over the subsequent decades, AMWA was the vision and voice of women in medicine, standing up for issues of gender disparity, women’s health, and social injustice. Like any organization within medicine, this journey has not been without its challenges. But at each juncture, AMWA has been fortunate to have a faithful vanguard that has continued to ensure the organization’s growth and success with each passing year. I am grateful to the many leaders – past and present – who have devoted time, energy, and even financial resources to build AMWA into the organization it is today. Looking back over the past century, we can be proud of the seminal role that the association has played in advancing women’s health and improving the career satisfaction of women physicians. I doubt that even Dr. Bertha could have predicted the widespread impact of the organization that she founded. But even more than its initiatives or programs, AMWA’s greatest legacy lies in its people – the fellowship among women from diverse backgrounds, specialties, or ages and the rewards that come with mentoring the next generation of women physicians. These are the intangible values within AMWA that cannot be measured by numbers. And ultimately, these are the values that will be AMWA’s staying power for the next 100 years as we continue to advocate for the health of women, both as patients and providers.

With warmest regards,

Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH Executive Director American Medical Women’s Association




Congratulations on your 100 years of success. The American Medical Association celebrates the centennial of the American Medical Women’s Association and shares its strong support of women physicians and women’s health. As part of our commitment to improving the health of the nation, the AMA is using our expertise and influence to meet the evolving needs of physicians and patients now and for the next 100 years.


A Message from the Physician division As we herald in the centennial anniversary of the American Medical Women’s Association, we are proud of the momentum and drive forged by all of our leaders and members. AMWA membership is comprised of physicians, residents, medical students, and health care professionals and is the oldest multispecialty organization dedicated to advancing women in medicine and improving women’s health. We have diversified and strengthened our support of ongoing initiatives including the promotion of disease prevention, advocacy of sex- and gender-specific medicine, gender equality in leadership and careers, and awareness of the problem of human trafficking, to name a few. At this venerable time in AMWA’s history, we have diligently worked to form strategic alliances that further amplify our mission and vision. As an organization, we celebrate, embrace, and empower our members to refine and re-define opportunities to lead and make a difference in a manner that aligns with their passion, skill, and vision. Historically, women were restricted from the practice of medicine as physicians and in 1950 there were fewer women physicians than in 1900. The numbers have certainly improved, and as of 2008, women were 48 percent of the entering class of medical students. We still have a way to go to see those numbers translate into the dynamics of leadership both in the academic and health care arenas. Closing the gender gap for pay, promoting diversity in research, and achieving leadership positions will be some of the focuses of AMWA for the next 100 years and our hope is to achieve rapid, resounding success! AMWA started to support women physicians and to improve the health of women and their families, and the cause continues to be worthy and necessary. Being a part of this group, we understand the dedication of those who have gone before us and the need for us to continue to provide support, guidance, and empowerment to each other and the future generations of physicians and health care professionals.


Farzanna S. Haffizulla MD FACP FAMWA 2014-2015 President, American Medical Women’s Association

Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber MD FACP FAMWA 2015-2016 President, American Medical Women’s Association




A Message from the Resident Division What does the American Medical Women’s Association Resident Division have in common with Rhiannon Giddens, a North Carolinan classically-trained singer, violinist, banjo player, and founding member of the Grammy-winning country, blues, and old-time music band the Carolina Chocolate Drops? The better question would be, what don’t we have in common? We work together. Says Giddens, “I’m a very ensemble-oriented person. I love being in a group and I love working with other people …” In the AMWA RD, we collaborate on science, we create opportunities for our peers, we advocate together on behalf of our patients. We find community with each other in the midst of what can be both an isolating and exhausting time in residency. We mentor, and we are mentored. A dedicated student of American folk music written by women, Giddens asserts, “I know my history, and I know how fortunate I am ... I know what these women had to go through.” So do we revere the all-too-often unacknowledged women who paved the way for us in medicine. As more and more women come to medicine, we nonetheless are seeing more and more men lead the way. At AMWA, we are learning to lead, and we are being trained and mentored by the best. Furthermore, as residents, we celebrate those medical students on our heels and are excited to pass on what we’ve gleaned from our predecessors. As Gidden observes, “Politics doesn’t come into it for me; it’s really wanting to pay it forward.” We are called to leadership as a service. Giddens’ mom always said, “You never do anything for money, power or prestige.” So it is with the AMWA Resident Division. Busy as we are — working 16-hour days and caring for our families week after week, clocking in 30-hour shifts, and “vacationing” at professional conferences — we give our time, our knowledge, and our experience, because we value the gift of camaraderie, and we are inspired by our AMWA friends and colleagues. “What’s really interesting to me,” Ms. Giddens observes, “is to have a connection to what was going on in the past, but to make it a living thing. … These ladies, going out on the road, way before the opportunities and advantages that I have — it was absolutely rough out there. The fact that they were still able to get their art out there and do what they’re doing is really impressive to me.” Took the words right out of our mouths, Rhiannon. Kanani Titchen, MD Resident Division President 2013-2014 Tara Lynch, MD Resident Division President 2014-2015 Heather Brown, MD Resident Division President 2015-2016




messages FROM THE Student divisions AMWA Student Division

AMWA Pre-medical Student Division

The AMWA Student Division was founded in 1957 and represents wom-

The AMWA Pre-medical Student Division was

en medical students and graduate students nationwide. The overarching goals of

founded in 2014, and is exceptionally proud to have

the Student Division include promoting the advancement of women in medi-

successfully completed its inaugural year of pre-medi-

cine, building a diverse network of leaders, enhancing our community through

cal student leadership.

mentorship, and advocating for the betterment of health care for women.

This division was created in response to the out-

Our local AMWA Branches and Regional Directors work tirelessly year-round

standing work and leadership of pre-medical student

to host numerous events to promote AMWA’s mission and vision. Our branches

members within AMWA. This new division now boasts

host monthly mentorship dinners with physicians, seminars and symposiums on

a 77 percent increase in membership since its incep-

women’s health issues, local drives and fundraisers for community shelters, and

tion and will be broadening this following year to in-

awareness campaigns for issues such as domestic violence and human trafficking.

clude an expanded leadership board for enhanced op-

Every year, the Student Division is honored to award several scholarships

portunities for national pre-medical student leadership.

to exceptional AMWA leaders. To highlight a few, the Linda Brodsky MD Es-

With greater participation and increasing membership

say Award is presented for an outstanding narrative about a mentor who has

numbers, the Pre-medical Student Division was able

inspired and encouraged an AMWA student to become a physician. The Heller

to begin to offer pre-medical student scholarships this

Outstanding Branch award recognizes an AMWA student branch that has made

year, with a goal of increased award recognition for pre-

extraordinary strides in their local community. Each year, four Anne C. Carter

medical students in the upcoming award cycle.

Global Health Fellowships are appointed to provide support for students pas-

Pre-medical students also took strong initiative this

sionate about the betterment of health care outside of our borders. The annual

year to become leaders of various National AMWA

meeting is also an opportunity to extend over 100 awards to AMWA students,

Committees, succeeding in prominent leadership roles

from the Young Women in Science Awards for outstanding research, to travel

alongside medical student and physician leaders.

grants to subsidize the cost of national meeting attendance.

To mark the start of the next century of AMWA

Our large national presence allows us to aid our members by partnering with

leadership, the Pre-medical Student Division would

other organizations for tools on career development, test preparation, and schol-

like to extend an invitation to all of its members.

arship support. Our current partners include: the American Medical Student

This year, the division asks all pre-medical students

Association (AMSA), the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA),

to work together to not only establish new local

Child Family Health International (CFHI), Kaplan, McGraw-Hill, Maxwell

branches, but also to further enhance the promotion

Guides, Canopy Medical Translator App, Blue Sky Scrubs, DrSmarts, Inquarta,

of membership, the development of new pre-medical

KISSPrep, and Cram Fighter. Our national network also provides the Bed &

student programming, and the continuation of cohe-

Breakfast Program for overnight hosting of AMWA members who are travelling

sive community building to enrich our already strong

for interviews or scientific meetings.

network. Specifically, together we aim to achieve: an

The AMWA Student Division membership has increased by 13 percent this

increase of national membership by 25 percent, the

past year and continues to grow powerfully. Student co-chairs have been strong

establishment of counseling and advising for mem-

leaders on nearly all national AMWA committees, students have co-authored

bers before applying to medical school, and the cre-

papers with physicians on important issues such as Breast Cancer Awareness

ation of a new Pre-medical Student Branch in every

and Gender Equity, and students even represented AMWA at the White House

state. We know that hand in hand, the Pre-medical

this year to advocate for the health care enrollment of young women. Together

Student Division can boast boundless growth as we

this division continues to exceed expectations by the tireless work of medical

make a difference in students’ lives and guide each

students nationwide. We thank you for your commitment and welcome you to

and every member along to a successful medical ca-

another incredible year with the AMWA Student Division.

reer. To all present and future members of AMWA, we thank you for your dedication and passion.

Jackie Wong, AMWA Student President 2014-2015

Jennie Luu,

Fatima Fahs, AMWA Student President 2015-2016

AMWA Pre-medical Student President 2015-2016



Dear Esteemed AMWA Colleagues,

rc Ci


Dr. Van Hoosen, a Michigan native, graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in 1884 and a medical degree in 1888. She then completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston. During her time at the U-M Medical School, Dr. Van Hoosen recognized the prejudice that women faced entering the field of medicine, which led to her dedication to women’s health issues and the advancement of women as medical professionals. Many years later (in 1915), feeling isolated in the maledominated American Medical Association, she founded and became the first president of the AMWA.

18 88

This year marks the centennial celebration of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). While many influential women have advanced AMWA’s mission, today we honor the pioneer who made this organization’s success possible: Bertha Van Hoosen, M.D.

The U-M Medical School was among the first medical institutions in the country to admit women. The first female medical school graduate received her degree in 1871. Today, women make up half of the U-M Medical School classes. Dr. Van Hoosen’s legacy lives on at the University of Michigan, not only in the proportion of women graduates from the medical school and their professional achievements, but also in the longstanding influence of the U-M chapter of AMWA. AMWA at Michigan strives to continue what our influential alumna, Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen, started — inspiring women to pursue careers in medicine, and enhancing their presence and impact on the profession. We extend congratulations to the AMWA on 100 years of dedication to women medical professionals.

19 48



rc Ci

The faculty, staff, students and alumni of the University of Michigan Medical School

TABLE OF CONTENTS The Vision and Voice of Women in Medicine Celebrating 100 Years

Published by Faircount Media Group 701 N. West Shore Blvd. Tampa, FL 33609 Tel: 813.639.1900 EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Chuck Oldham Consulting Editor: Eliza Lo Chin Managing Editor: Ana E. Lopez Editor: Rhonda Carpenter Contributing Writers: Anne Barlow, David A. Brown, Eliza Lo Chin, Craig Collins, Claudia Morrissey Conlon, Charles Dervarics Gail Gourley, Ellen S. More, Laurel Waters,Tara N. Wilfong DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Art Director: Robin K. McDowall Designers: Daniel Mrgan, Kenia Y. Perez-Ayala Ad Traffic Manager: Rebecca Laborde ADVERTISING Ad Sales Manager: Ken Meyer Account Executives: Jim Huston, Bonnie Schneider Brooke Walton, Geoffrey Weiss OPERATIONS AND ADMINISTRATION Chief Operating Officer: Lawrence Roberts VP, Business Development: Robin Jobson Business Development: Damion Harte Financial Controller: Robert John Thorne Chief Information Officer: John Madden Business Analytics Manager: Colin Davidson Events Manager: Jim Huston FAIRCOUNT MEDIA GROUP Publisher, North America: Ross Jobson Publisher, Europe: Peter Antell Photos used in the centennial graphic on the cover were provided by the Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA; taken by Mary Ellen Morrow; or submitted by AMWA members. Photo of Eliza Lo Chin by G. Paul Bishop. Centennial graphic on cover designed and produced by Mary Ellen Morrow Special thanks

Karen Ernst, Margaret Graham Matt Herbison, Michael Kivetz, Mary Ellen Morrow Vanessa Moy, Joanne Murray, Chrissie Perella, and all those who gave their time to be interviewed for this publication.

1 messages from amwa leadership 9 AMWA Leaders and logos through the years

10 100 Years of AMWA Presidents 14 amwa awards 16 A Century in Photos 26 The American Medical Women’s Association and the Role of the Woman Physician, 1915-1990 By Ellen S. More, PhD

45 The American Medical Women’s

Association as the Vision and Voice of Women in Medicine 1990-2015

By Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH, FACP, Laurel Waters, MD, FCAP, FASCP, and Claudia Morrissey Conlon, MD, MPH

56 The Anatomy of AMWA A look at the organization’s committees, working groups, and task forces

60 AMWA Publications 62 AMWA Panels Address the Needs of Current and Future Physicians By Charles Dervarics

66 On a Mission to Improve Women’s Health

AMWA efforts to address health issues that affect women By Gail Gourley

72 The Power of Leadership As the premier women’s medical organization, the American Medical Women’s Association provides female physicians, residents, and students with support and encouragement through networking, mentoring, and leadership programs. By Tara N. Wilfong

76 the fellowship of women physicians Through their combined efforts, members of the American Medical Women’s Association band together to bring awareness to the many issues affecting health and medicine today. By Tara N. Wilfong

78 beyond our borders By Craig Collins


©Copyright Faircount LLC and AMWA. All rights reserved. Reproduction of editorial content in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Faircount LLC and AMWA do not assume responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made therein, nor the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Reproduction of articles and photos, in whole or in part contained herein, is prohibited without express written consent of the publisher, with the exception of reprinting for news media use. Printed in the United States of America.

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AMWA Leaders and Logos Through the Years Executive Directors 1952-1962 – Lillian T. Majally (Executive Secretary) 1962-1963 – Jessie Laird Brodie, MD 1964-1966 – Gertrude F. Conroy (Business Manager) 1966-1974 – Gertrude F. Conroy 1975-1982 – Lorraine Loesel 1982-1988 – Carol Davis-Grossman 1988-2002 – Eileen McGrath 2003 – Marie Glanz (Interim Executive Director) 2003-2008 – Linda D. Hallman 2008-2011 – Lindsay Groff 2011-2012 – Elizabeth Franks 2012 – Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH and Diane Helentjaris, MD 2012-2015 – Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH

Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA –

Resident Division Presidents 2010-2011 – Elmira Basaly, MD & Lauren Sparber, MD 2011-2012 – Dani Barnes, MD 2012-2013 – Mary Romero, MD 2013-2014 – Kanani Titchen, MD 2014-2015 – Tara Renna, MD 2015-2016 – Heather Leisy, MD Student Division Presidents (National Student Coordinators) 1982-1983 – Suzanne Hall and Marilyn Sanders (Student Representatives) 1983-1984 – Gloria Kardon and Ruth Smith 1984-1985 – Laura Helfman and Karen Harris 1985-1986 – Janet Shiley and Linda Brzustowicz 1986-1987 – Lisa Benson and Mary Mancewicz 1987-1988 – Mary Bongiovi and Tien-Bao Chao 1988-1989 – Gerrie Gardner and Katherine Schneider 1989-1990 – Katherine Schneider and Karen Parko 1990-1991 – Frida Hulka and Julie Zimmerman 1991-1992 – Flora Danque and Jennifer Tutour 1992-1993 – Sofia Ali and Rachel Curtis 1993-1994 – Rose Baghdady and Kristen Savola

1994-1995 – Jennifer Allen Elliott and Jen Schroeder 1995-1996 – Melissa Merideth and Elizabeth Skirm 1996-1997 – Louise Davis and Arielle Stanford 1997-1998 – Ellie Hirshberg and Tanya Warwick 1998-1999 – Seema Kumbhat and Heather Williams 2000-2001 – Rose Cohen and Anjali Kumar 2001-2002 – Ayesha Khalid and Jackie Nichols 2002-2003 – Gillian Baty and Allison Dean 2003-2004 – Gillian Baty and Dawn Ogawa 2004-2005 – Sarah Friedman and Natalie Gallant 2005-2006 – Susie Skaff Hagen 2006-2007 – Elizabeth Shurell 2007-2008 – Shayna Norman 2008-2009 – Neeta Varshney 2009-2010 – Misty Richards 2010-2011 – Ashley Styczynski 2011-2012 – Adrienne Clark 2012-2013 – Linda Wang 2013-2014 – Marissa Orenstein 2014-2015 – Jacqueline Wong 2015-2016 – Fatima Fahs Pre-medical Division Presidents 2015-2016 – Jennie Luu JAMWA Editors 1946-1948 – Elise S. L’Esperancce, MD 1949-1952 – Ada Chree Reid, MD 1953-1957 – Eugenia Geib, MD 1957-1962 – Frieda Baumann, MD 1963-1971 – Camille Mermod, MD 1972-1977 – Naomi M. Kanof, MD 1978-1981 – M. Irene Ferrer, MD 1982-1994 – Kathryn E. McGoldrick, MD 1994-2002 – Wendy Chavkin, MD, MPH 2003-2005 – Bonnie J. Dattel, MD

1986 1947 1931


1939 1990s






Bertha Van Hoosen 1915-18

Angenette Parry 1918-19

Etta Gray 1919-20

Martha Tracy 1920-21

Elizabeth Bass 1921-22

Grace Kimball 1922-23

Kate Campbell Hurd-Mead 1923-24

Katherine C. Manion 1924-25

Anna E. Blount 1925-26

Frances E. Rose 1926-27

Elizabeth B. Thelberg 1927-28

Louise Tayler-Jones 1928-29

Ellen C. Potter 1929-30

Olga Statsny 1930-31

L. Rosa H. Gantt 1931-32

Esther Pohl Lovejoy 1932-33

Mary O’Malley 1933-34

Lena K. Sadler 1934-35

S. Josephine Baker 1935-36

Catharine MacFarlane 1936-37

Mabel M. Akin 1937-38

Kate B. Karpeles 1938-39

Nelle S. Nobel 1939-40

Elizabeth Mason-Hohl 1940-41

Emily D. Barringer 1941-42



Past presidents photos were provided by the Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA; taken by Mary Ellen Morrow; or submitted by AMWA members. Photo of Eliza Lo Chin by G. Paul Bishop.



Helena T. Ratterman 1942-43

Zoe A. Johnston 1943-44

Alice S. Wooley 1944-45

Kate Savage Zerfoss 1945-46

Helen Johnston 1946-47

Mabel E. Gardner 1947-48

Elise S. L’Esperance 1948-49

Dorothy Wells Atkinson 1949-50

Elizabeth Waugh 1950-51

Amey Chappell 1951-52

Evangeline Stenhouse 1952-53

Judith Ahlem 1953-54

Camille Mermod 1954-55

Esther C. Marting 1955-56

Camille Mermod 1956-57

Elizabeth S. Kahler 1957-58

Katherine W. Wright 1958-59

Jessie L. Brodie 1959-60

Claire F. Ryder 1960-61

Edith P. Brown 1961-62

Ruth Hartgraves 1962-63

Rose Lee Nemir 1963-64

Bernice Sachs 1964-65

Margaret J. Schneider 1965-66

Elizabeth McGrew 1966-67




Alice Chenoweth 1967-68

Laura E. Morrow 1968-69

Josephine E. Renshaw 1969-70

Minerva S. Buerk 1970-71

Frances K. Harding 1971-72

Ruth Fleming 1972-73

Margaret P. Sullivan 1973-74

Carolyn S. Pincock 1974-75

Catherine Anthony 1975-76

Claudine M. Gay 1976-77

Charlotte Kerr 1977-78

A. Lois Scully 1978-79

Joanne Linn 1979-80

Vivian Harlin 1980-81

Christine Haycock 1981-82

Anne Barlow Ramsay 1982-83

Lila Kroser 1983-84

Clair Callan 1984-85

Constance Battle 1985-86

Mary Jane England 1986-87

Doris Bartuska 1987-88

Lila Wallis 1988-89

Susan Stewart 1989-90

Roselyn Epps 1990-91

Lillian Gonzalez-Pardo 1991-92




Leah Dickstein 1992-93

Kathryn C. Bemmann 1993-94

Diana Dell 1994-95

Jean Fourcroy 1995-96

Debra Judelson 1996-97

Sharyn Lenhart 1997-98

Clarita Herera 1998-99

Catherine Henry 1999-2000

Omega C. Logan Silva 2000-02

Elinor Christiansen 2002-03

Lynn Epstein 2003-04

Diane Helentjaris 2004-05

Carolyn Webber 2005-06

Susan Ivey 2006-07

Diana Galindo 2007-08

Claudia Morrissey Conlon 2008-09

Beatrice S. Desper 2009-10

Eliza Lo Chin 2010-11

Mary Guinan 2011-12

Gayatri Devi 2012-13

Eleni Tousimis 2013-14

Farzanna S. Haffizulla 2014-15

Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber 2015-16





Each year, AMWA honors the outstanding contributions of women in medicine through the presentation of several different awards.

Elizabeth Blackwell Medal Initiated in 1949 by Elise S. L’Esperance, MD, this award is granted to a woman physician who has made the most outstanding contribution to the cause of women in the field of medicine. (Prior to 1993, this was a member award.) 1949 Mary Riggs Noble, MD 1950 Bertha Van Hoosen, MD 1951 Esther Pohl Lovejoy, MD 1952 Catharine Macfarlane, M 1953 Elizabeth Bass, MD 1954 Mabel E. Gardner, MD 1955 Elise S. L’Esperance, MD 1956 Evangeline S. Stenhouse, MD 1957 Esther Pohl Lovejoy, MD 1958 Ada Chree Reid, MD 1959 Helen F. Schrack, MD 1960 Nelle Sparks Noble, MD 1961 Elizabeth Kittredge, MD 1962 Judith Emmelia Ahlem, MD 1963 Elizabeth S. Waugh, MD 1964 Helena T. Ratterman, MD 1965 Camille Mermod, MD 1966 Esther C. Marting, MD 1967 Amey Chappell, MD 1968 Margaret J. Schneider, MD 1969 Katharine W. Wright, MD 1970 Rosa Lee Nemir, MD 1971 Frieda Bauman, MD 1972 Alma Dea Morani, MD 1973 Alice Drew Chenoweth, MD 1974 Laura E. Morrow, MD 1975 Ruth Hartgraves, MD 1976 Claire F. Ryder, MD 1977 Eva P. Dodge, MD Edith P. Brown, MD 1978 Minerva S. Buerk, MD 1979 Bernice C. Sachs, MD 1980 Ann P.D. Manton, MD 1981 Mathilda R. Vaschak, MD 1982 Helen B. Taussig, MD 1983 Clara Raven, MD 1984 Charlotte H. Kerr, MD Helen M. Caldicott, MD 1985 Carol C. Nadelson, MD 1986 Luella Klein, MD 1987 A. Lois Scully, MD 1988 Claudine M. Gay, MD 1989 Helen O. Dickens, MD 1990 Lila A. Wallis, MD 1991 Anne L. Barlow, MD 1992 Roselyn Payne Epps, MD Jane E. Hodgson, MD 1993 Yoshiye Togasaki, MD


1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Anne H. Flitcraft, MD Vivian W. Pinn, MD Elizabeth W. Karlin, MD LeClair Bissell, MD Leah J. Dickstein, MD Tina Strobos, MD Lila Stein Kroser, MD Nanette Kass Wenger, MD Jeanne Spurlock, MD Olga Jonasson, MD Joanne Lynn, MD Mary Jane England, MD Sarah S. Donaldson, MD, FACR Patricia Joy Numann, MD Debra R. Judelson, MD Elinor Christiansen, MD Nancy Nielson, MD Linda H. Clever, MD, MACP Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD Luanne Thorndyke, MD Kimberly Templeton, MD Mary Guinan, PhD, MD Mae C. Jemison, MD

Bertha Van Hoosen Award Named in honor of the founder and first president of AMWA, this award honors a woman physician who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to AMWA. 1990 Constance U. Battle, MD 1991 Susan C. Stewart, MD 1992 Rita R. Newman, MD 1993 Mary Ann Cromer, MD 1994 Kathryn E. McGoldrick, MD 1995 Janet Rose Osuch, MD 1996 Suzanne Allen Widrow, MD Marjorie Braude, MD 1997 Christine E. Haycock, MD 1998 Elinor T. Christiansen, MD 1999 Anita Johnson, MD 2000 Michele H. Bloch, MD 2002 Estherina Shems, MD 2003 Wendy Chavkin, MD 2004 Anne E. Bernstein, MD 2004 Clair M. Callan, MD 2005 Lesly T. Mega, M.D. 2006 Satty Gill Keswani, MD 2007 Susan L. Ivey, MD, MHSA 2008 Omega C. Logan Silva, MD, MACP 2009 Roberta Rubin, MD 2010 Anne Barlow Ramsay, MD Claudia S. Morrissey, MD, MPH 2011 Beatrice Sachs, MD 2012 Clarita Herrera, MD 2013 Diane Galindo, MD

2014 Linda Brodsky, MD 2015 Roberta Gebhard, DO President’s Recognition Award This award recognizes the achievements and contributions of outstanding individuals. 1993 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman – Beth Sullivan, Producer Anne C. Carter, MD Carolyn B. Robinowitz, MD Mary Jane England, MD Carol C. Nadelson, MD Janet Bickel Jeanne Spurlock, MD Beverly Sills 1994 Anna Glasier, MD Ellen Malcolm Physicians for a Violence-Free Society Liz Claiborne, Inc. 1995 Kaaren A. Nichols, MD 1996 Martha L. Gray, PhD Eleanor G. Shore, MD, PhD Elizabeth Tillman Laurel Waters, MD Marylou Buyse, MD Jean Jones Perdue, MD Ariella Stanford Constance Battle, MD Lillian Paula Seitsive, MD Asha Wallace, MD Abdrea Martin Eugenia Marcus, MD 1997 Lila A. Wallis, MD Ellen Malcolm Michele Bloch, MD The Honorable Maxine Waters The Honorable Carol Moseley-Braun Oprah Winfrey Sally Faith Dorfman, MD 1999 President Jimmy Carter Governor Gray Davis Dr. Cynthia Maung 2002 Bert Wenzel, Robert Christiansen, PhD, Harold Webb 2004 Lois M. Nora, MD, Linda Brodsky, MD, Carolyn Webber, MD 2010 Elinor Christiansen, MD 2011 Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA Margaret A. Hamburg, MD 2012 Jim Heller, Elinor T. Christiansen, MD, Eliza L. Chin, MD, MPH, Gayatri Devi, MD, Gina Marinilli, Janice Werbinski, MD, Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD 2013 Michelle Bachelet, MD



2014 Ariana Huffington, Patricia Allen, MD, Gayatri Devi, MD 2015 Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, Cecile Richards, Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn, Laura Bellows, Deborah German, MD President’s Achievement Award The President’s Achievement Award recognizes outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves and made exceptional contributions in their field. 1993 Alexa Canady, MD 1998 Gail Devers 1999 Nancy Dickey, MD 2004 Vivian W. Pinn, MD 2005 H illary Clinton (President’s Vision and Voice Award) Women in Science This award is given to a woman physician who has made exceptional contributions to medical science, especially in women’s health, through her research, publications, and leadership. 1993 Nanette Wenger, MD 1994 Suzanne W. Fletcher, MD 1996 Florence Haseltine, MD 1997 Olga Jonasson, MD 1998 Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD 1999 Bernadine Healy, MD 2000 Judith Lewis Herman, MD 2002 Marianne J. Legato, MD, FACP 2003 Jo Ann Manson, MD 2004 Saroja Bharati, MD 2005 Etta Pisano, MD, FACR 2006 Denise L. Faustman, MD, PhD 2007 Lori Jean Mosca, MD, MPH, PhD 2008 Linda C.Giudice, MD 2009 Mary Guinan, MD, MPH 2010 Carolyn Westhoff, MD 2011 Katherine Wisner, MD, MS 2012 Pamela Lipsett, MD, MHPE 2014 Claudia Baquet, MD, MPH 2015 Myra M. Hurt, MD Lila Wallis Women’s Health Award This award is given to an individual whose lifetime achievements, accomplishments, motivation, mentorship, energy, and enthusiasm for women’s health, education, and research reflect the trailblazing achievements and influences in women’s health exemplified by AMWA Past President Dr. Lila A. Wallis. 1998 Adaline Satterthwaite, MD 1999 Janet Rose Osuch, MD 2000 Gloria Elizabeth Sarto, MD 2002 Vicki L. Seltzer, MD 2003 Sheila Blume, MD


2004 Susan M. Love, MD, MBA 2005 Donald Lindberg, MD 2006 Nada Stotland, MD, MPH 2007 Patricia P. Barry, MD, MPH 2010 Natalie Rasgon, MD, PhD 2011 Saralyn Mark, MD 2012 Nawal Nour, MD 2014 Florence Haseltine, MD, PhD 2015 Janine Austin Clayton, MD

Charlotte Edwards Maguire Outstanding Resident Mentor Award 2014 Kanani Titchen, MD 2015 Ricki Carroll, MD

Camille Mermod Award Initiated in 1969 by Josephine E. Renshaw, MD, this award is given to a non-physician who has rendered exceptional service to the association or to a physician whose exceptional service to the association is unrelated to his or her capacity as a physician. 1969 Gertrude Conroy 1970 Robert Maloney 1971 L. Robert Oaks 1972 Charles Golub 1973 Eleanor R. Belmont 1974 C. Ruby Sears 1975 Mary Dublin Keyserling 1977 Marion P. Crocker 1978 Mary Roth Walsh 1979 Winston Cochran, MD 1980 Samuel White 1982 Donald DeBona 1983 Albert Kroser, DO 1985 Sandra Chaff and Paula Hughes 1986 Dorothy Darling, MD 1987 Ruth J. Abram and Carol Davis-Grossman 1989 Jane Williamson 1990 Leonard I. Melman, CPA 1992 Joyce Kline Puletti, MD 1993 Laurie R. Rockett, Esq. 1994 Nancy E. Cahill, Esq. and Marilyn North 1995 Roberta G. Rubin, MD 1996 Eileen McGrath, JD, CAE 1997 Marie P. Glanz 1998 Edel Hondl, MD 1999 Jean L. Fourcroy, MD, PhD; Debra R. Judelson, MD; M. Angela Tiberio, MD 2000 Jannine Jordan 2002 Ellen Morgenstern 2003 Susan Eisendrath, MPH 2004 Carol L. Jane 2005 Ruby Edmondson 2006 A. Michael Gellman, CPA 2007 Peter Bernhard 2009 Shawn P. Fowler 2011 Sarah Hagy 2012 Ryan Smith 2013 Mary Ellen Morrow 2014 Katherine He 2015 Stuart Culpepper

Elinor T. Christiansen Altruism Award 2014 Heather Leisy, MD 2015 Mariya E Skube, MD

Susan L. Ivey Courage to Lead Award 2013 Misty Richards 2014 Erin Lessner, MD 2015 Vanessa Al Rashida, MD

Susan Love Resident Writing Competition Preethi Raghu (2015 1st place) Regina Toto (2015 2nd place) Anne C. Carter Leadership Award This award recognizes outstanding student leadership. 2004 Sarah Friedman 2005 Susie Skaff Hagan 2006 Katie Kupfer 2007 Elizabeth Shurell 2008 Elmira Sadeghi-Razlighi 2009 Misty Richards 2010 Ashley Styczynski 2011 Adrienne Clark 2012 Linda Wang 2013 Neha Deshpande 2014 Aleena Paul 2015 Amanda Xi Linda Brodsky Essay Award (Student) 2014 Jessica Means 2015 Julie An Eliza Lo Chin Unsung Hero Award (Student) 2014 Carey Wickham

Other awards include the AMWA Exceptional Mentor Award, the Young Woman in Science Award, the GlasgowRubin Citation for Academic Achievement (to women who graduate in the top 10 percent of their medical school graduating class; a separate Certificate of Commendation is awarded to any woman who graduates first in her medical school class), and various grants and scholarships. Past awards have included the Calcium Nutrition Education Award, the Wilhelm-Frankowski Scholarship, the Carroll L. Birch Award, the Special Achievement Award, and the Janet M. Glasgow Essay Award.



A century in photos 2



1915-1925 1. The founders of the Medical Women’s International Association. Pictured from left to right are: Dr. Cullis of England; Dr. Emily D. Barringer, president of the New York City Medical Society (and later president of AMWA); Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy, president of the Medical Women’s International Association (and later president of AMWA); and Dr. Lois Gannett, president of the New York State Medical Society. 2. Women of the American Women’s Hospitals pose beside a poster proclaiming their cause and asking for support to send women doctors overseas during World War I. 3. Dr. M. Louise Hurrell and Dr. Inez C. Bentley visit the women’s ward of American Women’s Hospitals’ Hospital #1 in Luzancy, France. 4. Women holding American Women’s Hospitals flags, circa 1917.



Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA –




Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA –


3 1925-1935



1. AMWA leaders in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1932. Pictured from left to right are: Dr. Mary O’Malley, unidentified, unidentified, Dr. L. Rosa H. Gantt, unidentified, Dr. Louise Tayler-Jones, Dr. Mabel M. Akin, Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen, and Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy. 2. The 19th Annual Meeting of MWNA, 1933. 3. The American Women’s Hospitals health mobile in 1931. 4. MWIA members at the 1934 MWIA Congress in Stockholm, Sweden.


1925-1935 5. Dr. Kate Zerfoss (left), et al, circa 1933-34. 6. AMWA Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, circa 1933-34.







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1. The 1936 AMWA Annual Meeting at the Newbern Hotel in Missouri. 2. AMWA members (from left to right) Dr. Elizabeth Kitredge, Dr. Gladys Kain, Dr. Ella Fales, and Dr. Mary Holmes in June 1941. 3. Board members of AMWA, pictured in the front row, with women physicians from the southwest part of the United States in 1940 in Halstead, Kansas. 4. The AMWA Annual Meeting at the Claridge Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, June 1942.


Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, unless otherwise noted | 1925-1935 Photos 5 and 6 courtesy of Mary Ellen Morrow | 1935-1945 Photo 4 by Fred Hess & Son via Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA





5. Women serving with the American Women’s Hospitals cradle babies in a bomb shelter during World War II. 6. Members of the American Women’s Hospitals Service stand among the ruins of a bombed building during World War II.


1945-1955 1. Members of the AMWA Executive Board – from left to right, Dr. Antoinette Le Marquie, Dr. Esther Marting, Dr. Evangeline Stenhouse, Dr. Amey Chappell, Dr. Elizabeth I. Waugh, and Dr. Helena T. Ratterman – are pictured at the 1951-52 Interim Meeting in Asheville, North Carolina.

Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA




1955-1965 1. The 1957 AMWA Annual Meeting. 2. From left to right, Dr. Edith Petrie Brown, Dr. Claire Ryder, and Dr. Jessie Brodie discuss the scholarship, loan, and recruitment programs at the 1960-61 Interim Meeting.





6 5 7 1955-1965 3. AMWA members pictured for the Norway MWIA Congress in 1964. 4. From left to right, Dr. D. Koenneche, Dr. Eva Dodge, Dr. Ruth Hartgraves, Dr. Edith Petrie Brown, Dr. Camille Mermod, Dr. Bernice Sachs, and Dr. Van Erp are pictured in 1962. 5. AMWA leaders pictured in June 1962. 6. The 1962 AMWA Executive Board Breakfast. Left to right are Dr. Edith Brown, Dr. Jessie Brodie, and Dr. Van Erp. 7. The 1962 AMWA Executive Board Breakfast. Left to right are Dr. Eva Dodge, Dr. Bernice Sachs, Dr. Claire Ryder, Gertrude Conroy, and Dr. Edith Brown.

1965-1975 1. The Past National Presidents gather at the 1972 Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio. 2. Medical students from Little Rock, Arkansas, at the 1973 Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.


2 20


Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, unless otherwise noted | 1955-1965 Photo 3: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines photo via Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA




Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, unless otherwise noted | 1965-1975 Photos 3-5 courtesy of Mary Ellen Morrow


6 1965-1975 3. AMWA leaders in Sausalito, California, in 1969. 4. 1965 AMWA leaders. 5. Internist Dr. Hilda Zenke (far left) receives an award from the New Jersey AMWA branch presented by (from left after Zenke) Dr. Ruth Berney, Dr. Clarabelle Henley, and Dr. Satty Keswani. 6. AMWA leaders have tea with Dr. Sarah Van Hoosen (center).




1975-1985 1. Members of the 1978 Executive Board sit at the head table during the banquet of the 1978 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Pictured are Dr. Charlotte H. Kerr, Dr. Anne L. Barlow, Dr. Vivian K. Harlin, Dr. Mary Collins, Dr. Satty Gill Keswani, Dr. Dolores Shelfoon, and Dr. Gail M. Barton, as well as non-board members Dr. Mathilda R. Vaschak and Minerva S. Buerk. 2. 1975 President Dr. Carolyn S. Pincock cuts a birthday cake in celebration of AMWA’s 60th birthday. THE VISION AND VOICE OF WOMEN IN MEDICINE





1975-1985 3. AMWA’s 1975 Annual Meeting in Tucson, Arizona. Pictured in the back row, left to right, are Dr. Esther C. Marting, Dr. Ruth Hartgraves, Dr. Margaret Schneider, Dr. Minerva S. Buerk, Dr. Rosa Lee Nemir, Dr. Jessie Laird Brodie, and Dr. Alice D. Chenoweth. Pictured in the front row, left to right, are Dr. Edith P. Brown, Dr. Carolyn S. Pincock, Dr. Bernice Sachs, Dr. Margaret Sullivan, Dr. Katharine Wright, and Dr. Laura E. Morrow. 4. The 1984 AMWA Annual Meeting.



4 1985-1995 1. Dr. Rhea Seddon and Dr. Anna Fischer, physician astronauts on the 1985 Discovery space shuttle mission, took the Blackwell Medal into space and back. They are pictured with Dr. Norman Thagard when they were astronaut candidates. 2. AMWA co-sponsored the “March for Women’s Lives” in support of reproductive choice in April 1992. 3. AMWA members pose in T-shirts with the slogan “Dumb, Dirty, Deadly” at the AMWA 1987 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, to protest tobacco use. 4. AMWA President Dr. Susan Stewart at Amwa’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1990.



Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA | 1985-1995 Photo 1: NASA photo





1995-2005 1. The 2002 AMWA Annual Meeting. From left to right are Dr. Roberta Rubin, Dr. Roselyn Epps, Dr. Laura Morrow (seated), Dr. Anita Johnson, and Dr. Susan Stewart. 2. Each year, AMWA holds the White Rose Ceremony, a memorial service to honor members who have passed away. “I first experienced the White Rose Ceremony when my mother, Dr. Laura E. Morrow, past president, 1968-69, passed away in January 2004. The fact that AMWA takes the time to acknowledge its members, in death as well as in life, propelled me to go to San Diego [in 2004 for the ceremony], and has kept me in its fold as a devoted volunteer, and lifetime member, to help wherever, whenever, and however I can. AMWA is at a point of exciting new growth and influence. The White Rose Ceremony will always help us take a moment to stop and think of the purity and dedication of our ancestors and their collective wisdom and accomplishments, and of what is now a century for the American Medical Women’s Association. Please take a moment of silence whenever you see a white rose and allow its beauty and poetic influence into your heart. And give thanks to AMWA for all it has done and will continue to do.” – Mary Ellen Morrow




Photos by Mary Ellen Morrow

3 2005-2015 1. AMWA Advocacy Day with Physicians for Reproductive Health. 2. Dr. Gayatri Devi (center) and Dr. Galindo (right) with renowned women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem. 3. AMWA past and current presidents in 2010. 4. Dr. Claudia Morrissey Conlon (left) and Dr. Omega Silva (right) pictured in 2011 with Dr. Margaret Hamburg, who served as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from May 2009 to April 1, 2015.












5. 2012 AMWA students. 6. 2013 AMWA leaders with Dr. Bachelet. 7. Gender Equity Task Force members at the 98th Annual Meeting in New York, New York. Pictured left to right are Dr. Julie Welch, Dr. Roberta Gebhard, Dr. Joyce Braak, and Dr. Stephanie Nagy-Agren. 8. AMWA student members at the 98th Annual Meeting elections. 9. Dr. Elinor Christiansen (left) and Mary Ellen Morrow at the gala of the 98th Annual Meeting. 10. AMWA leaders with Dr. Bernice Sandler (center, in pink jacket) at the 99th anniversary meeting. 11. The 2014 AMWA Interim Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Photos by Mary Ellen Morrow Photography




13 15

14 16

Photos by Mary Ellen Morrow unless otherwise noted | 2005-2015 Photos 15 and 16 by Eliza Lo Chin


12. Ariana Huffington (left) with Dr. Eleni Tousimis at the AMWA 99th anniversary meeting in 2014. 13. AMWA student leaders at the AMWA 99th anniversary meeting in 2014. 14. AMWA members (left to right) Dr. Marissa Orenstein, Dr. Farzanna Haffizulla, Dr. Eleni Tousimis, Dr. Kanani Titchen, Jackie Wong, and Samia Osman at the gala of the 99th anniversary meeting in 2014. 15. Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen’s home in Rochester Hills, Michigan. 16. Dr. Van Hoosen’s home office. 17. The AMWA Legacy Exhibit at the Drexel University College of Medicine displays photographs, documents, and artifacts related to AMWA’s 100-year history.



AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

The American Medical Women’s Association and the Role of the Woman Physician, 1915-1990 By Ellen S. More, PhD

Nineteen fifteen was an eventful year for women in American medicine. Since the 1830s the number of women physicians had grown from a handful to more than 9,000, between 5 percent and 6 percent of all physicians. Then, after decades of formal exclusion, in 1915 the American Medical Association formally seated its first woman delegate, a signal to some women physicians that they had finally “arrived.” (In 1876, Dr. Sarah Hackett Stevenson was permitted to attend the AMA as part of her local medical society delegation from Illinois. Women began participating in AMA committees in the early 20th century.)1 Later in 1915, a small group of leading women physicians established the American Medical Women’s Association (founded as the Medical Women’s National Association – the MWNA or simply the “National” – and renamed in 1937), the first nationwide organization of women physicians in America. But why, many asked, institutionalize the segregation of women physicians at the very moment when their professional integration seemed assured? Why create a separate national association for women? AMWA has grappled with these questions throughout its 75-year history. It has attempted nothing less than to balance the distinctive interests and culture of women against the claims of disinterestedness, scientific objectivity, and professionalism of modern medicine. AMWA’s history charts the effort to create a workable model of female professionalism, to serve the needs of both women and medicine, and to answer the question, “What does it mean to be a woman physician?” Women’s Medical Societies: The 19th Century Context From the 1870s onward, women physicians founded more than 30 state, local, and institutional women’s medical associations. Such societies sought to bridge the worlds of female social re-


form and the profession of medicine. Thus, while they were intended to facilitate the professional integration of women physicians, they also reinforced the Victorian conception of gender as “separate male and female spheres.” For Victorian women physicians, in fact, medicine was ideally practiced in the “woman’s sphere.” Women gained entry into the hitherto masculine profession of medicine because their distinctively feminine qualities were considered essential to the delicacy and modesty of Victorian women and girls. Whether in private or institutional practice, the work of Victorian women physicians was largely bounded by gender. By providing a comfortable setting for presentation of case reports and reviews of the medical literature as well as a setting for “sisterly” networking, women’s medical societies

provided a training ground in collegiality for women physicians. Yet they also provided a forum from which to attend to the traditional “social housekeeping” concerns of Victorian women, particularly the general well-being of women and children. Women’s medical societies and hospitals thus were intended to link the values of Victorian social feminism to the increasingly complex culture of modern medicine.2 World War I Yet by 1915, the rationale for allwomen’s medical associations was weakening. Basic assumptions about the nature and role of women in American society were shifting, a challenge to the women who founded the MWNA. By 1915, the monolithic Victorian notion of


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

gender, a habit of mind dividing all culture into distinctive masculine and feminine spheres, was crumbling. The movements for higher education, coeducation, and suffrage for women were expanding the bounds of the “woman’s sphere.” The majority of women physicians before 1890 attended all-women’s medical colleges. By 1900, however, most women medical students were graduating from coeducational medical schools. In short, the professional niche for women in medicine was eroding on all fronts. Between the 1880s and the 1930s, the theoretical, institutional, and moral underpinnings of the professions were being rapidly transformed. Professionalism, formerly bound up with gender-linked character norms – such as “strength of character” or “tender care” – now was to be measured according to “objective,” scientific standards of education and expertise. For physicians, the older tradition of environmental, moralizing, gender-specific medicine was replaced by an ethos of reductive, biomedical science and clinical specialization. Medical practice, formerly structured according to gender, race, and social class, now obscured these phenomena behind an impersonal mask of bureaucracy, technology, and experimental science. Gender-specific institutions of any kind were losing their rationale. An all-women’s medical society, even a national association, by 1915 no longer could count on the unquestioned support of its “natural” constituency: women physicians. “Assimilation” had replaced “integration” as the goal of many women in medicine. The founding of the MWNA thus coincided with the redefinition of gender norms, professionalism, and medicine itself. The National’s early leaders fully grasped their paradoxical position. An all-women’s medical society was by no means an inevitability. They were confident that the organization could foster


the professional visibility and standing of women in medicine. Yet – as they also realized – many women physicians wished to be invisible – or at least inconspicuous. By advancing its cause, the MWNA risked alienating its constituency. Therefore, when the prominent Chicago obstetrical surgeon Bertha Van Hoosen invited a small group of women to meet at the Chicago Women’s Club on November 18, 1915, during the weeklong 50th anniversary celebration for Mary Thompson Hospital in Chicago, she selected only those whom she knew to be “enthusiastic for organization.” Marion Craig Potter, a veteran organizer from Rochester, New York, took the chair. As her first action, she moved that Dr. Van Hoosen be named acting president. By the end of the day, concrete plans were laid for a Medical Women’s National Association. Drs. Van Hoosen and Potter had invested many years in advancing the cause of women physicians. Launching “the National” was the culmination of their efforts. Dr. Van Hoosen later recalled the, for women physicians, “dreary” experience of attending annual meetings of the American Medical Association (AMA); women who had once stood united outside the institutions of organized medicine, now were on the inside, “sitting alone.”3 In response, when the AMA met in Chicago in 1908, Dr. Van Hoosen persuaded the Medical Women’s Club of Illinois, the Chicago Medical Women’s Club, and the Women’s Alumnae of the AMA to hold a banquet for women physicians attending the meeting. Marion Craig Potter, a principal founder in 1907 of the Women’s Medical Society of New York State and an editor of the Woman’s Medical Journal, addressed the after-dinner symposium on “Organization.” Basing her remarks on her recent organizing successes in New York, she urged her colleagues to establish a national organization for medical women. Her audience, however, was “evenly divided for and

against national organization.” Between 1908 and 1915, prominent medical women like Dr. Potter used the annual women’s banquet to preach the gospel of “organization” to medical women. Yet even Dr. Van Hoosen was skeptical of the need for a national association until she witnessed the crippling divisiveness plaguing women physicians in the absence of one strong, central voice.4 Certainly by 1915 both Drs. Van Hoosen and Potter knew that the future of women in American medicine was far from assured. Between 1904 and 1915, many financially weak medical schools succumbed to external pressures to close their doors, while others – taking their cue from Abraham Flexner – drastically curtailed enrollments. Yet while the total number of medical graduates dropped from 5,574 to 3,536, a decline of 37 percent, women graduates declined from 198 to 92, a decline of 54 percent in the same period. From a steady rise to 6 percent of all physicians in 1910, the number of women practitioners dropped back to the 5 percent level by 1920. Never were women in medicine more in need of a powerful, united voice.5 Perhaps the strongest plea for unity was offered by the philanthropist Mrs. George Bass of Chicago to the 12 women assembled in Chicago to organize the MWNA. She urged them “not to be afraid of grouping yourselves together, not to antagonize or to fight the men in your profession, but to obtain fuller opportunity, wider recognition, and greater success.”6 The National’s original statement of purpose was couched in positive terms: “to bring Medical Women into communication with each other for their mutual advantage, and to encourage social and harmonious relations within and without the profession.” Its theme was harmony, not dissonance, or, in the words of the Woman’s Medical Journal, “Amalgamation, not Separation.”7 The original roster of offices included a president, president-elect, three vice-


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

presidents, recording secretary-treasurer, and corresponding secretary. The office of president, of course, went to Dr. Van Hoosen herself. Eliza Mosher, first dean of women at the University of Michigan, became honorary president, and Marion Craig Potter, first vice-president. The Woman’s Medical Journal (renamed Medical Woman’s Journal in 1921) was made the MWNA’s official publication, with Mrs. Margaret Rockhill, editor, as corresponding secretary. Membership was divided into three categories: full, dues-paying members with voting privileges (dues were $2); associate members; and honorary members.8 By the time of the National’s first Annual Meeting in June 1916, President Van Hoosen knew it faced an uphill climb. After its first six months, the organization had received only $306 in dues from – at most – a membership of 153 women. With approximately 6,000 women physicians – active and retired – in 1916, this meant fewer than 3 percent had chosen to join the National. Low membership might have reflected mere lack of interest, but outright opposition to the organization also surfaced. One woman, chosen to be one of the National’s first slate of councillors, asked that her name be removed from the list. At the AMA’s annual convention in 1916, some women physicians, notably from California, circulated a petition opposing the MWNA as divisive and retrogressive.9 Dr. Van Hoosen’s strategy was straightforward: to convince women physicians, first, of the need for cooperative action by women in medicine; and, second, that the National could be a positive force for women in the profession. As a first step, she organized committees on women’s hospitals, internships, postgraduate work, and scholarships. Beginning in 1917, the Committee on Internship (later renamed the Committee on Medical Opportunities for Women) surveyed hospital internships open to women. The Committee documented for the first time the scar-


city and uneven quality of postgraduate training for women. The Committee’s sobering findings served a second purpose: They also demonstrated that, acting collectively through a national organization, women could increase their effectiveness as lobbyists without sacrificing their credibility as professionals.10 Yet without the United States’ entry into World War I on April 2, 1917, the MWNA might never have gotten off the ground. The war stimulated an immediate infusion of interest in the MWNA.11 Many women doctors were eager to join their male colleagues in the military medical corps. Overseas war work offered many opportunities for professional advancement. Physicians were recruited primarily through the Army Medical Reserve Corps, from which, as it turned out, women were legally excluded. Directly after President Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of war, however, Dr. Van Hoosen offered the services of the National’s membership in the medical reserves, as did other women’s groups in California and Colorado.12 The War Department’s refusal to accept women physicians gave the MWNA a chance to justify its claim to the loyalties of all women doctors. By June 1917, when the National held its second Annual Meeting in New York, membership had more than doubled since the previous year. Dr. Van Hoosen fully realized the importance of this meeting for the organization’s future.13 By the end of the meeting, the MWNA agreed to form a War Service Committee chaired by the Virginia-born New York surgeon Rosalie Slaughter Morton. Its purpose was twofold: to lobby the War Department for military commissions for women physicians, and, in the older tradition of women physicians, to care for civilian war victims, primarily women and children. Within weeks, the War Service Committee renamed itself the American Women’s Hospitals Service (AWH).14

The AWH could not persuade the War Department to commission women physicians. But by the end of the fighting in November 1918, it launched a spectacularly successful mission to deliver voluntary medical relief throughout the world. By the end of the war, the AWH had successfully won Red Cross backing to send women’s hospital units overseas and had raised nearly $200,000 for the purpose.15 Close to 130 women physicians, dentists, nurses, ambulance drivers, and general purpose assistants, working either directly for the Red Cross or, wearing the AWH insignia and working directly for AWH units, served in France, Serbia, and Greece. By 1920, the AWH was operating nine hospital units and approximately 20 dispensaries.16 Thus began work that continues up to the present day: sponsorship of voluntary, all-women’s hospitals and clinics, public health and preventive medicine projects, prevention or control of epidemics, nurse training, social welfare programs for needy mothers and children, and professional support for women physicians around the world. By the 1950s, American Women’s Hospitals services extended to Asia, Latin America, and, beginning during the Depression, to impoverished Appalachian communities in the United States. From 1959 until 1982, the AWH reincorporated under its own name for tax purposes, but since then it has continued as a constituent part of AMWA. Except during emergencies or war, the AWH nowadays emphasizes preventive medicine, public health, and family planning, rather than the acute care of the modern hospital. By 1969, the AWH was sponsoring medical, health care, and social welfare services in 11 countries. Carrying on the tradition of 19th century women physicians, the AWH retains its commitment to health care, broadly conceived, rather than to the narrowly biomedical approach of much 20th century medical care. The long-term, utterly modern goal of the AWH is the transfer


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

of control over its foreign services into the hands of local women professionals and lay workers – many of whom are trained by the AWH.17 The work of the American Women’s Hospitals during World War I possessed both intrinsic and symbolic value to the MWNA. Yet its very successes presented the leaders of the National with an unexpected challenge. As the National’s War Service Committee, the AWH was conceived as a temporary response to the professional and medical crises produced by the war. Neither Rosalie Slaughter Morton nor Bertha Van Hoosen could have envisioned its future scope. As the accomplishments, the prestige, and the financial basis of AWH operations grew more substantial, however, the AWH threatened to overshadow its parent organization. The Medical Woman’s Journal in 1921 even claimed that the AWH’s success “alone should justify the existence of the National Association.”18 The appointment of Esther Pohl Lovejoy to head the AWH eventually resolved the tensions created by the independence and strong public presence of its “committee.” Dr. Lovejoy, MWNA president in 1932-1933 and a veteran wartime organizer for the Red Cross in Europe, directed the AWH from 1919 until her death in 1967. In 1919 she also helped found the Medical Women’s International Association. Although Dr. Lovejoy made the AWH her life’s work, as her successes mounted she always acknowledged her ties to the Medical Women’s National Association.19 Between the Wars In 1920, Martha Tracy, dean of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) and president of the MWNA, while addressing the Interim Meeting of the National, articulated what continues to be the organization’s agenda. While conceding that women physicians should not be “separated from


men in a scientific way,” still, she insisted, the National must “live to promote special work for women and children.” The postwar decade presented ample opportunities to pursue both goals: professional advancement and concern for women’s health care. Yet by 1930, the organization’s social vision began to fade, finally to reemerge three decades later.20 The Medical Women’s National Association emerged from World War I far stronger than it had been at its outset. In fact, between 1916 and 1926 it could boast a comfortable increase in individual members from about 150 to 450, plus approximately 100 new group members. While this figure – about 8 percent of all women physicians – could not compare to the nearly 48 percent of women physicians who belonged to the AMA in 1925, these were quite respectable gains for a fledgling special interest group such as the MWNA.21 Behind this modest advance lay a combination of factors. For one, the enormous publicity and respect generated by the work of the AWH certainly added to the prestige of its parent organization. In 1924, for example, Esther Pohl Lovejoy announced to the MWNA Annual Meeting that the AWH had raised more than $2 million since the war for its overseas relief work. An editorial in the New York Times praised its work alongside that of the International Red Cross and the Rockefeller Foundation.22 Second, under the farsighted guidance of Kate C. Hurd-Mead, MWNA president, a Five-Year Plan was established in 1923 to increase membership, advance the professional interests of women medical students and physicians, and cement the organization’s ties to medical and lay women by promoting affiliations with local women’s medical societies and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. In perhaps its most far-reaching initiative, the National explicitly sought to reach out to its traditional constituency – women

and children – through public health initiatives in each state.23 One of the earliest signs of the National’s solidifying organizational identity came in 1922, when it voted to end its official ties to the Medical Woman’s Journal and began editing and publishing its own official publication, the quarterly Bulletin of the MWNA. As the Bulletin’s first editor, Grace Kimball of San Diego, recalled, the decision resulted from the “unanimous” opinion of the members “that the affairs and interests of a national Association could be efficiently and satisfactorily handled only by a publication devoted entirely to its own interests and run entirely by its own officers.” Financial concerns may have also played a part. By publishing a modest quarterly supported by advertisements, and by raising dues from $2 to $3, the Association began to build up a modest endowment.24 To increase membership, in 1923 the National voted to alter its constitution to create the new category of group membership. Within two years, 15 constituent groups had affiliated with the national association. Likewise, in 1925, Dr. Hurd-Mead proposed establishing junior memberships in the National, an innovation, however, that took many years to accomplish. In 1925, the National did offer its first two student scholarships, a result of two initial gifts of $1,000 and $500, as a way to create “professional heirs.”25 The first consolidated Committee on Medical Opportunities for Women was formed in 1920. Under Dr. Van Hoosen’s leadership from 1924 onward, the Committee vigilantly documented the slippage in medical women’s professional status by documenting the limited number and mixed quality of internships available to women, the scarcity of women with academic appointments, and the low number of papers presented by women at mixed-gender professional meetings. With 180 out of 643 hospitals accepting female interns and the many


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

other institutional positions available, Dr. Van Hoosen believed, “We need an army to fill the positions now open.” The problem, as she saw it, was to interest more women in a career in medicine in the first place. Yet a glance at Dr. Van Hoosen’s list of job categories suggests that even in her own eyes, women physicians were still expected to work within their own “separate sphere” – like it or not. The “opportunities” she identified, besides internships and scholarships, stressed public health positions, vacancies for women in state institutions for the insane, resident physician appointments in schools and colleges and hospitals, opportunities as medical missionaries, and assistantships to private surgeons and groups – the traditional settings for women in medicine.26 In one respect, however, the 1920s offered great promise for women physicians. The ratification of the woman suffrage amendment in 1920 held the promise of a powerful new feminine electorate. Ever prudent, politicians at first willingly listened to the concerns of their female constituents. Anticipating its own potential strength, the powerful remnant of the suffrage lobby took advantage of this favorable political climate by creating a new vehicle for social feminist reform: the Women’s Joint Congressional Committee (WJCC). The WJCC, founded in 1920 to lobby for progressive style “women’s issues,” consisted of organizations such as the League of Women Voters, the PTA, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the National Consumer’s League, and, after 1924, the MWNA. Virtually the first bill the WJCC lobbied for was the pioneering legislation to protect prenatal, maternal, and child health known as the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921. The prominence of MWNA leaders in this effort attests to the continued identification of women physicians with the broad reformism of social feminism.27 Because Sheppard-Towner estab-


lished prenatal and child health clinics with state and federal funding it was almost immediately opposed by the American Medical Association. The MWNA’s own growing detachment from the bill during the 1920s, while never as sharp as the AMA’s, reflected an ideological shift by organized women in medicine from progressive social feminism to the individualism of modern professionalism. Originally introduced as a “baby bill” by Representative Jeanette Rankin of Montana in 1919, the prenatal and child health measure was reintroduced in 1920 and 1921 by Representative Horace Towner of Iowa and Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas. No less than four future presidents of the MWNA – Kate C. Hurd-Mead, Ellen C. Potter, Esther Pohl Lovejoy, and S. Josephine Baker – testified on behalf of the bill. Indeed, at the urging of Dr. Hurd-Mead at its Annual Meeting in June 1921, the National passed a resolution to “urgently recommend” its passage.28 The Sheppard-Towner Act became law on November 23, 1921. Congress permitted its renewal in 1927 after a bitter debate, but only for two years. In 1929 it was allowed to lapse.29 The act established prenatal and child health centers emphasizing preventive medicine and public health through maternal education, well-baby exams, and instruction (from public health nurses) in personal and child hygiene (broadly interpreted to include nutrition, exercise, and proper clothing, as well as disease prevention and cleanliness). Funding was administered to the states through the U.S. Children’s Bureau, headed by Miss Grace Abbott, through the Division of Infancy and Maternity. Division Chief Blanche M. Haines was a former secretary of the MWNA. Additionally, matching funds were given to any state putting up $5,000 of its own money.30 The bill represented the first time federal money was used for a “social welfare” purpose. Perhaps for that reason, and to combat opposition from local private

physicians, the Children’s Bureau relied heavily on the local organizing and lobbying efforts of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, which initially supported the bill.31 Between 1924 and 1929, when the bill lapsed, 2,978 prenatal and child health centers were established at least in part using Sheppard-Towner money. During its final four years, 4 million infants and expectant mothers were reached. Perhaps most significant was the law’s educational function. Almost 20,000 classes were held, often taught by public health nurses, to instruct midwives, mothers, and girls in child health and hygiene.32 Sheppard-Towner also benefited women physicians, as MWNA leaders fully understood. In 1927, of the 43 participating states, 16 had women physicians as directors. Forty-three of the 89 full-time physicians employed by the program were women. Seventeen others worked directly for the Infant and Maternity Division of the Women’s Bureau.33 Despite these accomplishments, as the decade progressed, opposition to the bill grew stronger as a general political shift to the right took hold in America. One senator labeled it the “Bill to Organize a Board of Spinsters to Teach Mothers How to Raise Babies.” Primarily, though, opposition to “state medicine” by the AMA, conservative political groups, and several influential state medical societies arose from a growing hostility to anything smacking of “communism.” As in the debate over compulsory health insurance during the previous decade, conservatives within and without the profession accused supporters of “tending to promote communism.” In the words of the rabidly conservative Illinois State Medical Society, “the beast [compulsory health insurance] gave birth to a litter answering to the name of . . . the Sheppard-Towner bill.” Although it was a close vote, in June 1921 the AMA endorsed “all proper activities and policies of state and federal governments directed to the prevention of disease and the pres-


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

ervation of the public health.” That was the last favorable action on “state medicine” to come out of the House of Delegates for decades to come. In the words of an angered supporter, any suggestion of government participation brought “howls from the extreme Right and induces, as sequelae, editorials in the JAMA eulogizing the tender economic relation between the physician and his patient, a very intimately personal relation.”34 Yet the AMA’s position was more complex than this. It valued both the merits of preventive medicine and its usefulness in building up the practices of the still too abundant general practitioner. Nor did it wish to be seen by the public as opposing medical care for the poor. Thus, alongside its negative campaign against the maternal-child health act, it also set forth its own positive approach to preventive medicine, including launching a new magazine, Hygiae, aimed at the laity. The AMA also began promoting the presumed benefits of a “periodic health exam,” better known today as the yearly “physical.”35 During the mid-1920s, the MWNA’s ideological center also seems to have changed focus. Until then, it identified strongly with the traditional social housekeeping goals of the progressive era. In this context, it is hardly surprising that the MWNA chose not to support the National Woman’s Party in 1924 when it first proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Taking the advice of Alice Hamilton, Hull House resident and pioneer industrial toxicologist, MWNA delegates voted down the ERA as a potential threat to the protective legislation for working women long sought by progressive reformers. The National’s leaders still saw the primary social identity of the woman physician as the protector of the sick and powerless. By the end of the decade, however, the organization began to identify less with the obligations of the social reformer than with the rights of the professional


physician. Not unlike the AMA, its promotion of “positive health” was aimed at a private, not a public, constituency.36 Thus – although historians have contrasted the AMA’s hostility toward the Sheppard-Towner Act with the uncompromising support given by the MWNA – the National’s position was both more complex and less unchanging than has often been reported. For S. Josephine Baker, it is true, the prospect of what she called “state medicine” held no terrors. Rather, as she later wrote, “State medicine is to my mind an ideal, and the sooner it changes from an ideal to a practical reality, the better off the human race will be.” Louise Tayler-Jones, chair of the MWNA’s Committee on Legislation, also supported the bill to the end. But Drs. Baker and Tayler-Jones occupied only one end of the continuum of opinions held by MWNA leaders.37 In reality, as organized medicine’s opposition to government intervention grew more pronounced, the MWNA’s position also shifted. Faithful as ever to the principles of health education and preventive medicine, it nevertheless began to align itself with the values of the private physician. In short, it actively promoted “positive health,” but through the combined auspices of women’s clubs, medical societies, and public health departments. As the Public Health Education Committee chair reported as early as 1921, positive health promotion was “consistent with the ideals and standards of medical practice [and] furnishes the basis for promotion of positive health education by physicians in accordance with the ethical and economic requirements of the medical profession.” Thus the National’s 1923 Five-Year Plan included a section on public health calling for coordinated work with both the AMA and the Women’s Foundation for Health. By 1925, the updated Plan called on medical women to introduce the public health programs of the AMA and the Women’s Foundation to “all organi-

zations and clubs of Lay Women.” As the National bowed to the conservative political realities of the 1920s, state-funded programs targeted at the poor began to take a back seat to private medical care for the middle class.38 More and more as the decade wore on, the National looked to alliances with state and local women’s clubs to introduce programs of preventive medicine. (And, in fact, by 1928 the Federated Women’s Clubs had resigned from the WJCC.) Sheppard-Towner thus became the vehicle by which the MWNA cemented its ties to the private sector, in keeping with the goals of its FiveYear Plan. Lena K. Sadler, chair of the MWNA Committee on Public Health in 1927, articulated the newly emerging position at the 1925 Annual Meeting: “I wish to say that the Sheppard-Towner Bill, fortunately or unfortunately is not functioning in the State of Illinois ... Personally it is nothing to me, whether it functions or not, because I believe my record is behind me ... I believe in every educational feature of that Bill, but when organized medicine is against it in my state, I must do something with the clubs to take its place.” Working together, Dr. Sadler, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Federated Women’s Clubs, and the state medical and dental societies began a jointly sponsored program of examinations of the preschool child. “It is a five-year program,” Dr. Sadler commented, “and by that time we hope to make it the custom for parents to have their children examined before entering school.” Dr. Sadler was too tactful to say so, but surely she envisioned these future examinations in the offices of private physicians.39 Thus, by 1926, when the fight to renew Sheppard-Towner beyond its initial appropriation was underway, MWNA support had already been deflected into other channels. At the Annual Meeting in 1926, the National’s representative on the WJCC, Louise Tayler-Jones, pro-


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

posed a new resolution of support for Sheppard-Towner, but no action was taken that year. In fact, in October 1926, the MWNA Bulletin published an anonymous attack on the bill. Arguing that “Maternity education should be directed only by physicians,” it insisted that the government has no more right to subsidize health care with tax money than “it has the right to make Rockefeller ‘divide up’ with Eugene V. Debs.” (A signed rebuttal by Dr. Tayler-Jones appeared in the next issue.) By the Annual Meeting of 1927, when a resolution supporting Sheppard-Towner was presented to the meeting, it was decided to table the matter since it was “not at issue at present, having been already settled by Congress.” That settlement, however, was not a victory for reformers; the Sheppard-Towner bill was renewed in 1927, but for a maximum of only two years.40 Nevertheless, whether working through government clinics or public health committees of state and local women’s clubs, the Sheppard-Towner initiative played a significant role in revitalizing the MWNA in this postwar decade. For one thing, it provided the impetus for creation of new constituent women’s medical societies. As Belle Wood-Comstock, president of the threeyear-old Women’s Medical Society of Los Angeles County, reported in 1926, their success in breaking down the “prejudice” against a women’s medical society was due to its larger goal, “to band medical women together for the purpose of doing a definite work along health educational lines.” By joining California’s Federation of Women’s Clubs, women doctors were breaking down the “barriers” between “the profession and the people.”41 By 1928, the MWNA’s membership had doubled to more than 500 individual members, plus several hundred group members, largely due to its organizational efforts in connection with public health education through public clinics and private women’s clubs.42


Yet the outlook for the coming decade of the 1930s was not as rosy as it may have appeared. Even before the onset of the Great Depression, the percentage of women admitted to American medical schools was beginning to decline again, from about 6 percent in 1923 to 4.5 percent in 1928. With the approach of hard times in the 1930s, advertising for the Bulletin steeply declined. The National’s membership also declined, despite replacing “group” memberships with “branch” societies. While in 1931 membership totaled about 750 (with about 6,300 women in active practice at that time), in 1933 it was down to about 600.43 Thus, the 1930s were years of retrenchment for the National. Although the organization came out in favor of birth control in 1929 (albeit only with supervision by a physician), nearly a decade before the AMA, it lost much of its momentum in the field of public health. The White House Conference on Child Health and Protection in 1930, unlike its predecessors, was dominated by male pediatricians, not by women physicians in the field of public health as in the past. Hardly a health department in the 1930s was headed by a woman, as S. Josephine Baker sadly observed. But Dr. Baker felt obliged to lay some of the blame on women physicians themselves. Her 1932 report on public health to the MWNA was an attempt to reinvigorate women physicians’ own sense of responsibility for work that, traditionally, had been theirs for the taking.44 The political tenor of the Association had changed considerably during the previous decade. Even during the hard times of the mid-1930s, AMWA delegates rejected measures for wider provision of health care as inroads to “socialism.” Bertha Van Hoosen found it necessary to remind them that “the only way women physicians got a foothold [in the early days of women in medicine] was through charity work until they had gained the confidence of the public.” Nevertheless, for the next 30 years, the Association’s

leadership retreated from its vanguard position on Sheppard-Towner; in 1944, it went on record as “opposing that part of the Wagner-Murray-Dingle Bill which specifically refers to compulsory health insurance.” It did endorse medical society supported “medical plans” (such as Blue Cross-Blue Shield), but only to prevent further “socialization” of medicine.45 The percentage of practicing women physicians declined during the 1930s to 4.4 percent of all physicians. Moreover, AMWA’s own membership was a cause of great worry to its leaders. Of particular concern was an “appalling annual turnover,” undermining their success in bringing in new members. In the words of President Nelle S. Noble, “It is like giving repeated blood transfusions to a patient whose hemorrhage remains unchecked.” Dr. Noble also criticized a “system of choosing officers by arranging withdrawals back and forth in a small privileged group.” (Moreover, AMWA continued its policy of rejecting membership applications from “colored” women physicians as late as 1939.46) In 1935, at the 20th anniversary of the MWNA, the Association voted to reincorporate as the American Medical Women’s Association, an action completed in 1937. Both because of the group’s increasing frustration with the lack of progress of women in the profession during the 1930s, and in keeping with the trend toward conservative individualism, it now publicly supported the ERA. Although the institution of junior memberships for medical students was again rejected by the membership, junior and senior medical students were accorded nonvoting, associate member status if sponsored by two full members of the association.47 Women Physicians and World War II The war years brought AMWA face to face with two difficult issues: finding


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

a way to assist embattled women colleagues trying to escape from Europe and persuading the U.S. War Department to commission women physicians in the armed forces. In 1938, a Committee on Aid to Medical Women in Distress was founded under the direction of Rita Finkler of New Jersey. Until the war’s conclusion, it helped secure affidavits to enable women physicians and their families to emigrate to America and raised funds to assist them to relocate. Well before the outbreak of World War II, AMWA renewed its campaign, suspended since 1918, to win commissions for women physicians in the medical reserves. A resolution protesting discrimination against women physicians in the Army was passed at the Annual Meeting of 1932.48 In 1939, two AMWA representatives interviewed the Army Surgeon General about the question. They learned that a change in the laws pertaining to military service probably would be necessary before women could be commissioned. When Emily Dunning Barringer, a veteran of the AWH Executive Board and a delegate to the AMA from the Medical Society of New York State, became president-elect of AMWA for 1940-1941, she took charge of the renewed campaign for commissions. In 1940, AMWA petitioned the AMA for support in changing the law regarding the medical reserves. During a chance encounter with the AMA’s Morris Fishhein, Dr. Barringer asked him why the AMA held a different position toward nurses – given military rank since World War I – and women physicians. Dr. Fishbein replied that, “Nurses are well supervised.” Dr. Barringer mildly asked him to put his comment in writing, but Dr. Fishbein prudently declined.49 Undeterred, the Association cabled President Franklin D. Roosevelt to volunteer its services if needed, sending a copy to the Surgeon General, too. Surgeon General James C. Magee politely replied with thanks and the tepid assurance that


the Army likely would need only “a small number of women physicians as civilians on a contract basis.”50 Nevertheless, AMWA kept up its effort to gain AMA and War Department backing and, in 1943, the AMA withdrew its opposition to women in the medical reserves. Since Frank Lahey, AMA president, was also the head of the government’s Procurement and Assignment Service for Physicians, the AMA’s change of heart was an important signal. In fact, by the end of 1942, even the Surgeons General of the Army and Navy had withdrawn their objections to amending the laws governing the medical reserves in favor of female physicians. What had happened to change their minds? Essentially, this was a case of supply and demand. In the words of James Burrow, “the problem of military medical care often stood perilously close to the crisis stage.” Between 1940 and 1945, new draftees swelled the Army’s ranks from 267,000 to 8,266,000, a more than thirtyfold increase. Physician supply simply could not keep up with this gigantic demand. Even the American Legion was becoming alarmed at the possibility that American soldiers might not receive adequate care. AMWA, too, began an active campaign to win over public opinion. In December 1941, AMWA President Barringer hired noted judge and lobbyist Dorothy Kenyon of New York, one of the few women members of the New York City Bar Association, to assist AMWA in Washington.51 Throughout the winter and spring of 1942, Kenyon and Dr. Barringer were in close contact. Kenyon lobbied in Washington, while Dr. Barringer wrote requesting support from a wide variety of women’s business and professional groups. Public opinion was moving in their direction. When, in June, the AMA once again rejected AMWA’s petition for support, the New York Herald Tribune wrote an editorial supporting AMWA. As Kenyon

observed, “We have at last got our case out into the Court of Public Opinion.”52 In an address to the AMWA inaugural banquet in June 1942, Kenyon unveiled the argument she would successfully employ over the next six months. First, she argued from the simple justice of the women’s case: Physicians should be used on the basis of qualifications, not sex. “A male obstetrician, for instance, had better stay at home and bring ba¬bies into the world rather than take care of wounded soldiers at the front while a woman surgeon had better do just the opposite.” Second, she argued on legal grounds: “Army regulations state that persons, competently trained and qualified, are eligible to the Medical Reserve Corps.” “Simple and unambiguous” words such as “person” are legally understood according to their “plain and natural meaning,” she argued, “and must therefore be assumed to refer to both men and women.”53 By December 1942, Congressman Emmanuel Cellar of New York introduced legislation to permit commissioning women in the military. John Sparkman, congressman from Alabama, introduced a narrower bill, at the request of the American Legion, specifically aimed at commissioning women physicians. Hearings were held before the House Committee on Military Affairs in March 1943. Dr. Barringer, Kenyon, and representatives of the medical procurement board and the military all testified in favor of commissions for medical women. Congressman Cellar, borrowing from Kenyon’s testimony, explained, “I think women doctors have reached a situation where they should not be judged by sex; they should be judged by accomplishments and skill.” Besides, as he also remarked, the military was beginning to “scrape the bottom of the barrel” to find sufficient physicians to meet its needs. The Sparkman bill was approved unanimously by the House. After passage in the Senate, President Roosevelt


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

signed it into law on April 16, 1943. Four days later, Margaret D. Craighill, former dean of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, was given the rank of major, the first woman physician to be commissioned into the Army Medical Corps. Ultimately, 119 women received commissions in the Army, Navy, and Public Health Service.54 AMWA vs. the Feminine Mystique: The 1950s During the war years, as the numbers of women in medicine rose and as AMWA’s campaign for commissions put its goals squarely before the public, membership in the organization rose to 1,225 active members, doubling between 1933 and 1943. In 1945, AMWA voted to acknowledge its heightened professional presence by establishing its own monthly journal, JAMWA.55 Despite the gains made during the war, the culture of postwar America, the America of the 1950s, contained the ingredients for a subtle but undeniable letdown for professional women. Even women physicians found themselves at a disadvantage against the insinuations of what Betty Freidan has called “the feminine mystique.” The 1957 Annual Meeting in Dallas was fairly representative of the privatized, apolitical concerns of the period. It featured a keynote address on “Woman’s Greatest Enemy – Fatigue” and workshops on “The Emotional Health of the Family.” Subtopics included “Education for Marriage,” for “Homemaking,” and for “Parenthood.” An evening session was devoted to “Today’s Teenagers – Tomorrow’s Homemakers.” Yet even in the midst of such determined domesticity, AMWA was beginning to acknowledge its need to attract young women into medical school and, once there, to win them over as AMWA members. (Between 1950 and 1960, women as a percent of practicing physicians remained almost unchanged at


about 6 percent. AMWA membership, 1,181 in 1951, actually had declined since 1943.) For this reason, in a revised constitution written in 1957, AMWA established junior branches and a director of junior membership. Junior members could not vote, but they could participate in every other way at annual meetings. In 1953, in addition to its program of scholarships, AMWA began offering $100 prizes to all women medical students graduating first in their classes. A pamphlet for use by high school guidance counselors, So You Want to Be a Doctor? was created in 1959.56 Nevertheless, in the conservative political climate of the 1950s, when the broader reformist ideals of the turn-ofthe-century woman’s movement had been forgotten, women physicians had few conceptual tools with which to address the precarious position of women in medicine. Still clinging to the conservative individualism of the 1930s, they continued to oppose government-subsidized medical insurance for Social Security recipients, a measure they identified with the “ultra-liberals.” Such subsidies, they believed, would “make the aged wards of the government with health care handouts.”57 Locked into a conception of professionalism that equated “objectivity” and legitimacy, they were constrained from pleading a “special case” for women based on unequal opportunity. Moreover, lacking at that time the analytical tools to understand the construction of gender in modern society, they could only wonder why so few women pursued their theoretically “equal” opportunity for a career in medicine.58 Some idea of what the Association was up against can be gleaned from the recollections of Bertha Offenbach, president of Branch 39 in 1962 and the “moving spirit” in its rejuvenation. Dr. Offenbach recalled her early efforts in the 1950s to drum up interest in the branch. Consistently she was told by women colleagues on the

staff of Massachusetts General Hospital, “’I have no interest in joining ... a women’s medical association; there is no sex in medicine’” (June 28, 1989 interview). Medical “Manpower” and the Woman Physician The fear of a medical “manpower” shortage in the early 1960s produced a fundamental change in AMWA’s perspective on the place of women in American medicine. Prior to World War II, this nation faced only one medical “manpower” problem: an oversupply of physicians. In 1932, for example, the final report of the Association of American Medical College’s (AAMC) Commission on Medical Education, begun in 1925, concluded that the number of physicians in America was increasing at a rate faster than that of the general population.59 Three factors, however, quickly transformed a century-long surplus into what was predicted to be a catastrophic physician shortage. The first was the postwar population increase. The second factor, a boom in hospital construction fueled by postwar government subsidies, quickly expanded the need for medical graduates to fill internships and residencies. By 1957, in fact, while medical schools were graduating just under 7,000 physicians a year, hospitals were seeking to fill 12,000 vacant internships annually. Finally, the gradual aging of the population accompanied by the replacement of acute, infectious with sub-acute, chronic illnesses seemed to be creating heavier and heavier demand for physician services.60 As a result, the Surgeon General commissioned a report on health care manpower published in 1959. It created a shock wave throughout the health care system when it predicted a drastic physician shortfall. Only by increasing the supply of new medical graduates by an average of 3,600 per year over the next 15 years, the report concluded, could calamitous pressures on the health care


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

system be avoided. This would require, in the words of the report, that “present medical school facilities be increased substantially and new schools be established … at once.”61 The impact of the “manpower” scare in the early 1960s, although rarely discussed today, was of great significance for the movement of women into the medical profession in recent times. AMWA’s leadership was first alerted to the problem when Medical Education Committee Chair Mary K. Helz attended, at the request of the National Health Council, a “National Health Council Meeting on Manpower Shortages in the Field of Health” in October 1959. AMWA delegates also attended the AAMC annual meeting in November on the theme of “Physicians for a Growing America.” The delegates were given information packets including “startling predictions of the future,” especially indications of future health care shortages.62 The issue of physician shortages influenced the direction taken by AMWA’s leadership during the 1960s for three main reasons: First, because it alerted them to the problems of married women medical students and physicians, problems that frequently interfered with their ability to complete their training, to practice their profession to the fullest, or even to practice at all. Second, the identification of social rather than strictly individual deterrents to women’s success as physicians slowly moved AMWA’s policy makers from a position of conservative individualism to an acceptance of the need for underlying structural changes in the organization of health care and medical education. Third, the fear of a physician shortage provided the impetus to increase enrollments at existing medical colleges and to construct 41 new medical schools between 1960 and 1980. As the Surgeon General’s report “Physicians for a Growing America” had made clear in 1959, increasing the supply of


physicians required both increasing and “equalizing opportunity” (emphasis added) through expanded facilities and more abundant scholarship money.63 For the first time, national policy makers were countering organized medicine’s longstanding goal of keeping the number of physicians as low as possible. This decreasingly restrictive climate proved to be a powerful magnet to prospective applicants and a significant factor in the increasing numbers of women entering medicine. Twenty-two new schools enrolled their first classes between 1961 and 1971, the decade during which the number of women students finally began to climb. Between 1960 and 1970, the combined “push” of the women’s movement and “pull” of increased enrollment opportunities resulted in a tripling of the number of women applicants, while the number of male applicants only doubled. The number of women medical students rose from 1,745 in 1961-1962 to 4,733 in 1971-1972. As a percentage of students, women increased from 5.8 percent to 10.86 percent, nearly doubling their percentage in 10 years. Even more startling, the AAMC has shown that of the first-year slots opened in the new schools between 1970 and 1980, women filled 65 percent.64 AMWA’s Response to the “Manpower” Challenge Paradoxically, the physician shortage produced both calls for greater utilization of women and the publication of studies criticizing women physicians’ lower practice rates. For example, a study by Roscoe A. Dykman and John M. Stalnaker, “Survey of Women Physicians Graduating from Medical School 1925-1940,” was initiated by the AAMC in June 1953 and published in 1957, possibly as a response to the slight rise in women graduates in the aftermath of World War II. In the authors’ somewhat sensationalized opinion, “The most

conspicuous difference between women and men [was] the number of women not in practice.” Thirty-three percent of the female respondents had been out of practice at some point in their careers, the average figure being 4.5 years. Of this subset, 71.5 percent were married and most had “terminated their medical practice for a few years to rear their children.” At the time of the study, 87.5 percent of the female respondents were engaged in either full- or part-time practice. Only .4 percent had never practiced since graduation. (But, 10 percent of the male physicians had curtailed their practices an average of 2.1 years during the same period, due primarily to physical disability.)65 Results of the Dykman and Stalnaker study were widely used in the ensuing discussions of how to better use American medical personnel. In a 1961 editorial in Medical Economics titled “The Case Against the Female MD,” for example, the author began, “I get sick and tired of ridiculous statements about helping solve the alleged physician shortage by having more women physicians ... Why not solve the problem at hand more efficiently by having more men physicians?” Referring to the Dykman and Stalnaker study, he claimed that “women gave much less time to practice than the men.”66 AMWA’s leadership attempted to respond to this criticism of women physicians by sponsoring a panel discussion at a “Summer Convention” in June 1962 on “medical womanpower.” AMWA wanted to know: “Are female MDs as useful in society as male MDs, or are they poor social investments?” Thus the problem AMWA was attempting to address at this conference on medical womanpower was whether women were dropping out of medicine with disturbing frequency, as charged, and whether it was possible to successfully combine medicine with what “we, in our culture, consider a successful marriage.” One young wom-


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AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

an participant complained, “I think you must make a lot of personal sacrifices. I think you miss a lot of personal time with your family: When the kids come home from school, the little times when you should be together, seeing after your husband, being rested when he comes home from work, getting the house cleaned up.”67 Immediately, however, from the floor came a request for a “rebuttal” from Lillian P. Seitsive, a graduate of WMCP and the wife, partner, and, recently, widow of a general practitioner. Her comments reflected the “other” side of the coin, the view held by many married women who entered practice as she had, 30 years before: “I was married to a physician for 26 years. I practiced medicine all [that time] except two weeks apiece for each of two children when I was confined to the hospital ... because they didn’t let you out before that. You can be a wonderful wife and a wonderful mother and a very good doctor, but you must have qualities for all three. [Applause.]”68 Yet again and again, the issue raised by the younger women physicians in attendance was the question of “mothers’ guilt.” As Rosa Lee Nemir observed, “women everywhere, who are college educated, have listened to the psychologists who have told us for a long time that we must be with our children ... 1 think that too often the standards that women hold themselves to are too high. They are much too hard on themselves ... they are apt to feel guilt when anything goes wrong.”69 Many solutions were offered, such as federal subsidies for child care, day care centers at hospitals, and creation of residencies with flexible hours for physician-mothers. But not even the example of an overwhelmingly successful wife/mother/full-time practitioner like Dr. Nemir dispelled the atmosphere of frustration at this conference. In January 1964, still attempting to counter the implication that women physicians functioned below opti-


mal levels, AMWA President Rosa Lee Nemir attempted to forge some kind of cooperative agreement with the AAMC and the AMA to conduct an in-depth study of women physicians’ practice patterns.70 Planning for the “Survey of Women Physicians Graduating from Medical School 1935-1960” was begun in July 1965. Present were Dr. Nemir and AMWA President-Elect Bernice C. Sachs as well as representatives from the AMA, the AAMC, and the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare. Of greater significance in the long run, the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation agreed to sponsor a study of “1. Factors influencing the entry of women into medicine; 2. The attitudes of medical faculties toward the admission of women to medical schools; 3. The career choices and influence of medical schools on a woman’s attitude toward medicine.”71 The Macy Foundation also agreed to host a 1966 “Conference on Women for Medicine,” the first of many contributions made by the Foundation in the interest of women and minorities in medicine. Preliminary results of these studies were released in time for the Macy conference. The findings of the AMWA/ AAMC combined study clarified, rather than contradicted, the conclusions of the Dykman and Stalnaker research. The study found, for example, that twice as many men and women graduating in 1956 married before completion of training than in 1931. More than a third of these women in 1956 had had children before completion of training. Second, when counting 2,000 hours per year as full-time practice for 1964, 55 percent of female physicians worked full time and 31 percent part time; the figures for male physicians were 90 percent and 7 percent, respectively. The influence of family responsibilities on the number of hours in practice, however, was clearly highlighted by this study. In 1964, 39 percent of women with 3+ children worked full time while 86 per-

cent of single women (presumably without children) worked full time. Indeed “family responsibilities” were the major reason given for curtailment of professional activities by married women physicians. Likewise, women physicians saw fewer patients and earned, on average, substantially less than their male colleagues. Finally, regarding specialization and type of practice, women specialized most frequently in pediatrics (33.6 percent), psychiatry (13.7 percent), internal medicine (10 percent), anesthesiology (9.1 percent), preventive medicine (8.6 percent), and obstetrics/gynecology (8 percent).72 Participants at the Macy conference, however, were not content to look simply at the statistical profile of women’s participation rates. John Z. Bowers, Macy Foundation president, derived his interest in medical “womanpower” from his exposure to the much higher utilization rates of women physicians in other countries and from an “acute awareness of the\ medical shortage in our country.” His interest, like that of AMWA’s leaders, focused more on the cultural factors discouraging women from entering the profession than those factors limiting their participation once they completed their training. Radcliffe College President Mary Bunting, another conferee, understood the problem both as a conflict between profession and family and as a structural phenomenon through which women with children were marginalized in the profession. “Increasing the interest of women in medicine will not of itself bring more physicians into the profession ... The average woman physician practices somewhat fewer hours than the average man ... This calls for more medical schools and better organization of health care delivery systems.” As the words of one physicianmother indicated, women’s situation in the profession could be summed up as follows: “Women have something of their own to give the profession.” It is


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

in the interest of society to organize its health care in ways that make use of those special contributions.73 Thus in 1966, as feminists were beginning to analyze the place of women in the modern workforce, AMWA’s leadership was confronting the social/structural factors affecting the role of the woman physician. At the AMWA Annual Meeting that year, these issues were taken up again through the theme of “Medicine, Marriage, and Motherhood.” Echoing the concerns of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Health Manpower, AMWA sought to determine “the factors which interfered with women entering the medical profession.” Referring to the Macy conference, Rosa Lee Nemir pointed to the “discouragement” doled out by guidance counselors, “primarily based on the difficulty of combining marriage and a career and on the problem of finances.”74 Thus AMWA’s leadership began to link issues of broad social policy to the specific circumstances of women in medicine. Among the far-reaching resolutions adopted at the 1966 Annual Meeting as means to enhance the participation of women in medicine were: income tax deductions for child care; support of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ recommendation of legalized therapeutic abortion “at licensed hospitals if at least two physicians agree there is substantial danger to the mother’s physical or mental health”; hospital-centered child care for health care personnel; and development of part-time programs for women residents and physicians.75 Still, it would be another few years before AMWA’s leadership fundamentally broadened its political vision. AMWA in the Era of Modern Feminism, 1968-1990 In 1968, Carol Lopate published Women in Medicine, a book based on the


1966 Macy conference, a pathbreaking analysis of the discriminatory culture in which women were discouraged from pursuing medicine as a career. By 1968, AMWA, too, had begun to confront the issue of discrimination directly. For one thing, the age structure of the Association was beginning to shift. In 1967, for example, AMWA consisted of 1,935 full members and 1,498 junior members. The latter represented 43.6 percent of the total number; by 1969 junior members accounted for 46 percent. Although they could not vote, their presence was beginning to be felt.76 Lopate accurately assessed the inadequacy of AMWA’s position on the minority status of women in medicine. Although she believed that AMWA justly could be proud of its history, she also believed that the Association’s lack of leadership was partly responsible for its fairly low membership. In Lopate’s view, women physicians as individuals would not risk the prestige of their minority status by acknowledging it directly; yet she also faulted AMWA/ JAMWA for being just a “special interest group” rather than “an intellectually vital center for medical ideas.” If a separate association for women physicians was still professionally essential, she seemed to ask, why not make a virtue of that very necessity?77 AMWA’s leaders, largely educated before World War II, however, were not yet ready to abandon an older conception of women physicians as a minority in medicine. They continued to search for ways to accommodate the new generation of women, but found it difficult to imagine innovative structural changes in the medical profession as a whole. The leadership continued to see women’s problems as matters for women to overcome by themselves. In 1967, for example, AMWA decided to sponsor a research survey on “household help,” a problem they believed to be at the core of the professional difficulties of

medical women. In “Household Help – The Woman Doctor’s Gordian Knot,” Camille Mermod communicated the unexpectedly widespread response the journal had received to a questionnaire about household help and/or child care. She opened with this anonymous quotation: “Household help is, in my opinion, a woman physician’s greatest problem. All the rest are minuscule by comparison.”78 On July 17, 1970, the husband of the woman so quoted wrote privately to Dr. Mermod to declare his disagreement and profound frustration with this analysis. “It is my impression that the opinions set forth in your article (my wife’s included) are essentially erroneous ... That there is a problem for the woman intending to become a physician I would be the last to deny. But ... [t]he problem that women physicians face is essentially the problem that all women suffer from: the masculine orientation of our society. If society could be made to recognize the right of women to a career, provision on a general scale would be made for the daily care of children in tax-subsidized centers – the children of housekeepers together with the children of physicians … [I]t is most curious that women physicians are not in the vanguard ... storming the barricades of male privilege. They are grousing about household help, like so many suburban matrons.”79 What was needed from a new generation of leaders was a response to the structural inequities of the workplace through which women were expected to carry the full burden of both career and family and in which the professions themselves remained impervious to the underutilization of women. In short, AMWA was being called on to advocate the positive advantages to society of making an equitable place for the woman physician. AMWA’s achievement, beginning in the late 1960s and extending to our own day, has been its ability to accomplish


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

this essential task of revision. For example, at a conference on “Meeting Medical Manpower Needs: The Fuller Utilization of the Woman Physician,” sponsored by AMWA, the Women’s Bureau, the President’s Study Group on Careers for Women, and the U.S. Department of Labor in 1968, AMWA President Alice D. Chenoweth began to formulate a response to the canard that educating women physicians is a “waste” of national resources. Challenging the statement that women physicians work only half as much as men, she asked, “Are there adequate data to support such a statement? Can the amount of time spent be equated with the physician’s effectiveness? What is the true measure of a physician’s worth to society?” Building on the position articulated in 1966, the conference concluded that “talented women are needed in medicine, that their contribution is valuable and unique.”80 The beginnings of a newly liberalized political agenda could also be seen in the resolutions adopted at the Annual Meeting of 1968. The membership acknowledged its common cause with all women in American society in several ways: It pledged its commitment to demonstrating medicine’s commitment to family life, sex education, and federal tax credits for the domestic and/or child care expenses of all working women, not just the woman physician. A second Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation conference on “The Future of Women in Medicine,” also in December 1968, again pursued the question of increasing the number of women physicians. Significantly, the AAMC that year had also focused on the issues of widening access to medical care and increasing opportunities for minority, low-income, and women medical students. The flurry of activities aimed at increasing the visibility of women in medicine may have had a collateral effect on AMWA. Between 1967 and 1969, its active membership jumped 22 percent, from 1,426 to 1,745, almost twice the


increase in active female physicians nationwide between 1967 and 1970.81 Nothing could have been of greater importance to the position of women in American medicine and to the evolution of AMWA than the striking increase in the number of women admitted to medical schools after 1970. During the decade of the 1960s, first-year enrollments for women nearly doubled, to 9.1 percent of the first-year class in 1969-1970. Between 1969-1970 and 1979-1980, the percentage of female first-year students more than tripled, rising to 28 percent of all students.82 Women students were beginning to make themselves heard in the student associations of the AAMC and the AMA. As for AMWA, by 1979 students made up 48 percent of the membership. Therefore, AMWA enhanced student involvement by amending the bylaws. After 1973, every student branch was entitled to send one delegate per eight members to sit as voting members of the House of Delegates.83 On the local level, too, student interests were beginning to be felt in ways that would eventually be directed upward toward AMWA’s national leadership. Interviews with prominent participants in these events during the 1970s in both the Boston and New York City branches clearly revealed the importance of student concern with issues of medical education, sexual harassment, access to top residencies, abortion and other women’s health issues, and – particularly for residents – the availability of child care. Such issues brought women faculty and students together in an effort to reform their local medical communities. Oddly, AMWA’s lobbying activities during the “manpower shortage” deliberations of the 1960s apparently were unknown to these younger women. And, undoubtedly, the younger generations’ more directly assertive political style seemed painfully different from the genteel lobbying of their elders. Yet some older AMWA members such as Bertha Offenbach (June 28, 1989

interview) in Boston and Rosa Lee Nemir (July 5, 1989, interview) in New York successfully persuaded these younger women physicians to work for change through AMWA. Thus, physicians such as Leah Lowenstein, Carol C. Nadelson, and Eugenia Marcus in Boston, Lila A. Wallis in New York, and Leah J. Dickstein in Louisville – to name only a few – emerged as a new generation of leaders and especially as AMWA’s link to the new generation of women students entering medical schools in the 1970s, the height of the feminist movement in medicine. As interviews with Drs. Nadelson (June 28, 1989), Marcus (June 27, 1989), Wallis (March 30, 1989), and Dickstein (September 8, 1989) made clear, AMWA was the beneficiary of an essentially reciprocal process, the mutual politicization of women students and physicians during these years. As one of the early effects of these changing political styles, in 1974 AMWA member Marlys Witte and the staff of the AMWA Professional Resources and Research Center at the University of Arizona pioneered a research project on medical women in academia. As she and her colleagues discovered, women were still on the ground floor of the medical faculty hierarchy 10 years after their number had begun to rise in the profession.84 In 1979, in cooperation with Cornell University Medical College, the Women’s Medical Associations of New York City and State, New Jersey, and Connecticut organized the first AMWA Regional Conference and Workshop on Women in Medicine, “outlining the goals and delineating the constraints which limit the expansion of the role of women in medicine [as well as] plans and strategies to overcome the restraints.”85 Further, with the encouragement of Eugenia Marcus as Branch 39 president and director of AMWA’s student membership, women students began to organize themselves into regional directors who


AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

made their interests known to the leadership and facilitated communication between local student branches and the National Office. Rapid changes are never easy to endure, especially in an Association whose leaders have served it faithfully for many, many years. The rapid rise in the number and political awareness of medical women was both exhilarating and, as Mary Bunting has written, at times confusing. Between 1970 and 1980, the percentage of women first-year students had more than tripled. Suddenly, it seemed, the pace of change was accelerating. AMWA, too, experienced growth pangs as younger members vied with more traditional leaders to set their stamp on the Association – in substance as well as style. At the 1980 Annual Meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for example, an alternate slate of candidates was offered from the floor, an unprecedented event. (Delegates received the list of the new names on the tabs of Lipton tea bags – an update of the Boston Tea Party.) Although the original slate was duly elected, AMWA responded to the insurgents’ demands for increased access to the leadership process and greater organizational visibility on issues of importance to women in medicine. In 1981, a major restructuring of the organization and a clarification of its goals were begun in earnest. Significantly, its amended constitution of 1981 now included in AMWA’s stated objectives, “to encourage women to study medicine” and “to ensure equal opportunity to do so.”86 Today AMWA strives for a stronger voice for women in organized medicine and in national policy making for health care. By 1986, women represented 35 percent of first-year medical students. In 1988, women constituted more than 16 percent of all physicians. By 2000 they are expected to represent 20 percent. The past 20 years have brought a


younger, straightforwardly political voice to the forefront in AMWA policy making, particularly in its attention to leadership training for women physicians. AMWA’s dual commitment to the needs of women physicians and women patients through issues such as family planning, breast cancer prevention, improved child care, and the reduction of cigarette smoking is bringing to fruition the goals of AMWA’s founders – the articulation of what it means to be a woman physician. In the words of Lila A. Wallis, AMWA president in 1988-1989, “Every woman physician is a leader. She had to be a leader to get where she is. She will be an even more effective leader if she belongs to AMWA.”87




This article was revised and updated from its original version, which was published in JAMWA’s September/October 1990 issue. Ellen S. More, Ph.D., is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and head, Office of Medical History and Archives. She is the author of Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850-1995 (1999; 2001), co-editor of Women Physicians and the Cultures of Medicine (2009) and The Empathic Practitioner: Empathy, Gender, and Medicine (1994), and was guest curator for the National Library of Medicine exhibition, Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians (2003-2006). The author completed the research for this article in 1990 as a member of the Institute for the Medical Humanities, UTMB. Travel expenses and research time (1990) were supported in part by AMWA through the interest and encouragement of Leah J. Dickstein, MD, and by Grant No. DHHS 1 R01-LM04980-01 from the National Library of Medicine, NIH. References 1. Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of




Medicine, 1850-1995. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1999, p 41, 123. Morantz-Sanchez R: Sympathy and Science: Women Physicians in American Medicine. New York, Oxford University Press, 1985, p 179. More ES: The Blackwell Medical Society and the professionalization of female physicians. Bull Hist Med 1987;61:603-628. Van Hoosen B: Petticoat Surgeon. Chicago, Pellegrini and Cudahy, 1947, p 201. Walsh MW: Doctors Wanted: No Women Need Apply. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1977, p 213. Marion Craig Potter Papers, Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia [hereafter cited as: MCP/MCP], Acc. #138, Env. No. 3. Woman’s Medical Journal 1915;25:7,159. Lopate C: Women in Medicine. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1968, p 193. Morantz-Sanchez R: Sympathy and Sci-ence: Women Physicians and American Medicine. New York, Oxford University Press, 1985, p 249. Ludmerer K: Learning to Heal: The Development of American Medical Education. New York, Basic Books, 1985, p 247-248. Walsh: Doctors Wanted, p 180, 186. Hummer P: Decade of Elusive Promise. Ann Arbor, University Microfilm Press, 1979, p 144. Marion Craig Potter Papers, EG Miner Library, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry [hereafter cited as: UR/ MCP], Box I: Clippings 1906-1920. Clipping dated March 22, 1918. Bass Mrs. G: The relation of the Chicago Women’s Club to the Mary Thompson Hospital. Woman’s Medical Journal 1915;25:279-280. Amalgamation, not separation. Woman’s Medical Journal 1916;26:132-133.


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8. Woman’s Medical Journal 1916;26:16-18. Archives of the American Medical Women’s Association, Cornell University-New York Hospital, New York City [hereafter cited as: AMWA], Box 1, folder 2. 9. Transactions of annual meeting of the Medical Women’s National Association. Woman’s Medical Journal 1916;26:164. Computation based on the membership fee of $2. AMWA, Box 1, folder 2, Minutes of organization meeting. 10. Van Hoosen B: Outline of work for the year. Woman’s Medical Journal 1916;26:6, 159-160, 164. Smart IT: Report on internships for women. Woman’s Medical Journal 1917;27:7,162-163. 11. Bevan AD: The problem of hospital organization, with special reference to the coordination of general surgery and the surgical specialties. Military Surgeon 1919;45:2, 150-159. Stevens R: American Medicine and the Public Interest. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1978, pp 85-92, 124-128. Ireland MW (ed): The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War, vol I. Government Printing Office, 1923, p 84. 12. Report of the American Women’s Hospitals, June 6th to October 6th, 1917, p 14. American Women’s Hospitals Collection, Medical College of Pennsylvania Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine, Philadelphia [hereafter cited as: AWH/MCP], Box 1, folder 2. More E: “A certain restless ambition”: Women physicians in World War 1. American Quarterly 1989;41:636660. Government regulations regarding contract practice. Woman’s Medical Journal 1917;27:223-224. The Brown-Gilmore resolution. Woman’s Medical Journal 1917;27:149-150. California medical women urge federal recognition. Woman’s Medical Journal 1917;27:227-228. 13. Treasurer’s report, June 1, 1918, AMWA, Box 1, folder 3. Address of president at second annual meeting of the Med-ical Women’s National Association. Woman’s Medical Journal 1917;27:129. Report of the second annual meeting of the MWNA. Woman’s Medical Journal 1917;27:141. Van Hoosen B: Looking backward. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1950;5:407,408. 14. Van Hoosen: Looking backward, p 408. Van Hoosen: Petticoat Surgeon, p 202. 15. More E: Rochester “over there”: Gender and medicine in World War I. Rochester History 1989;51:4. 16. Crawford MM: Report of chairman, AWH, for 19181919, August 11, 1919. Woman’s Medical Journal 1919;29:164-168. 17. Fraade E: American Women’s Hospitals Service. World Med J 1969;5:114-116. 18. American Women’s Hospitals. Medical Woman’s Journal 1921;28:72. AMWA Box 1, folder 3, Minutes of annual meeting, June 11, 1918.


19. AMWA Box 1, folder 3, Minutes, annual meeting, June 10, 1919. AWH/MCP, folder 221, Minutes of the executive committee, Report, Committee to Investigate History of the AWH, 1937. Woman’s Medical Journal 1919;29:162. 20. AMWA Box 1, folder 3, Minutes of council meeting, April 27, 1920. 21. Medical Woman’s Journal 1926;33:129. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1926;No. 11:22. 22. More: A certain restless ambition, p 654 n 77. 23. AMWA Box 1, folder 5, Minutes of council meeting, June 25, 1923. AMWA Box 1, folder 5, Minutes of annual meeting, June 26, 1923. 24. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1926; No. 13:8. 25. AMWA Box 1, folder 5, Minutes of 1923 annual meeting, June 26, 1923. AMWA Box 1, folder 7, Minutes of annual meeting, June 26, 1925. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1925;No. 9:4, 19. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1925;No. 10:4-8. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1926;No. 13:10. 26. Report of committee on medical opportunities for women. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1925;No. 9:19. 27. Lemons SJ: The Woman Citizen: Social Feminism in the 1920s. Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1973, pp 117, 123, 154-158, 177-178 n 22. 28. Medical Woman’s Journal 1921;28:149-150. Medical Woman’s Journal 1921;28:172, 177, 180. 29. Medical Woman’s Journal 1921;28:172, 177, 180. Baker SJ: Fighting for Life. New York, Macmillan, 1939, pp 47, 54, 55, 83, 84. Chepaitis JB: Federal social welfare progressivism in the 1920s. Soc Serv Rev 1972;46:213-229. Lemons: Woman Citizen, pp 42, 123, 154-58, 165, 177, n 4, 178, Rothman S: Woman’s Proper Place: A History of Changing Ideals and Practices, 1870 to the Present. New York, Basic Books, 1973, pp 139-141. 30. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1927;No. 15:11. 31. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1927;No. 15:11. Report of delegates to meeting of General Federation of Women’s Clubs at Des Moines, 1920. Woman’s Medical Journal 1921;28:185. Lemons: Woman Citizen, pp 123, 176. 32. Chepaitis: Federal social welfare progressivism, p 223225. Lemons: Woman Citizen, p 175. 33. Rothman, Woman’s Proper Place, pp 139-141, 303 n12, 14; 304 n16. 34. Numbers R: Almost Persuaded: American Physicians and Compulsory Health Insurance, 1912-1920. Balti-



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AMWA HISTORY, 1915-1990

more, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978, pp 107108. Moore HH: American Medicine and the People’s Health ... with Special Reference to the Adjustment of Medical Service to Social and Economic Change. New York, Appleton, 1927, p 621. Burrow JG: AMA: Voice of American Medicine. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1963, p 162. 35. Moore: American Medicine, pp 507-508, 511-512. Dodson JM: The growing importance of preventive medicine to the general practitioner. JAMA 1923;81:1427-1429. 36. AMWA Box 1, folder 6, Minutes of annual meeting, June 1924. 37. Lemons: Woman Citizen, p 165. Morantz-Sanchez: Sympathy and Science, p 302. 38. Brown AE: Report of Committee on Public Health Education on the Women’s Foundation for Health. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1925;No. 10:21. 39. Report of the Committee on Public Health. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1926;No. 14:21. Morantz-Sanchez: Sympathy and Science, p 303. Justin MS: Men, Women, and Women Physicians: The Medical Women’s National Association and the Medical Profession, 1915-1945, thesis. Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass, 1980 p 31 (supplied to the author by Eugenia Marcus). 40. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1926;No. 13:16-17. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1926;No. 14:23. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1927;No.17:12. 41. Report sent to annual meeting. Bulletin of the MedicalWomen’s National Association 1926;No. 13:30-31. 42. President’s and treasurer’s reports. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1928;No. 21:9, 17. 43. A MWA Box 4, folder 12, Minutes of annual meeting, May 8-9, 1932. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1933;No.41:17. Report of organization and membership committee. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1931;No. 31:19. Lopate: Women in Medicine, p 17. 44. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1932;No. 38:8-12. Costin LB: Women and physicians: The 1930 White House Conference on Children. Soc Work 1983;28:108-114. Lorber J: Women Physicians. New York, Tavistock, 1984, p 23. White House Conference on Child Health and Protection: Directory of Committee Personnel, July 1, 1930. US Department of the Interior, 1930. Twenty-five of the 281 doctors (9%) on the White House Conference committees were women; four of those women, however, were or had been active


MWNA members: S. Josephine Baker, Blanche M. Haines, Alice Hamilton, and Mary Riggs Noble. 45. Minutes of Annual Meeting. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1933;No. 41:9,17. Women in Medicine, July 1944, p 13. Women in Medicine, January 1945, p 20. 46. Women in Medicine 1939:No. 63:18, 19. See Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1932;No. 37:15, 16. AMWA Box 5, folder 14, Letters to Louise Tayler-Jones from Esther Pohl Lovejoy, October 8, 1938, and from Mary McKibben-Harper, November 13, 1938, concerning the upcoming AMWA elections. 47. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1933;No. 41:9. AMWA Box 5, folder 14, Board of Directors meeting, January 24, 1937. Justin: Men, Women, and Women Physicians, p 69. 48. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1932;No. 37:16. The issue was first revived by Bertha Van Hoosen’s Committee on Medical Opportunities for Women. Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association 1932;No. 36:18. AMWA Box 5, folder 12, Letter of August 2, 1935. AMWA Box 5, folder 13, Minutes of Board of Directors meeting, December 1, 1935. 49. Women in Medicine 1939;No. 63:20. Women in Medicine 1939;No. 64:18-20. Women in Medicine 1939;No. 66:23, 24. Raven C: Achievements of women in medicine, past and present – Women in the Medical Corps of the Army. Milit Med 1960;125:105-111. AMWA Box 5, folder 15, Resolution to AMA House of Delegates, June 10, 1940. Burrow: AMA, p 282-285. 50. AMWA Box 5, folders 15, 17. 51. Burrow: AMA pp 282-285. AMWA Box 1, folder 17. Morello KB: The Invisible Bar: The Woman Lawyer in America. Boston, Beacon Press, 1986, pp 134-135. Hartmann SM: Dorothy Kenyon, in Sicherman B, Green CH (eds): Notable American Women: The Modern Period. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1980, pp 395-397. 52. Kenyon D: The law of the land. Women in Medicine 1943;No. 79:7-10, 17-21. 53. Kenyon: Law of land, p 7-10, 17-21. 54. Appointment of female physicians and surgeons in the Medical Corps of the Army and Navy: Hearings before subcommittee No. 3 of the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, 78th Congress, 1st session on H.R. 824 ... and H.R. 1857 March 10, 11, 18, 1943. Government Printing Office, 1943, pp 1-101. Women in Medicine I943;No. 80:9. Women in Medicine 1943; No. 81:15. Women in Medicine 1943; No. 82:15-16. Barringer ED: Bowery to Bellevue. New York, Norton, 1950, pp 240-41. 55. Women in Medicine 1942;No.77:13. Women in Medicine January 1946, p 21.


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56. AMWA, loose folder Finance 1957. AMWA, loose papers Membership Report 1951-1959. 57. AMWA, loose folder Finance 1958. Spear AJ: Legislative report. 58. AMWA, Box A: New, Membership report, typescript in loose papers for 1959; Program, November 1957; Revised constitution, 1958. Minutes of mid-year meeting of the Board of Directors, AMWA. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1960;15:373-389. Special membership meeting. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1960;15:389-395. 59. Abstract of the final report of the Commission on Medical Education. JAMA 1932;99:2206, 2207. 60. Bowers JZ, Lippard VW: Case Histories of Ten New Medical Schools. New York, The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 1972, pp vii-ix. Starr P: The Social Transformation of American Medicine. New York, Basic Books, 1982, pp 359-361. 61. Starr: Social Transformation, p 364; Surgeon General’s Consultant Group on Medical Education: Physicians for a Growing America. Government Printing Office, 1959, p 13. 62. Minutes of the midyear meeting of the Board of Directors. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1960;15:373-388. Special membership meeting. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1960;15:389-395. 63. Physicians for a Growing America, p 24. 64. Bowers, Lippard: Case Histories, p vii. Women student enrollment in medieal school, 1965-1985. Data courtesy of the AAMC. Lopate: Women in Medicine, p 193. Minorities and Women in the Health Fields. US Dept of Health and Human Services, 1984, p 104. 65. Dykman RA, Stalnaker JM: Survey of women physicians graduating from medical school 1925-1940. J Med Educ 1957;32:3-38. Cf. Kehrer BH: Factors affecting the income levels of men and women physicians: An exploratory analysis. J Hum Resour 1976;11:526-545. 66. Ingegno AP: The case against the female MD. Med Econ 1961;38:41-48. 67. AMWA folder: Medical womanpower. Panel discussion at AMWA summer convention held June 24, 1962;10,11. 68. Medical womanpower, pp 11,12. 69. Medical womanpower, pp 64, 68. 70. AMWA Box B: New; folder: AMA/AMWA Liaison, memo from Rosa Lee Nemir to AMWA Executive Board, January 28, 1964. 71. AMWA Box A: New: Minutes of meeting on survey of women physicians. July 17, 1965. Agenda, meeting of advisory committee on survey of women physicians graduating from medical school 1930-1960. August 28, 1965. AMWA Box B: New; folder: Research CommitteeFigures. AMWA Box B: New; folder: Report on combined


research study on survey of women physicians graduating from medical school 1930-1960. June 28, 1966. 72. AMWA Box B; New: Powers L, Wiesenfelder H, Parmalee RC: Preliminary report: Practice patterns of Women and Men Physicians, October 14, 1966. pp 5-8. 73. Lopate: Women in Medicine, p 24. Bowers JZ: Forward, in Lopate, Women in Medicine, pp v-viii. Bunting M: Introduction, in Lopate: Women in Medicine. 74. AMWA Box A: New: AMWA second workshop, Washington, DC, Thursday, November 3, 1966, pp 2, 16, 17. AMWA Box A: New: AMWA second workshop, Letter from Peter S. Bing of President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Health Manpower, to President Margaret J. Schneider, October 26, 1966. 75. AMWA second workshop, pp 19-20, 68-98, 174-177. 76. AMWA Box 115C: AMWA Mectings—1960s; folder: Interim – Sausalito – 1969, membership report. Lopate: Women in Medicine, p 17. 77. Lopate: Women in Medicine, p 19-21. 78. Annual Meeting. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1968;23:56-87. 79. AMWA Box B: New: Letter of Louis T. Milic to Camille Mermod, July 17, 1970. 80. Chenoweth AD: President’s message. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1968;23:283, 284. 81. Annual meeting. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1969;24:2. Report on the 79th annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1969;24:178181. AMWA Box B: New; folder: 1960-1972 membership figures. Minorities and Women in the Health Fields. US Dept of Health and Human Services, 1984, p 120. 82. Minorities and Women, p 112. 83. AMWA Box Correspondence, Early 1970s; folder: Junior memberships 1972-1974. Scully AL: President’s report. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1979;34:440. AMWA Box Meetings, 1960s and 1970s; folder: Proceedings of AMWA 58th Annual Meeting, pp 115-119. 84. Farrell K, Witte M, et al: Women physicians in medical academia. JAMA 1979;241:2808-2812. 85. Conference on Women in Medicine: Goals for Today and Tomorrow. J Am Med Wom Assoc; 1979;34:441. 86. AMWA Box: Minutes, correspondence e 1981; folder: Minutes of the AMWA House of Delegates, November 5-6, 1981; p 4. Bunting MI: Afterthoughts by way of introduction, in Spieler C (ed): Women in Medicine – 1976: Report of a Macy Conference. New York, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, 1977, pp 1-7. Bickel J, Quinnie R: Women in Medicine Statistics. Washington, Association of American Medical Colleges, 1990, Tables 1, 10. 87. Wallis LA: Leadership and women in medicine. J Am Med Wom Assoc 1988; 43:164-165


AMWA HISTORY, 1990-2015

The American Medical Women’s Association as the Vision and Voice of Women in Medicine, 1990-2015 By Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH, FACP, Laurel Waters, MD, FCAP, FASCP, and Claudia Morrissey Conlon, MD, MPH

More than 600 American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) members gathered in Philadelphia in the fall of 1990 to celebrate the association’s 75th anniversary. Of historical significance was the inauguration of AMWA’s first African-American president, Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps. Keynote speaker, Dr. Antonia Novello, the first woman physician to serve as Surgeon General of the United States, was welcomed with a standing ovation and sense of pride that was palpable. It was a moment for all women in medicine to cherish. The next two decades marked impressive growth and expansion of the organization. Health Care Advocacy In the early 1990s, AMWA was actively involved in health care advocacy at all levels within the organization, including legislative days on the hill and press briefings at the White House. Among the issues that AMWA championed during these years were the Family and Medical Leave Act (passed in 1993), the smoking cessation Tobacco Product Education and Health Promotion Act, pro-choice legislation, and the acceptance of RU-486 as a medical abortifacient. Year after year, AMWA continued to be an indefatigable champion for women’s health rights. On April 5, 1992, an AMWA delegation marched in Washington, D.C., with the National Organization for Women (NOW) in support for reproductive choice. Their proclamation, “We Won’t Go Back … March for Women’s Lives,” reflected the widespread fear at the time


that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. When Dr. David Gunn, a physician who provided abortion services in Pensacola, Florida, was killed on March 10, 1993, AMWA immediately denounced the violence and reaffirmed its commitment to end the harassment and isolation of abortion providers. AMWA and other organizations urged Congress to overturn the gag rule, a federal regulation that prevented Title X-funded family planning facilities from counseling patients about and referring patients for abortions. When President Bill Clinton finally signed the order overturning the gag rule, AMWA was among the three medical associations invited to the White House. During the health reform years of the Clinton administration, AMWA representatives were invited to be part of the White House Health Care Reform Task Force, the working group chaired by First Lady Hillary Clinton. In 1994, AMWA members urged the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which upheld victims’

rights and increased funds for battered women’s shelters, rape education, prevention programs, and the training of police, prosecutors, and judges. The bill also provided funding for a national family violence hotline and required all states to honor restraining orders issued in other states. The Los Angeles AMWA Branch awarded the “Outstanding Legislator Award” to Sen. Barbara Boxer, DCalif., who authored VAWA. “Conversations with the Candidates” was spearheaded in 2008 by Dr. Claudia Morrissey Conlon to engage presidential candidates in discussions regarding universal access to health care, prior to the elections. Conference calls with AMWA members and supporters around the country featured conversations with presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Dennis Kucinich. During the Obama administration, AMWA was represented in White House meetings with physicians to discuss health care reform strategies on prevention and cost containment. AMWA leaders also participated in numerous White House conference calls and events regarding


AMWA HISTORY, 1990-2015

health care reform, insurance coverage, and the first lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative to eradicate childhood obesity. In 2010, AMWA students spearheaded the Woven Word Quilt Project, which expressed the organization’s collective goals for health care reform. That same year, during Advocacy Day on the Hill, AMWA members met with congressional leaders or their representatives to support the Affordable Care Act, which was subsequently passed in 2010. Position Papers Many position papers have been written by AMWA covering the following areas: career and education, ethical issues, health and wellness, policy and legislation, and reproductive health. More recent position papers’ topics include: human trafficking, gender equity, breast cancer, sex- and gender-specific medicine, cervical cancer prevention, osteoporosis, risk factor screening for cardiovascular disease, a statement against sexualized violence, emergency contraception, endocrine disruption and breast cancer risk, and health care for all. Gender Equity In 1991, AMWA co-sponsored the report, “Empowering Women in Medicine,” which exposed the disheartening statistics that women physicians earned only 63 percent of what their male colleagues earned. Furthermore, their penetration within the ranks of academic medicine was also limited. At that time, only 21 percent of medical school faculty and 2 percent of department heads were women. These statistics were reported through national media outlets including CNN, The New York Times, and the Associated Press. Dr. Deborah Judelson and others appeared on the nationally televised Home Show to share these statistics.


Beginning in 1992, AMWA provided a Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination Resource and Information Line – a hotline for AMWA student and physician members. In 2000, AMWA organized and began development of the Institute for the Advancement of Women in Medicine and Healthcare with George Washington, Howard, Johns Hopkins, and Maryland universities. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which helped restore protection against employee pay discrimination. AMWA leaders had the opportunity to meet with Ledbetter and hear about her case for gender equality. In 2010, AMWA formed the Gender Equity Task Force led by Dr. Linda Brodsky and Dr. Roberta Gebhard. The group authored a white paper, hosted webinars and workshops on negotiation, participated in advocacy efforts to promote equality of women in medicine, and began plans to develop a large-scale national study on the practice patterns and needs of women physicians. Sadly, Brodsky passed away in 2014, but her work and vision in AMWA continues through the support of the Dr. Linda Brodsky Fund established in her honor. Brodsky’s websites, Women MD Resources and the Brodsky Blog, will continue to be hosted by AMWA. In 2010, AMWA became an ally of Drexel University’s Vision 2020, a decadelong national project focused on promoting gender equality by engaging new generations of women and men to finish the work of the suffragists, who championed women’s right to vote as fundamental to social and economic justice. Vision 2020 will culminate in the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. AMWA leaders have attended the Vision 2020 National Congress every year and participated in efforts to raise awareness of gender equality, including a White House Briefing on Women’s Issues in 2012.

Annual Meeting Highlights (1990-2015) 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Dallas, Texas San Francisco, California New York, New York Lake Buena Vista, Florida Seattle, Washington Boston, Massachusetts Chicago, Illinois New Orleans, Louisiana San Francisco, California Colorado Springs, Colorado San Antonio, Texas Atlanta, Georgia San Diego, California Washington, D.C. Tucson, Arizona Orlando, Florida Anaheim, California Williamsburg, Virginia Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C. Miami, Florida New York, New York Washington, D.C. Chicago, Illinois

• The 1992 Annual Meeting in San Francisco featured keynote speaker Dr. Nancy Snyderman, an AMWA member and then-medical correspondent for ABC-TV’s Good Morning America. Plenary session speakers included Dr. Molly Coye, director of health services for the State of California; Dr. Frances Conley, Stanford professor of surgery; Sen. Dianne Feinstein; Dr. Jane Hodgson, clinical associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology; and Dr. Vivian Pinn, director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health. • In 1995, AMWA co-sponsored the Third Annual Congress on Women’s Health in Washington, D.C. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed attendees, urging women


AMWA HISTORY, 1990-2015

leaders to continue fighting for equal rights and women’s health. The 1996 Annual Meeting in Boston featured keynote speaker Dr. Mae Jemison, who was the first woman of color to go into space when she flew as a mission specialist astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor. In partnership with Simmons College, AMWA hosted a 12-hour Institute of Career Development, discussing topics such as business strategies, negotiating skills, and real gender equity. AMWA’s 2002 Interim Meeting, “Physicians Adapting to a Changing Environment,” was held at Tyson’s Corner in McLean, Virginia, and featured the International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame Gala. Honored on that occasion were the two women who had been Surgeons General: Dr. Antonia Novello and Dr. Joycelyn Elders. AMWA’s 2003 Annual Meeting in Georgia featured Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a keynote speaker. AMWA’s 2007 Annual Meeting was held in conjunction with the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) North American Congress in Orlando, Florida. The Annual Banquet that year featured singer Christine Baze, a cervical cancer survivor, who inspired the audience with her story and music. AMWA’s 2008 Annual Meeting was held in conjunction with the Women’s Healthcare Forum. The Annual Banquet featured singer, songwriter, and activist Holly Near. From 2009 to 2011, AMWA’s Annual Meetings were held in conjunction with the annual Women’s Health Congress. Keynote speakers at AMWA’s Gala during those years included Dr. Joia Mukherjee (chief medical officer, Partners in Health),


Dr. Vivian Pinn (director, NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health), and Dr. Margaret Hamburg (commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration). • In 2012, under the leadership of Dr. Gayatri Devi, AMWA returned to holding standalone meetings in order to best meet the needs of its members (particularly the student members). AMWA meetings from 2012 to 2014 featured keynote speakers Gloria Steinem (feminist, author, activist), Rachel Naomi Remen (best-selling author), Dr. Michelle Bachelet (executive director of UN Women, president of Chile), Calvin Trillon (New Yorker humorist, journalist, novelist), Dr. Rita Charon (executive director, Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University), Dr. Bernice Sandler (a women’s rights activist known as “the Godmother of Title IX”), and Ariana Huffington (founder of Huffington Post). • During the annual meetings, AMWA often hosted the famed “Bob Oaks Tours,” a tradition started by Mr. Bob Oaks, who would accompany his wife, Dr. Mathilda Vaschak, to annual AMWA meetings. Year after year, Oaks organized tours of the various cities for the other husbands and friends of the AMWA members attending the meeting. He was recognized for his loving support of his wife and AMWA by having future city tours named after him. One of the more memorable excursions was the Halloween night trip to Salem, Massachusetts. • The Nancy C. Binder Memorial Lectures and Programs founded by AMWA Past President Dr. Lynn Epstein were a tribute to past AMWA leader Dr. Nancy Binder. The 2003 dance troupe performance led by Dr. BetheAnne DeLucaVerley (breast cancer survivor and

co-founder of Waking Dreams and Warrior Women) was deeply moving and unforgettable. • AMWA presidents traditionally invited members to attend an overseas presidential trip during their tenure to observe health care systems or join international meetings. Notable excursions included Scotland, Japan, Alaska, Cuba, Spain, and Belgium. American Women’s Hospitals Service (AWHS) During these years, the American Women’s Hospitals Service (AWHS) continued to support clinics and hospitals around the globe. In addition to its regular clinic support, periodic emergency funds were awarded during times of need. In 1992, AWHS sent desperately needed funds to war-torn Bosnia. The support was also symbolic: 75 years earlier, AWHS had provided aid to the Balkans after World War I. Similar grants were sent to support the tsunami victims of Thailand in 2004, the Burma cyclone in 2008, and to the Hôpital Bon Samaritain (Haiti) in 2010 during the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. Over time, some clinics have faded away and have been replaced by new ones referred by AMWA members. As Dr. Alma Dea Morani, former AWHS leader used to say, “We do not do bricks and mortar.” The aim has always been to provide salary for a local worker so that the funds get magnified as they extend in ever widening ripples. AWHS has built a lasting legacy of humanitarian aid, which will endure in the years to come. Recipients of AWHS funds during the past decade have included: • Bread for the City and Zacchaeus Free Clinic (Washington, D.C.) • Dayspring Family Health Center (Tennessee) • Dover Community Clinic (New Jersey)


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AMWA HISTORY, 1990-2015

• Harbor Free Clinic (California) • Health Care Network (Wisconsin) • Hôpital Bon Samaritain (Haiti) • Marian Clinic (Kansas) • South African Development Fund (South Africa) • Friendship Clinic Nepal (Nepal) • Engeye Clinic (Uganda) • Samaritan Clinic (Georgia) • Sacred Valley (Peru) Engeye Clinic in Uganda was cofounded by AMWA member Dr. Stephanie Van Dyke during medical school. Impressed by the lack of basic medical care in Uganda, she used her grandmother’s $30,000 bequest as seed money to fund the building of the clinic. Since opening its doors in 2006, Engeye has expanded to provide education support to local children. Founded for the relief of poverty, sickness, and distress, the Friendship Clinic Nepal supports nearly 50,000 villagers in the area around Meghauli, Chitwan, Nepal. Founder Hari Bhandari was a young Nepali Boy Scout who dreamed of helping others. Hôpital Bon Samaritain (HBS) is a full service hospital with outreach programs in the river valley of Limbé, Haiti. Since 1953, Hôpital Bon Samaritain has provided health care services for the greater population of the Limbé Valley, located in the Département du Nord. Travel grants have allowed students and residents to serve in India, Ecuador, Kenya, Zambia, Haiti, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Bolivia, Iran, Peru, and India. In 2014, AWHS began awarding Community Project grants for students and residents to encourage member advocacy and community empowerment. Projects under way include work with needs assessment of rural and marginalized communities both in the United States and abroad as well as partnerships with community outreach programs. This initiative was funded by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.


Postcards from the Field, the AWHS newsletter published by Jean Chavez, helps share students’ work and experiences around the world. The work of AWHS continues today thanks to the dedicated leadership of AMWA members and generous donations from AMWA members and supporters, particularly the Meehan and Xpu foundations. During recent decades, AWHS chairs have included Dr. Roberta Rubin, Dr. Anne Barlow, Dr. Eliza Chin, Dr. Laura Helfman, Dr. Dyani Loo, Dr. Neelum Aggarwal, and Dr. Connie Newman. The AMWA Foundation The AMWA Foundation, which was established in 1990, supported educational, research, scholarship, and service projects during its 15-year tenure. Some of the Foundation’s notable projects included: • support for AWHS • support for the Student Loan Program • development of a Model Day Care Manual in collaboration with the National Association of HospitalAffiliated Child Care Programs • development of the Women’s Health Curriculum, a continuing medical education program to promote a comprehensive, coordinated approach to women’s health care • an updated edition of the medical student resource, “Career Choices for Women in Medicine” • The Women’s Smoking Cessation Project. AMWA Product Acceptance Program During its tenure, the AMWA Product Acceptance Program endorsed non-prescription products approved by the FDA related to women’s health. The products underwent extensive review by AMWA’s Scientific Evaluation Council and those

approved received the AMWA Seal of Acceptance and Acceptance Statement. Products endorsed in 1991 included Gyne-Lotrimin® and Stay Free Ultra Plus®. Though this program was not continued, products that received the AMWA Seal of Acceptance can still be found on pharmacy shelves. The Reproductive Health Initiative (RHI) In 1993, AMWA launched the Reproductive Health Initiative (RHI) – a program to improve reproductive health training, including family planning and abortion, in medical schools and to train physicians in the latest reproductive health developments. The program included: (1) Review of current medical school curricula in reproductive health (2) Identification of a model curriculum (3) A one-day reproductive health program at medical schools with encouragement that they adopt the program into their own curricula (4) Development of a one-month, fourth-year student elective in reproductive health (5) AMWA grant awards in reproductive health to honor outstanding abortion providers (6) Publication of a special Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association (JAMWA) issue on reproductive health RHI continued to flourish under AMWA until 2005, when it was transferred to the Association of Reproductive Health Physicians (ARHP). Medical Education Over the past 25 years, AMWA has participated in a number of medical education initiatives. • AMWA collaborated with the Medical College of Pennsylvania to


AMWA HISTORY, 1990-2015

create the National Academy on Women’s Health Medical Education (NAWHME), to focus on women’s health in medical education. The CDC awarded AMWA a threeyear, $450,000 grant for educational programs on the early detection and control of breast and cervical cancer. This project was led by Dr. Diana Dell and Dr. Janet Osuch. A number of educational programs were developed in the 1990s, most notably, the Master Faculty for AMWA’s Education Project on Coronary Heart Disease in Women chaired by Dr. Debra Judelson. From 1993 to 1996, AMWA’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Education Project for Primary Care Providers held 35 workshops across the country. Jointly sponsored by the CDC, more than 1,000 healthcare providers were trained. In 1997, AMWA was awarded a substantial grant from the Department of Defense to provide breast cancer training to more than 6,000 primary care managers in the United States and abroad. Other programs included the Overactive Bladder Project (led by Dr. Jean Fourcroy) and master training sessions on medical abortion. Advancing Women’s Health was created as an online digital library by AMWA and the American College of Women’s Health Physicians (ACWHP). Later named the Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative (SGWHC), which was co-founded by AMWA, the American College of Women’s Health Physicians (ACWHP), and the Society for Women’s Health Research, this initiative aims to create a repository of educational materials addressing sex- and gender-specific issues in women’s health based on medical evidence. AMWA leaders


Dr. Jan Werbinski and Dr. Kim Templeton are currently executive director and president of the collaborative, respectively. • AMWA, the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, the Mayo Clinic, and the Society for Women’s Health Research are cosponsoring a Summit on Sex and Gender Medical Education (October 2015) that will bring together educators from medical schools nationwide to create a roadmap for the integration of sex and gender medicine into the medical school curriculum. • Through its initiative Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH), AMWA hopes to educate health care providers to better recognize and treat victims of human trafficking. Public Health In keeping with tradition, AMWA continued to focus efforts on public health education: • In 1993, Dr. Leah Dickstein was one of seven prominent women’s health experts asked to deliver comments to representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about the progress on the women’s health objectives of Healthy People 2000, a comprehensive strategic plan for health promotion among the American public. • In 1994, AMWA was one of nine organizations chosen for a $3.6 million grant project funded by the CDC to reduce tobacco use and fight smoking-related disease and death. AMWA fought against smoking ads targeted toward women and issued its own propaganda with the slogans, “Tobacco Industry Beware: Sisterhood is powerful. Targeting women may be hazardous to your health” and “Virginia Slime … It’s a Cancer Thing.”

• In 1996, AMWA published the guide, Developing a Child Care Program: A Health System DecisionMaking Guide, which provided information, tools, and a model for developing and implementing a quality child care program. • Your Thyroid Gland Central was a nationwide campaign that featured Olympic Gold Medalist Gail Devers, offered free thyroid screening, and raised awareness of thyroid disease. • In 1999, AMWA spearheaded the first National Summit on Cervical Cancer with the National Cervical Cancer Public Education Campaign in Washington, D.C., in January. The purpose of this initiative was to educate women about the link between human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer as well as improved detection techniques. • In 2002, AMWA partnered with the HHS’ Office on Women’s Health to hold the first National Town Hall on Menopause. The half-day conference, moderated by AMWA President Dr. Omega Logan Silva, addressed current and new advances in menopause, its symptoms and related conditions, and the implications for public policy. • In 2006-2007, AMWA President Dr. Susan Ivey worked with a coalition of organizations on improving awareness of cervical cancer prevention and detection. • In 2007, AMWA partnered with Women in Government to create materials for the preventive care for older adults. • In 2008, AMWA launched its Strong to the Bone campaign to promote osteoporosis awareness by creating an informational website for screening women. • AMWA’s more recent public health initiatives have included: 1. Obesity initiatives, in support


AMWA HISTORY, 1990-2015

of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative 2. Cervical cancer prevention, in partnership with the Pearl of Wisdom campaign 3. Education on alcohol use in young women 4. Support of the Surgeon General’s National Prevention Strategy 5. Collaboration on obesity education with the Obesity Society 6. Establishment of an AMWA Preventive Medicine Task Force by Dr. Farzanna Haffizulla. The task force has authored position statements, created educational brochures, produced an Android app – AMWA Preventive Services – that provides a centralized hub of trusted information resources for both patients and providers, and launched Healthy, Humble, and Hungry, a health campaign with Olympic triple medalist Katie Hoff. AMWA Fellowship Program During her presidency, Haffizulla established AMWA’s Fellowship Program, which recognizes distinguished members of AMWA who have accomplished outstanding achievements in science, medicine, or academia. Fellowship criteria include leadership, teaching, publications, AMWA ambassadorship, service, and more. Fellows are inducted at the AMWA Annual Meeting, with the first inductees introduced at the AMWA Centennial Meeting. Fellows are authorized to use the letters FAMWA (Fellow of the American Medical Women’s Association) after their name, provided that they remain a current member of AMWA. Other Initiatives Breast Cancer Task Force The Breast Cancer Task Force was


founded by AMWA President Dr. Eleni Tousimis to raise awareness and provide resources for women about the prevention, detection, and treatment of breast cancer. The task force has authored three position papers on breast cancer in the past two years.

Literary Arts and Medicine Task Force The Literary Arts and Medicine Task Force is being formed to bring together women physicians who want to promote literary arts in conjunction with medicine and support initiatives fostering the literary arts.

Corporate Advisory Board This group is composed of AMWA’s corporate members and provides resources and input to the AMWA leadership.

Mentorship Committee AMWA recognizes the importance of effective mentorship in determining career success for women physician leaders. Mentorship is a priority, and the Mentorship Committee helps to coordinate and promote AMWA’s Mentoring Program.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee AMWA is dedicated to increasing the participation and fostering the leadership of women and minorities within the organization and in the broader medical community. As such, AMWA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee founded by Dr. Neelum Aggarwal (Chief Diversity Officer) guides leadership in implementing strategies to increase, enhance, and sustain diversity within the organization and serves as the primary advisory body to the organization’s chapters and other affinity groups. It is organized into three subcommittees: the Racial and Ethnic Diversity Subcommittee, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Coalition (LGBTQ) Subcommittee, and the Military and Veteran Affairs Subcommittee.

Networking Alliance AMWA’s Networking Alliance was established during Chin’s presidency to bring together professional medical associations for collaboration, networking, and sharing of resources.

Documentary Task Force The Documentary Task Force leads the effort to develop a documentary celebrating the history of AMWA or, more broadly, the history of women in medicine.

Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH) AMWA’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was launched in 2013 by Dr. Suzanne Harrison and Dr. Holly Atkinson to develop position statements and programs within AMWA that would increase awareness and prevention of human trafficking. In 2014, Dr. Kanani Titchen and filmmaker Stuart Culpepper created a series of educational videos for use by health care workers through an interactive website, www.doc-path. org. Now known as PATH (Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans), the committee continues to seek opportunities for training, advocacy, and education among health care providers.

JAMWA The JAMWA committee plans to reestablish JAMWA as a digital, peerreviewed, and indexed journal. JAMWA was a peer-reviewed medical journal focused solely on women’s health issues that also championed women in medicine as authors and scientists.

Social Media Committee The Social Media Committee manages and coordinates content for the AMWA member blog as well as AMWA’s accounts on Facebook and Twitter. This committee has significantly increased AMWA’s online presence within the medical community.


AMWA HISTORY, 1990-2015

AMWA Organizational Structure Expansion AMWA membership includes physicians, nurses, allied health providers, supporters, and students. During the past two decades, the Student Division, modeled after the AMWA Physician Division to include a wide network of local branches and regional directors, expanded to provide a larger leadership network. AMWA also founded a Resident Division in 2010 under the leadership of Dr. Elmira Basaly and Dr. Lauren Sparber and a separate Pre-medical Division in 2013. An affiliate membership program was introduced in 2014 by Haffizulla, with the American College of Physicians as AMWA’s first affiliate member organization. AMWA Management AMWA Executive Director Eileen McGrath, JD, led the organization for nearly 14 years until 2002. During this time, the executive offices were strategically moved from New York City to Alexandria, Virginia, to be closer to the Capitol and facilitate AMWA’s advocacy work. AMWA branches continued to expand, and by 1992, there were 75 active physician branches and 109 student branches. In 2002, Linda Hallman became the new executive director. The Foundation and the association merged into a single 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization. In 2006, AMWA faced significant economic challenges, as did many other nonprofit organizations. Some feared that it might close down. Thanks to the strong leadership of Dr. Susan Ivey (president, 2006-2007), Dr. Diana Galindo (president, 2007-2008), and Dr. Claudia Morrissey Conlon (president, 2008-2009), AMWA was able to achieve financial security under a new management model. The services of an association management company, Fernley and Fernley based


in Philadelphia, were enlisted, and the Alexandria office was closed. In 2012, under the leadership of Dr. Gayatri Devi, AMWA expanded its management model to include an association-specific executive director. AMWA moved to a new management company, Drohan Management Group (DMG), based in Reston, Virginia, and retained the services of a part-time executive director. Dr. Eliza Chin and Dr. Diane Helentjaris were co-executive directors during the three-month transitional period. Chin has continued as executive director until the present time. AMWA’s Legacy: Exhibits and Archives In 2003, AMWA co-sponsored the National Library of Medicine’s exhibition, Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians, an online exhibit that profiles hundreds of women physician leaders, past and present ( A companion gallery, Local Legends: Celebrating America’s Local Physicians, featured women physicians nominated by congressional representatives for their work within their local communities. These women were honored at the 2004 AMWA Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. AMWA’s historical documents dating back to 1915 are housed at the Archives and Special Collections of Women in Medicine at Drexel University School of Medicine. These materials, spanning AMWA’s history over the past century, are cataloged and available for researchers to access. AMWA’s Legacy Exhibit, prominently featured in the lobby of the archives building, showcases historical documents and photos that reflect AMWA’s century-old legacy. The exhibit was made possible through collaborations with Lynn Yeakel, director of the Women’s Health and Leadership Institute, and Joanne Murray, Legacy

Center director, and with the support of AMWA members nationwide. AMWA’s Legacy Exhibit was introduced in September 2010 (Women in Medicine Month) with a special ribboncutting ceremony and dedication by then-President Chin. Chin also helped establish the following web-based exhibitions to bring AMWA’s legacy to a much wider audience: Faces of AMWA was launched in 2011 to celebrate the diverse and extraordinary lives of AMWA members from 1915 to the present day. A number of volunteer researchers contributed to the biographical profiles of the early women physicians. As Morrissey Conlon remarked on the exhibition, “The assemblage of this pantheon of women leaders in medicine demonstrates a wide variety of experiences and expertise with one uniting theme: the unwavering commitment to make a difference for women, be they physicians or patients.” http:// Studio AMWA, launched in 2015, provides a gallery of art by women who practice the art and science of medicine and by those who believe in them. http:// Women Physicians in World War I, launched in 2015, commemorates the centennial of World War I and chronicles the participation of women physicians during the war as contract surgeons or humanitarian relief workers. http://www. AMWA Publications AMWA continued to publish JAMWA until 2005. Dr. Wendy Chavkin served as editor-in-chief of the journal from 1994 to 2002, and Dr. Bonnie Dattel from 2003 to 2005. From 2008 to 2012, the Journal of Women’s Health became AMWA’s official journal through a collaboration with Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


AMWA HISTORY, 1990-2015

Medical Women’s International Association


he Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) is an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) representing women doctors from six continents. The association was founded in 1919 and is therefore one of the oldest professional bodies at the international level. It is non-political, non-sectarian, and non-profit making. In 1919, the first international congress of women doctors was held in New York from Sept. 15 to Oct. 26. AMWA’s AWHS Committee took this opportunity and organized a dinner in honor of distinguished medical women from different countries who had just returned from medical relief work in France. 140 guests from 16 nations attended the festivities. Some woman doctors sensed the opportunity of forming an international association of medical women. Their suggestion was enthusiastically welcomed by the participants of the dinner. Within a few days, a Committee of Twelve was chosen by ballot and empowered to organize the Medical Women’s International Association and to nominate executive officers. The committee met on Oct. 25, 1919, and an executive committee was elected. The first MWIA president was Dr. Esther P. Lovejoy, USA. Three vice presidents, a treasurer, a recording secretary, and a corresponding secretary were also elected. A provisional constitution was adopted and provisional aims and objectives were laid down: to exchange ideas and unite efforts for the benefit of mankind. The MWIA International Congress is held every three years. The MWIA vice presidency for North America is shared between a representative from AMWA and one from the Federation of Medical Women of Canada every three years. Information adopted from the MWIA website,

A separate publication, What’s Happening in AMWA, kept members up to date on the latest news within the organization. The name of this newsletter was later changed to AMWA Connections in 1999. During the 1990s, AMWA also published several books, including: The Women’s Complete Healthbook (1995, a 720page comprehensive health book written by 58 multispecialty authors for women consumers); The Women’s Complete Wellness Book (1996, edited by Dr. Debra Judelson and Dr. Diana Dell);


Women’s Complete Health Reference (1998); The Complete Family Health Book (2001, edited by Dr. Donna Shelley, Dr. Sharyn Lenhart, Dr. Roselyn E. Epps, Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps, and AMWA staff); and a series of smaller books by medical subject – AMWA Guide to Nutrition and Wellness, AMWA Guide to Emotional Health, AMWA Guide to Cancer and Pain Management, AMWA Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, AMWA Guide to Aging, AMWA Guide to Ears, Nose, and Throat, and AMWA Guide to Sexuality. Looking Ahead Like any professional organization, AMWA has weathered economic challenges and evolved with the times. While the battle for representation and admission into medical schools may be over, challenges of gender equity, health disparity, women’s health rights, and career-life balance still remain. Of utmost importance is the mentorship of the new generation of women physicians. For the past century, AMWA has been the vision and voice of women in medicine. Looking ahead, AMWA leaders will continue to maintain their commitment to women’s health, student mentorship, leadership, health care advocacy, and education while still forging ahead to break new ground.

History of the American Women’s Hospitals Service (AWHS) By Anne Barlow, MD, Past Chair AWHS


n July 1915, at the second annual meeting of the Medical Women’s National Association (MWNA, later to become AMWA), 300 women physicians heard from Dr. Rosalie Morton, who gave an illustrated lecture on the work of women physicians in World War I. It was the norm in the United States, as in the Allied countries, to deny medical women any active role in the war effort. Morton’s lecture sparked a flame that would see the birth of the American Women’s Hospitals Committee. The name was adapted from the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, a successful organization working with military sick and wounded in France. The committee had a two-fold mission at that time: the relief of suffering through medical care and the advancement of women in the medical profession.


AMWA HISTORY, 1990-2015

Morton was the first chair of the new committee, and in 1917, Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy offered to try to determine whether the American Women’s Hospitals (AWH), then planned to be sent abroad, should be for maternity or general service. Lovejoy went to Paris in August of that year and joined the staff of the American Red Cross, working there with the American Fund for French wounded. When she came back to report to the MWNA, money had been raised and a cohort of volunteer women physicians had been registered, and the first hospital of the AWH was opened in the village of Neufmotiers, Seine-et-Marne, France, on July 28, 1918, immediately followed by a second one. With the Armistice in November, many founders of AWH realized that sickness did not end with the cessation of hostilities. They declared, “The war has been won: now the peace must be won.” So more money was raised, and during the immediate postwar years, American women physicians under the auspices of AWH met medical emergencies, established public health services, and did their best with typhoid fever, influenza, malaria, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, pneumonia, smallpox, cholera, and the many eye and skin diseases that were rife in Europe, nowhere more so than in what was then called the Balkans. In many areas, AWH provided the only medical care in the immediate postwar years. By 1922, AWH had not only provided service, but had established a number of projects and institutions that local personnel, trained by AWH, could continue. At this juncture, plans for termination of AWH were being considered. Then the Turkish government displaced to Greece the entire Christian population, burning Smyrna where refugees were waiting for transport and marching the males into the interior for slave labor or execution. This changed the course of AWH. With logistical help from the American Red Cross and under the aegis of the Greek government, AWH established services on the quarantine island of Macronissi, an 11-mile barren rock. Here, three AWH women cared for 12,000 refugees, training and recruiting helpers from among them. Meanwhile, Lovejoy, having used her considerable abilities to raise private money, was made president of MWIA, which she helped found in 1919. In addition, she was made chair of AWH the same year and set about almost single-handedly to raise more money and then oversee the spending of it. In 1922, she was able to attend the founding of an AWH pediatric hospital in Scutari, Turkey, staffed by American women physicians. Under her leadership, the general principles under which the work continues were formulated. Although continuing for some time under the auspices of AMWA, AWH was incorporated separately in 1959 as the American Women’s Hospitals Service, Inc. (AWHS),


but the principles remain the same. AWHS gives small grants to clinics ignored by the large charitable groups. The grants are given, where possible, after visitation by one of the committee members or referred to AWHS by friends who have visited. Originally, all were overseas, at different times in France, Great Britain, Holland, Norway, Finland, Austria, Greece, the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Armenia, Russia, India, Thailand, Chile, Bolivia, and Haiti. During the years of the Great Depression, AWHS was also immunizing children in Kentucky, supporting a midwife there, and helping a clinic for miners in Tennessee, which continues to this day, although now not exclusively for miners and their families. “AWHS does not buy bricks and mortar,” as Dr. Alma dea Morani always said. She assumed the chair of AWHS in 1967, when Lovejoy, at 90, resigned. Indeed, the grants from AWHS are targeted at providing staff for clinics already in operation. For instance, for many years, AWHS, starting in 1961, supplied both money and medicines to Dr. Ruth Tichauer for assistance in running her remarkable roadside clinics for the Aymara Indians in Bolivia. This allowed her to hire a nurse from the local population. Several members of the committee have visited Tichauer, now sadly no more. A documentary called Doctora was made some years ago about Tichauer and may still be available. From 1967, AWHS operated from a one-room office in New York City, with a full-time secretary. When the secretary was retiring, Morani came to AMWA to see if there was interest in again joining the two entities. This occurred in 1983 and is still in force today. An AWHS program that is very popular with the medical student members of AMWA is the travel grant. Awarded to students who have been accepted into a medical schoolsponsored overseas clinic program, AWHS provides help in paying the travel costs to get the students to their overseas destination. Students must fill out a lengthy application, have approval of their school’s dean, and write a report, if possible with pictures, on return. Two to three students are usually chosen each year. In 2010, AWHS had grantees in Haiti, Uganda, Vietnam, India, Barbados, South Africa, and Nepal. In the United States, we help out clinics in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C. Obviously the economic climate has hurt our loyal donors. For many years, we were able to fund half our budget from donations and half from endowment investments. Both these sources are drying up. We will, however, continue as best we can as even our small grants enable desperately needed medical care for women and children, according to our mission. From 1917 to 2015, this small group has sought to make a difference and we believe that we have.


The Anatomy of AMWA

The Anatomy of AMWA A look at the organization’s committees, working groups, and task forces

“To advance women in the medical field and to improve women’s health.” While the words that communicate the mission of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) are plain and straightforward, no one could ever assert that the path to achieving that simply stated mission is as effortless. Two such ambitious goals require tireless dedication and work, and AMWA’s members have created various committees to delegate responsibilities and efficiently channel their efforts. And indeed, the array of committees, working groups, and task forces is evidence of just how much AMWA takes on. AMWA leaders and members, through these groups, keep the organization running effectively so that it can continue to be a force and a voice for women in the medical profession as well as for the women they serve. Additionally, the groups serve as avenues through which members can address specific health issues or causes or undertake special projects. The brief descriptions of AMWA’s different committees that follow provide a snapshot of how the organization works to realize its admirable mission. Standing Committees AMWA has four Standing Committees: American Women’s Hospitals Service, Executive, Finance & Audit, and Governance. These standing committees consist of two or more members of the board of directors, may be designated and appointed by a resolution adopted by a majority of directors in office, and shall have the powers and duties specified in the bylaws or in such resolution.

American Women’s Hospitals Service (AWHS) In keeping with AMWA’s mission to improve care to the medically underserved,


AWHS provides ongoing funding to small, community-based, nonprofit clinics and hospitals that give care to those in need of medical services. It also continues to identify additional clinics and projects for the poor that receive limited financial support, are staffed and directed by women physicians, and focus on medical care for all with the emphasis on the care of women and children. It regularly reviews its commitment to clinics and hospitals it supports, attempting to provide funds to clinics that give the most direct patient care. AWHS also provides funding to women medical students and residents who travel to medically underserved areas in the United States and abroad to work in approved programs that provide medical care for residents. Community-based project grants support the work of AMWA members in underserved communities.

Executive The Executive Committee consists of the president, who acts as committee chairman; the president-elect; the immediate past president; the secretary; and the treasurer. The Executive Committee has and exercises the authority of the board of directors between meetings of the board, except as prohibited by Section 712 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law or any related or successor section.

Finance & Audit The Finance & Audit Committee regularly reviews the financial affairs of AMWA and makes recommendations to the AMWA treasurer and board of directors. In concert with AMWA Headquarters, the committee considers proposed items of expenditures and prepares and submits a budget for the ensuing year to the board of directors at the interim meeting. It reviews the results of the audit; assures that the audit recommendations are appropriately addressed; assures auditors’ independence from management; and serves as liaison between management and independent auditors.

Governance The Governance Committee assists the board of directors in planning; annual review of committee and task group needs; board orientation and education; composition of the board, including recruitment and nomination of candidates for elected office; leadership succession, board, and CEO evaluations; and policies and bylaws. AMWA Committees, Working Groups, and task forces AMWA’s bylaws allow for the formation of “special” or “other” committees as needed to further the goals and conduct the work of the association: “Other committees may be designated by a resolution adopted by a majority of the Executive Committee or the Board of Directors … and shall have the powers and duties specified in such resolution.” The chairs of these committees and working groups are appointed by the AMWA president.

Advocacy and Policy Committee The Advocacy and Policy Committee informs members of public issues of in-


The Anatomy of AMWA

terest to AMWA and informs the board of directors of proposed federal or significant state legislation related to women in the areas of medical care, health, and welfare. The committee represents AMWA before legislative and administrative agencies.

coordinates AMWA activities surrounding Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Corporate Advisory Board This group is composed of AMWA’s corporate members and provides resources and input to the AMWA leadership.

Archives Committee The Archives Committee is responsible for collecting and properly maintaining essential historical documents of AMWA, either in the National Office or in a safe repository designated by the board of directors (currently at Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine, Drexel University); collecting and preserving historical material pertaining to women in medicine; and preparing exhibits and other educational activities.

Awards Committee All awards presented by AMWA, except as otherwise provided in other committee charges, are administered by the Awards Committee. The committee develops procedures for the administration of all AMWA awards; considers, researches, and recommends new awards; and develops procedures for selecting the recipients of awards granted by AMWA to ensure continuity, uniformity, and procedural consistency in the selection process. The committee submits its recommendations for awards to the board of directors for approval.

Branches Committee The Branches Committee works to build and support AMWA branches across the country to provide ways for AMWA members to connect locally.

Breast Cancer Task Force The Breast Cancer Task Force aims to raise awareness and provide resources for women about the prevention, detection, and treatment of breast cancer, and has published position papers and held events in pursuit of its mission. The task force reviews and analyzes recommendations for breast cancer detection and treatment and


Faces of AMWA The Faces of AMWA committee is responsible for the maintenance and expansion of the Faces of AMWA online exhibition, which celebrates the achievements of AMWA leaders and members, past and present.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee AMWA is dedicated to increasing the participation and fostering the leadership of women and minorities within the organization and in the broader medical community. As such, AMWA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee guides leadership in implementing strategies to increase, enhance, and sustain diversity within the organization and serves as the primary advisory body to the organization’s chapters and other affinity groups. It is organized into three subcommittees: the Racial and Ethnic Diversity Subcommittee, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Coalition Subcommittee, and the Military and Veteran Affairs Subcommittee.

Documentary Task Force The Documentary Task Force leads the effort to develop a documentary celebrating the history of AMWA and women in medicine.

Dr. Linda Brodsky Fund Advisory Board The Dr. Linda Brodsky Memorial Fund was established in 2014 to honor the memory of Dr. Linda Brodsky, a pediatric ENT surgeon and creator of Women MD Resources who advocated for gender equity in the medical field and cared deeply about mentorship of young women in medicine. The fund, administered by the advisory board, endorses Brodsky’s passions for gender equity, medical student success, clinical research, and the advancement of women physicians by supporting the Brodsky Memorial Scholarship and related initiatives promoting gender equity in medicine.

Fellowship Program Task Force The Fellowship Program Task Force develops and maintains the AMWA Fellowship Program, which was created in 2014 to honor distinguished women physicians for their achievements in academia, research, clinical work, and leadership. The first AMWA Fellows will be inducted at the 2015 Annual Meeting.

Fundraising Committee The Fundraising Committee works with AMWA staff to seek new fundraising opportunities and collaborations for the AMWA board of directors’ consideration. The committee develops, facilitates, and monitors a formal fundraising and planned giving program for AMWA.

Gender Equity Task Force AMWA’s Gender Equity Task Force strives to accomplish gender equity as a fact of life in society and to engage in activities, action, and collaborations pursuant to this goal, beginning with the health care industry, of which women physicians are one component.

Global Health The Global Health committee develops global health initiatives for AMWA that promote women’s health and women’s leadership around the world.

JAMWA The JAMWA committee plans to reestablish the Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association (JAMWA) as a digital, peer-reviewed, and indexed journal. JAMWA was a peer-reviewed medical journal focused solely on women’s health


Georgetown Women in Medicine congratulates

The Vision and Voice of Women in Medicine

on their 100 years! Georgetown Women in Medicine Promoting the professional advancement of women faculty at Georgetown University School of Medicine

To our colleagues at AMWA, On behalf of the American Association for Physician Leadership速 and its 11,000 members, I would like to extend my congratulations on your centennial anniversary. As an organization dedicated to promoting the cause of physician leadership, we appreciate your commitment to improving health care by providing women with the education and support they need to create positive change within our industry. As we all know, there is a growing demand for skilled clinical leadership within health care. Multiple studies have shown that companies that include women in their top management structure tend to be more profitable, innovative and successful. As such, we pledge to support AMWA as you continue to mentor, train and empower women physicians to assume the leadership roles our industry needs. Thank you again for all that you do for women, for physicians and for health care as a whole. Sincerely,

Peter Angood, MD, FRCS(C), FACS, MCCM President and CEO American Association for Physician Leadership速

AMWA.indd 1

1/7/15 8:41 AM

The Anatomy of AMWA

issues that also championed women in medicine as authors and scientists.

Literary Arts and Medicine Task Force The Literary Arts and Medicine Task Force works to bring together women physicians who want to promote literary arts in conjunction with medicine and support initiatives fostering the literary arts.

Membership Committee The Membership Committee is responsible for recruitment and retention programs, recommendations to the board of directors on membership types and criteria as well as monitoring the membership process with Headquarters. Taking into account member input, the committee determines, monitors, and strengthens AMWA’s initiatives and services.

Mentorship Committee AMWA recognizes the importance of effective mentorship in determining career success for women physician leaders. Mentorship is a priority, and the Mentorship Committee helps to coordinate and promote AMWA’s Mentoring Program.

Past Presidents’ Council This council, composed of all AMWA past presidents, serves in an advisory capacity to the AMWA board.

Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH) PATH is a committee within AMWA that helps increase awareness and prevention of human trafficking through the development of position statements, education initiatives, advocacy efforts, and other programs. Educational videos for use by health care workers and the general public are available at

Preventive Medicine Task Force The Preventive Medicine Task Force seeks to improve the access and information flow of preventive medical services and disease management


across the country. The eventual goal is to link all departments of health and community programs by state. Reducing negative disease burdens as well as promoting good health, wellness, and fitness is central to the work of this task force.

Program Committee The Program Committee works to plan events surrounding the Annual Meeting. It makes a recommendation to the board on which organization to align with for the Annual Meeting, identifies speakers/guests to invite, and plans other events as needed.

Public Relations Committee The Public Relations Committee promotes AMWA in the media and establishes a Speaker’s Bureau to be a resource for the media.

Publications Committee The Publications Committee coordinates the publication of the quarterly AMWA Connections member newsletter as well as provides assistance and news feeds for the biweekly AMWA NewsFlash.

Senior Physicians Committee AMWA’s Senior Physicians Committee provides educational and social opportunities to senior members of the association, utilizes the expertise of senior members in AMWA activities, and encourages networking between senior members and mentoring between senior members and medical students.

Social Media Committee The Social Media Committee manages and coordinates content for the AMWA member blog as well as AMWA’s accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

Studio AMWA Committee Founded in 2015, this committee has developed and launched an online ex-

hibition celebrating the art of AMWA members and supporters.

Traveling Exhibit The Traveling Exhibit Committee plans to create and manage a traveling exhibit about AMWA that will be displayed at medical centers around the country during AMWA’s centennial year.

Website Committee The Website Committee coordinates content and updates for AMWA’s website as needed.

Women’s Health Working Group The Women’s Health Working Group provides expertise on women’s health topics for position statements, programs, special projects, media, and other needs. This committee’s focus on sex- and gender-specific medicine led to the co-founding of the Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative.

Women Physicians in World War I Project The Women Physicians in World War I committee was established to create a commemorative exhibit online for the centennial of World War I, highlighting the role of women physicians in the United States. Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) Each full member of AMWA holds membership in MWIA, an organization founded in 1919 to represent women in the medical profession at an international scale. MWIA’s goals and purpose align with those of AMWA: advancing women medical professionals in the field and addressing gender inequity as well as providing a space in which women in medicine from around the world can connect and share experience and knowledge.




In the course of its history, AMWA has produced various publications for its membership, medical journals and organization newsletters alike. The publications, past and present, have served to keep members informed and connected.

Though it was established in the late 19th century before the 1915 founding of AMWA – and was originally titled Woman’s Medical Journal – Medical Woman’s Journal became the young organization’s official publication. The journal featured medical articles, monthly AMWA news, and other items of interest to women physicians.

Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association/ Women in Medicine The Bulletin of the Medical Women’s National Association (1922-1934) focused on the state of women physicians in professional and educational settings in the United States and around the world. Articles included profiles of pioneering women in the medical profession, discussions of attitudes toward women in medicine,


and missives from abroad describing the standing of women physicians in different countries. The publication was named Women in Medicine from 1934 to 1946.

The Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association The Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association (JAMWA) was for a time the only peer-reviewed medical journal to focus solely on women’s health and to support women in medicine as authors and scientists. The journal was published from 1946 to 1970 and from 1972 to 2005. Though JAMWA is no longer in print, AMWA plans to bring this publication back in digital format as a peer-reviewed, indexed journal.

Woman Physician During the years 1970 to 1972, AMWA published Woman Physician

instead of the Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association (JAMWA).

Journal of Women’s Health Through a collaboration with Liebert, Inc., the Journal of Women’s Health was AMWA’s official publication from 2008 to 2012. The Journal of Women’s Health covers the latest advancements in science and technology related to the medical care and health of women.

AMWA Connections AMWA Connections, formerly What’s Happening in AMWA, is AMWA’s quarterly electronic newsletter. It not only keeps members up to speed on events and issues affecting the professional development of women in medicine and the health of women and their families, it also provides information on AMWA news and events.


Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

Medical Woman’s Journal

Image courtesy of Mary Anne Liebert, Inc.


AMWA NewsFlash NewsFlash is a biweekly electronic newsletter that disseminates updates on AMWA news, advocacy issues, news in women’s health, and other health and professional information.

Postcards from the Field The newest AMWA publication, Postcards from the Field is a newsletter comprising updates and essays of personal reflection from AMWA student members studying or working abroad. The intent behind the newsletter is to share the perspectives of AMWA members working with underserved communities and to raise awareness of the issues those populations face.

sky, MD Essay Award. Dr. Linda Brodsky was a pediatric otolaryngologist in Buffalo, New York, and a lifetime member of AMWA. She had been a role model and mentor to many physicians throughout her career. In 2000, she became an activist for fair treatment of women physicians after winning a lawsuit against her university and local hospital for pay discrimination.

AMWA Resident Quarterly The AMWA Resident Quarterly is a quarterly publication of the AMWA Resident Division that includes news from the division along with articles written by resident members.

AMWA Student Newsflash AMWA’s Linda Brodsky Memorial Journal AMWA uses the services of the Medical Student Press to publish honorably mentioned submissions to the Linda Brod-


The AMWA Student Newsflash is a monthly publication of the AMWA Student Division that includes news from the division along with articles written by student members.


Advancing Women in medicine

AMWA Panels Address the Needs of Current and Future Physicians By Charles Dervarics

With its nationwide reach, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) places a high priority on meeting member needs. That’s why it supports a variety of initiatives to advance issues of importance to physicians in the 21st century – including a focus on gender equity, inclusion, and mentoring the next generation of women physicians. “We have a diverse group of leaders who are championing these issues,” said Dr. Eliza Lo Chin, executive director of AMWA. “And we work within a model that brings input from medical students and residents as well as experienced physicians.” To accomplish the important work of AMWA, the association relies on several committees or sections that take up top issues of concern as outlined by members. In an innovative management structure, each of these panels typically has several co-chairs including one representing physicians and others representing residents and students. “This strategy is a win-win for all our divisions as we want to unify the association,” Chin said. “Our students work side by side with physicians, with both groups bringing a unique set of talents.” Some of AMWA’s most important work on behalf of the profession comes in the form of three panels – some relatively new – devoted to gender equity, diversity and inclusion, and mentorship. With a fourth priority


on meeting the needs of physicians in crisis, these internal association groups work within AMWA and with external organizations to address challenging issues facing women physicians today. Mentoring the Future Workforce Building the next generation of women physicians means a commitment to mentoring, something AMWA is embracing with full force. Recent member surveys indicated a strong interest in the topic, said Dr. Chemen Tate, physician chair of AMWA’s Mentorship Committee. The question is how best to conduct it effectively. “One-to-one mentoring can be difficult to do in a large organization,” Tate said, which is why the committee is emphasizing both in-person and online mentoring through webinars and other tech-friendly formats. For 2015, the Mentorship Committee set a goal to bring Web conferencing capability to members. This led to a series of interactive webinars on topics such as delegation, networking,

preparing for standardized tests, and interviewing skills. Through Adobe Connect software, each event lasts one hour, with expert presentations and slide shows summarizing key points for discussion. Through targeted emails, AMWA invites 40 to 50 individuals per session, and typically about 20 attend live. Future topics will include work/family balance and what to look for in evaluating whether to join a practice. Sessions occur about every other month. “Participation feedback has been great,” Tate said, with the committee conducting polls after each webinar. “They have access to experts and can talk to them.” Another focus of mentoring is to provide opportunities for rural or smalltown physicians to connect either in person or online to talk about various workplace challenges. “There are a lot of physicians in smaller cities, and it’s important for their happiness to check in with other people in similar locations or who may work in their specialty.” For the 100th anniversary AMWA meeting in Chicago, the committee


advancing women in medicine

will host a mentor meeting as well as a Mentoring Nook where people can meet. Facebook and Twitter updates will identify who is available at the nook at a certain time, whether it be a conference speaker or mentors in specific specialties. “We also want to bring in speakers before or after their talks, even for just 15 minutes,” she said. The nook also will include questions to use as conversation starters. “Most of us are trained as scientists,” Tate noted. “Business and social networking isn’t something that is part of our training.” The conversation starters are one way to help individuals build mentoring skills. “There should be a way for people to talk to national leaders and not feel awkward. This is our attempt to address that.” A mentorship breakfast at the conference also will provide opportunities to meet one-on-one to gain insights. “Mentorship is all about providing a tool set,” said Tate, an assistant professor at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. She said she has a special interest and passion for career advising, since she wants physicians to be happy in their jobs. “Many times you ask people about their job and they say, ‘It’s OK.’ But you should be happy with how you spend your time,” she added. “I think some people aren’t aware of all the things you can do as a physician.” Promoting Equity Another priority within AMWA is gender equity. While the association has focused on this issue for decades, it remains at the forefront after a 2011 study found new male physicians earning, on average, $17,000 more than female physicians. The topic also is significant since women are the fastest-growing demographic among physicians, comprising half of all graduating medical school classes.


AMWA formally re-launched its Gender Equity Task Force in 2010 with priority issues such as salaries and work environments, says Dr. Roberta Gebhard, the current chair. In its mission statement, the panel seeks to secure “gender equity as a fact of life in society” and to engage in activities and collaborations – starting with the health care industry. “We’re a dynamic group of women physicians that want to improve the culture of medicine,” Gebhard said. Student co-chairs of the task force are Nicole Fregosi and Florence Doo, and the resident co-chair is Dr. Shalena Gallagher-Garza. The task force has eight core goals and objectives, including one to educate all health care professionals on the importance of establishing gender equity in the health care system, starting with women physicians. Other objectives of the task force are to: • Form a networking alliance among female physicians through a database of contacts; • Emphasize the importance of gender equity as a workforce and health care reform issue; • Create a library of useful resources on gender equity in the medical profession to share with others; • Research and identify other organizations with gender equity initiatives; and • Create educational materials and a speaker’s bureau on gender equity issues. In 2012, the AMWA Gender Equity Task Force was awarded the Joan M. Giambalvo Grant by the American Medical Association Women Physician’s Congress to study the work habits of women physicians. The task force is also publishing a white paper on that same issue. One key priority of the task force is educating women physicians about

their rights and how to protest rights violations, which can include retaliation through untrue or unfair evaluations, exclusion, and firing, as well as de facto discrimination. The association’s formal position is “zero tolerance of gender stereotyping, gendered harassment, disparities in compensation, disparities in access to career development resources, the creation of a hostile work or learning environment.” The task force is also preparing a manuscript for publication based on a survey of physicians on bullying through a partnership with the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. “We’re not surprised to learn that women are bullied more than men.” In Washington, D.C., task force members helped organize an advocacy day on Capitol Hill to support gender equity in salaries and equity of opportunities in health care. One particular issue key for Gebhard is more transparency on salaries. “With transparency on salaries, everyone will know what everyone else makes. When you keep them secret, it can be discriminatory.” In addition, the task force has set up the Dr. Linda Brodsky Memorial Fund, which honors Dr. Linda Brodsky (one of the founding co-chairs of the task force) by endorsing her passion for gender equity, medical student success, clinical research, and the advancement of women physicians. The fund supports the Brodsky Memorial Scholarship and related initiatives promoting gender equity in medicine. In addition, AMWA continues to maintain Women MD Resources (www.womenmdresources. com), a site developed by Brodsky as a resource for women in medicine at all stages of their careers. Information on donating to the memorial fund is available at


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Diversity and Inclusion In promoting the profession, AMWA also has taken steps to promote diversity and inclusion both in the association and within the medical field. “We recognized that our newly trained physicians and patients that we serve are becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, and yet we did not have a structured committee to address the needs of our diverse membership,” said AMWA Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Neelum Aggarwal. To support that goal, AMWA recently created the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Section. Among key early milestones, physicians active in this section have: • Designed a diversity and inclusion survey to better understand the membership and its needs; • Published a cultural cookbook with recipes from around the world to highlight the diverse membership of AMWA and to honor its centennial; • Sponsored annual meeting workshops on minority pipeline programs and specific health challenges in the minority community; and • Created new educational programming and written articles on diversity and inclusion issues. The D&I Section’s formal charge is to guide leadership in implementing strategies to increase, enhance, and sustain diversity within the organization. It also serves as the primary advisory body on the issue to AMWA chapters and other affinity groups. “We formed this committee to offer mentoring, cultural competency training, professional development, and community and public service programs,” Aggarwal said. Another goal is to set up a resource database of articles and other materials on diversity and inclusion topics. The group also has spent its


early days setting up a subcommittee structure, conducting monthly calls, and developing plans for webinars and scholarship programs. Aggarwal said the section’s work is divided among three subcommittees, each of which includes a physician, resident, and student co-chair who work together to address identified goals affecting audiences from medical students to physicians. “This is extremely important as it allows topdown and down-up communication that will enhance our work,” she said. The three subcommittees are: • Racial and Ethnic Diversity Subcommittee: This panel develops initiatives to promote the success of minorities in medicine and create an environment that reflects the strength of minority physician, resident, and student members. This subcommittee publishes articles in AMWA’s NewsFlash and Connections newsletter and developed poster presentations for the upcoming AMWA annual meeting on topics such as minority physicians and stroke treatment in multi-ethnic communities. • Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Coalition Subcommittee: This panel helps AMWA foster “an inclusive environment” by providing educational and mentorship opportunities for LGBTQ physicians, residents, and students, Aggarwal said. It has partnered with other LGBTQ organizations to enhance awareness of issues related to the membership. • Military and Veteran Affairs Subcommittee: This panel focuses on those who have served in the military by providing “peer support, mentoring, team building, and other methods of engagement,” she said. It also is an opportunity to explore how military service

can inform clinical practice and research. The subcommittee hosted a webinar series on military medicine with the U.S. Army and posted the webinar and related information on the AMWA blog. All subcommittees fall under the general direction of Aggarwal, who serves in a volunteer capacity as AMWA’s chief diversity officer. A longterm goal is to “develop our team to serve as champions to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion issues to outside organizations,” she said. Other New Priorities Looking to meet additional needs, the association is planning a new effort to provide resources and assistance for physicians in crisis. The first step is a new section of the AMWA website outlining some of the highest-priority issues. “Last year, we started the physicians in crisis tab on our website to help physicians with a multitude of issues, whether it is work/life balance or domestic violence or substance abuse,” said Dr. Eleni Tousimis, currently the past president of the association. So far, this Web tab includes a toolkit of resources to help physicians integrate their professional and personal lives. It includes work/life integration tips as well as a rubric to “score” a physician’s current workplace on topics related to work and family. Sections on domestic violence and substance abuse are under development, Tousimis said. Once complete, this tab will add to the growing list of resources to help women physicians successfully deal with challenges at work and in their lives. More information on the association’s resources on mentoring, gender equity, diversity and inclusion, and physicians in crisis is available on AMWA’s website, www.



On a Mission to Improve Women’s Health AMWA efforts to address health issues that affect women By Gail Gourley

Just weeks before the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) Centennial Meeting marking the organization’s century of advancing women in medicine and improving women’s health, a story appeared on a major online news website, Yahoo Health, shedding light on the complex issue of human trafficking. The article focused on a recent Berkeley, California event for health care providers organized by AMWA and its committee Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH), along with others, to heighten awareness of this pervasive problem and educate health care professionals about recognizing victims and caring for them in a safe and supportive manner. The article highlights just one of a myriad of examples showing how AMWA works to accomplish its stated mission to improve women’s health. Its members dynamically and in multiple ways address issues reflecting ongoing and current priorities, ranging from breast cancer and preventive medicine to health care reform, reproductive health, sex and gender medicine, and human trafficking. When AMWA President Dr. Gayatri Devi (2012-2013) prioritized the problem of human trafficking as crucial to address, PATH co-chairs Dr. Suzanne Harrison and Dr. Holly Atkinson formed the AMWA committee in 2013 to raise awareness and educate health care providers. “Heretofore, this was a crime that was not on our radar screen,” Atkinson said. “Unfortunately, it’s a growing crime.” Initially, committee members developed the AMWA policy statement on human trafficking – one of the first medical groups to do so, Atkinson


said. Next, they created educational videos, with PATH co-chair Dr. Kanani Titchen taking the lead based on her survey findings. “Physicians were seeing victims of human trafficking without knowing it. …We thought video would be the ideal educational medium: accessible, efficient, and dynamic,” remarked Titchen. “Awareness is a huge issue for medical students, residents, and physicians. It is our hope that training increases for all, and that curricula in medical schools and residencies begin to address recognition of human trafficking and intervention techniques when a survivor is identified,” said Harrison. While PATH members “have been using the videos to educate medical students, residents, and physicians,” said Atkinson, “we’re also looking for these videos to be shared more widely to educate both health care professionals and the public.” ( The committee now aims to increase the number of community

events, like the one described in the online article that was co-sponsored by a Berkeley church. They’d like to assemble an educational resource tool that will allow people to do their own local events, Atkinson said. “It could be within the walls of a hospital; it could be like this one was, in concert with churches and temples and other religious-based organizations. You can do it with NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] in your community. We’re really urging other people who have the capacity to use these videos and other educational resources to have community events.” Atkinson stressed that many trafficking victims are minors. “We’re hoping that pediatricians who are out in the field and are already doing work in child abuse and neglect and have an expertise in that area can come up to speed on trafficking and incorporate some of this material into their work. “Physicians have not been trained in this before and our real message is, first



and foremost, we have to [educate] everybody – physicians out in practice, residents, and of course medical students,” Atkinson said, adding, “Medical students are very passionate about making a difference in this area. I think we’re going to start to see medical schools incorporate this into training, because medical students for the most part are really in touch with social issues, and all it takes is a small cadre of medical students to change something at their school.” But, she continued, “We need to particularly help those physicians who are out of their residencies, out in practice, to get continuing medical education and training so they become aware of this issue and develop skills on how to offer help.” Another AMWA priority emphasizes the promotion of wellness and prevention of disease. Current AMWA President Dr. Farzanna Haffizulla founded the Preventive Medicine Task Force in 2013 and focuses on this initiative as her presidency’s main platform. “There is a great need for comprehensive education of patients on promoting disease prevention and also for providers to have resources at their fingertips,” said Haffizulla. “Instead of having everything ‘siloed’ in several different compartments throughout the country, or even in AMWA’s work, we wanted to create an organized platform from which we can promote disease prevention using the National Prevention Strategy as a guide.” One of the key outreach approaches is through the recently launched AMWA Preventive Services mobile phone app, which compiles an array of resources for both providers and patients. The app features evidence-based disease prevention and health information collected from the AMWA website, the Surgeon General, and other trusted sources, and includes a health center locator to enhance accessibility of local services.


Another educational tool is the series of videos that Haffizulla hosts with Mission Critical Health, focusing on the seven priorities outlined in the National Prevention Strategy. “That is another amplified message that goes through the entire health care system in the country, from physician offices to hospitals,” Haffizulla said, adding, “Several different facilities can access this information now that the American College of Physicians has decided to become a distribution platform.” Haffizulla emphasized that forming alliances with other like-minded national organizations is an important task force strategy. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” she said. “We can put our efforts together to really strengthen our approach and our focus and our effect on the population we’re trying to target.” An AMWA partnership with WomenHeart, for example, has encouraged efforts to refine guidelines and policies for women with heart disease on a scientific level and enhance research on sexand gender-specific medicine. AMWA also partners with HealthyWomen and offices of the National Institutes of Health to disseminate health education resources for women. “We continue to build synergistic relationships and we are using an expanded multimedia approach to amplify our message,” said Haffizulla. She added, “Our ultimate goal is to permeate all sectors and demographics within the U.S. to promote and perpetuate national health, productivity, and prosperity while enhancing the efficiency of our health care system.” One of the priorities that most recent AMWA Past President Dr. Eleni Tousimis identified was to address breast cancer as an important women’s health initiative. “Breast cancer is a very common cancer affecting women worldwide, with approximately one in

eight women affected in the United States,” she stated. “It is important for AMWA to have an active task force focusing on both physician education as well as education for the public.” Tousimis explained that the Breast Cancer Task Force initially included Dr. Nicole Sandhu, breast cancer specialist, and clinical research fellow Dr. Aiste Gulla, who updated position papers on the website. This year, they’ve collaboratively published three position papers regarding breast cancer screening, environmental factors affecting breast cancer incidence, and health care disparities in minorities with breast cancer. The group has expanded to include breast cancer specialists from New York City and has established a close collaboration with the Breast Cancer Fund from San Francisco, Tousimis noted. “Their foundation’s initiatives parallel ours and focus on advocacy, public education, and environmental factors which contribute to breast cancer.” To help disseminate important information about recent advances in breast cancer treatment to the public, Tousimis last year hosted a breast cancer symposium featuring seven physician experts to summarize developments and respond to questions. She described the response as “overwhelming,” with about 200 women attending, and stressed, “Our hope is to continue educating both physicians and the public about these important advances in the treatment of breast cancer.” The Advocacy and Policy Committee serves a critical role in influencing legislation and policy regarding women’s health, according to Dr. Norma Jo Waxman, committee co-chair. She said the committee typically receives several requests each week from organizations and advocacy groups seeking AMWA’s support for passage of healthrelated federal or state legislation,


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policy statements, or court cases. They review each request and base support on whether the goals are consistent with AMWA’s goals. For example, Waxman said, “We were actually on the amici brief against the Hobby Lobby case,” the recent high-profile Supreme Court case examining whether privately held religious corporations have the right to withhold contraceptive coverage to women, a provision included under the Affordable Care Act. Other examples of AMWA’s support include the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, requiring employers to provide reasonable, temporary workplace accommodations to pregnant workers; the Women’s Health Protection Act, protecting women’s access to reproductive care and abortion; the Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act, restoring access to coverage and allowing immigrants authorized to live and work in the United States to receive health care including reproductive and maternal services; and opposition to H.R. 36 banning abortion at 20 weeks. The committee also supported bans on environmental hazards such as phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors, and organohalogen flame retardants in children’s products and other goods. “Those are very much women’s health issues,” Waxman said. “It’s both an opportunity and an obligation that physicians speak out on things that they feel affect the health of their patients and their families,” said Waxman. “It makes a huge difference.” Health care reform as a national priority is another women’s health issue that AMWA has consistently and strongly supported. “AMWA was one of the first organizations to call for universal health care,” said AMWA Past President Dr. Omega C. Logan Silva, who made that issue a central


theme during her tenure as the organization’s president from 2000 to 2002. “We wrote up what we thought should be in a universal health care plan, what services should be offered by physicians and community health,” she said. “We had a very strong idea about what it should be and what it should cost and how it should be delivered to everyone in the United States.” Silva, current Advocacy and Policy Committee co-chair, said the organization strongly supports the Affordable Care Act, and “the majority of us want to work to make that better and to keep it in force.” She noted, however, that the political struggle is far from over. “We try to affect what Congress does and what national policy is,” she said. “So any time something comes up, we make sure that our voice is there.” Inherent in discussion of health care reform is the issue of reproductive health, another ongoing priority addressed by AMWA. In the early 1990s, the organization undertook a study of national medical school curriculum to assess how much reproductive health education was taught, according to Dr. Claudia Morrissey Conlon. “What they found was a very small percent of medical schools actually did much teaching on contraception and safe abortion,” she said. “So based on those findings, the Reproductive Health Initiative [RHI] was established in 1994.” Working closely with other organization leaders in the field of women’s health, members of the initiative’s expert advisory committee produced the AMWA reproductive health model curriculum in 1996. “The content was about teaching comprehensive reproduction health issues, including safe abortion,” Morrissey Conlon explained. “This curriculum was built on evidence-based reproductive health information, and really, I think, was the first of its kind to be available for

interested students and faculty to actually use for an elective in reproductive health.” In 2005, RHI and the curriculum were integrated into the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, which provided a platform for additional growth and extension into medical schools. “That was a seminal project undertaken by AMWA, and it moved the dial forward in terms of having medical schools understand the importance and the interest that students had in being trained in reproductive health issues,” Morrissey Conlon said. As AMWA past president in 20082009, Morrissey Conlon also worked to re-energize the Women’s Health Working Group. She said one of their first activities was “to think about how to integrate the new research findings that were coming out on sex- and gender-based differences in terms of women’s and men’s susceptibilities, the progress for various diseases, the response to medicine. … We were just starting to understand that there were basic differences in how men and women respond to medicine and various disease states.” For example, she explained, women having a myocardial infarction can present very differently than men, with symptoms like fatigue or indigestion, and especially post-menopause, often have a worse clinical course. That working group ultimately became the genesis for the Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative (SGWHC), which was co-founded by AMWA, the American College of Women’s Health Physicians, and the Society for Women’s Health Research. The collaborative, Morrissey Conlon said, works to translate sexand gender-specific information into medical education, and ultimately into clinical care of women. “The SGWHC, under the leadership of Dr.


Celebrating 100 years of Promoting Women in Medicine The University of Kansas Medical Center congratulates the American Medical Women’s Association on 100 years of advancing women in medicine and improving women’s health. KU Medical Center is committed to ensuring that women play a significant role in the future of health care in the United States.

Kim Templeton, M.D.

Professor, Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine The University of Kansas Medical Center AMWA President-elect 2015-2016


Jan Werbinski, has made critically important contributions to improving the practice of women’s health,” she said. ( And the group took it a step further. A task force then developed a list of more than 200 competencies in the field of women’s health and presented it to the National Board of Medical Examiners. They looked for gender-based content in physicians’ certifying examinations and were able to focus attention on filling identified gaps. By not only adding curricular material but also inserting questions into the board examinations, Morrissey Conlon said, “that then becomes part of the fabric of how we teach medicine and how medicine gets practiced.” The RHI and the Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative, she emphasized, “are fabulous examples of how a group of committed advocates

can come together, use evidence, and push the envelope.” To further integrate sex and gender medicine into the medical education curriculum, AMWA is now working with the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, Mayo Clinic, the Society for Women’s Health Research, and other members of the SGWHC to organize a Sex and Gender Medical Education Summit at Mayo Clinic in 2015. This summit will be the first of its kind, a national collaboration dedicated to engaging educational thought leaders in creating a roadmap to integrate sex- and gender-based evidence into medical and inter-professional education. A representative from each medical school has been invited to attend. “A research discovery, no matter how transformational, cannot impact even one life without first traversing the classroom,” remarked Summit Chair

Dr. Marjorie Jenkins. The summit will determine how best to address present and future needs to bridge these gaps, with the goal to facilitate adoption of dedicated sex and gender education curriculum in all medical schools within the next five years. ( For a century, dedicated AMWA members, through education, outreach, advocacy, and alliances, have worked and continue to endeavor to improve the health of women. “AMWA has always been the progressive voice of women physicians, of physicians really, in the United States,” said Morrissey Conlon. “I think it’s an exciting role and it’s one I hope new members will continue to believe is really unique and precious about AMWA. We are not just a trade organization. We’re the vanguard of universally available, client-centered, evidencebased medicine.”


The Power of Leadership As the premier women’s medical organization, the American Medical Women’s Association provides female physicians, residents, and students with support and encouragement through networking, mentoring, and leadership programs. By Tara N. Wilfong

From its first formal meeting in 1915, in which Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen invited like-minded female physicians to discuss an all-women’s medical organization, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) – or the Medical Women’s National Association (MWNA), as it was initially coined – has been a dedicated and unified voice supporting female medical professionals. At its core, the organization has always stood for the advancement of women in the medical field while also maintaining a philosophy based on strong leadership, positive action, and ultimately, greater success. For 100 years, AMWA has been a positive force for women, and credits its longevity to the people who have shaped, and continue to shape, the organization. With a strong national and international presence, as well as an ever-expanding local network of professionals, AMWA is dedicated to women in all stages of their medical careers. From medical students, to residents, to physicians, the organization tailors its membership benefits to meet the specific needs of the individuals in each division. “Being an AMWA member has brought something different and unique to each individual over the years,” explained Dr. Eliza Lo Chin, executive director of the organization. “Early on, it was a way to combat the isolation and loneliness of being a female physician in a male-dominated profession. AMWA not only offered them camaraderie, but also guidance and support. Today, women have a greater presence in the medical profession, but the organization continues to serve as a leadership network that supports women throughout their medical careers.” Physician Division The longest-standing membership division is the Physician Division, which includes practicing physicians who are more advanced in their careers as well as attending physicians and academics engaged in medical research or teaching the next generation of medical professionals. With an ever-growing number of national members, as well as countless local members who have joined an AMWA chapter close to home, the members of the Physician Division are the role models and mentors to younger resident and student members.


According to Dr. Laura L. McCann, a 26-year AMWA member and the incoming national secretary of the organization, maintaining memberships in AMWA at both the local and national levels provides multiple layers of support and mentoring opportunities. A benefit of local membership, particularly in a leadership role, she says, is being in the “trenches” and learning what is important to your constituents so their needs can be addressed to the national board. Likewise, being a role model and mentor to new members is personally rewarding as well as beneficial to the organization as a whole. “As physician branch president, I am the adviser to the four student AMWA branches in Massachusetts, including Boston University, Harvard, Tufts, and University of Massachusetts, and I have advised two Connecticut branches at Yale and Frank Netter Medical School,” she said. “Our branch feels that the students are the future of our organization, and that it’s important to support them in any way we can. We are very proud that many of our local student branch leaders have become national student leaders as well.” Taking her role as mentor personally, McCann opens her home to local AMWA students during their leadership year, providing them with a home-cooked meal and an opportunity to interact with veteran professionals on a more social level. “I feel very passionate about the help I give students, and in turn, the students invigorate me with their youth and ideals,” she said. “I remember when I was in medical school, it wasn’t until my third year that I met a female medical professional, Dr. Mildred Black, during my surgical rotation. She invited me to dinner at her home, and it made such an impression to see how she managed the work-life dynamic. It’s so important to



pay it forward and offer the next generation every opportunity to succeed, and I get that through AMWA’s mentoring program.” Another benefit McCann’s physician branch offers its local AMWA student members is the opportunity to attend the organization’s national meeting with all expenses paid. This year, six medical students will attend the centennial meeting in Chicago, where they’ll witness the introduction of AMWA’s new president and the installation of AMWA’s first group to attain fellowship status within the organization. Resident Division Residents, with their busy rotation schedules and limited free time, have a small but growing national presence. Although the Resident Division represents AMWA’s smallest membership segment, this group also boasts a thriving local branch community with active participants. Members of the Resident Division take part in various division activities, such as book clubs where participants teleconference with the book’s author, but much of the division’s recent growth is due in part to the important initiatives its members have spearheaded. Last year, 2013-2014 AMWA Resident Division President Dr. Kanani Titchen, with filmmaker Stuart Culpepper, created an online multimedia tool to educate physicians about the trafficking of humans. The stance against human trafficking was first identified as a topic of significant importance just two years earlier, and with the support of AMWA’s dedicated members, became a fully supported program with interdisciplinary reach, now called Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH). “We aim to help physicians identify victims of human trafficking for the express purpose of helping these survivors forge a path to recovery,” explained Titchen. “And we join a growing national movement


of social workers, doctors, nurses, and lawyers working with legislators on antitrafficking laws.” In addition to PATH, AMWA’s Resident Division is promoting a number of activities for the centennial conference. Many residents will present posters featuring their research on specific topics to a panel of judges. Winners have the opportunity to see their names attached to abstracts and papers associated with their research. Members have also authored a wellness manual on striking a balance between residency, family, and daily expectations, which will be handed out to fellow attendees. While AMWA’s Resident Division is a powerful force for change, it also represents tomorrow’s medical leaders, who are eager to learn from today’s strongest role models. Student Division AMWA’s Student Division, established in 1957, is one of the organization’s strongest divisions. Eager for associations that can boost their knowledge, education, and program placement, students are a driving force in the organization, and number nearly 2,200 members strong. With local chapters in nearly every medical school across the country, the number of local student members has reached an all-time high. “The national Student Division is run entirely by medical students from across the nation who have been heavily involved with their local chapters,” explained Jacqueline M.K. Wong, a medical student at Northwestern University and president of AMWA’s Student Division. “These students join the organization to find a common voice and to meet people with similar goals and ideals. It also provides the support and motivation many students need to keep moving forward year after year.” AMWA is cognizant of the time and financial constraints that hinder many of its student members, so, in

embracing these future leaders, it offers online webinars, email newsletters, and online blogs that students can access at any time as befits their schedule, making it easy to stay connected and get the latest information on the issues affecting women in medicine today. For those students wishing to attend an out-of-town conference or meeting, AMWA’s Bed and Breakfast Program puts them in touch with members who are willing to host them in their travels. “As students, it’s easy for us to lose sight of medicine as a profession,” Wong said. “We need the support and leadership of those women who have come before us and who have successfully traveled the path we are currently taking. With the networking, mentorship, and leadership opportunities AMWA offers, we don’t have to take this journey alone. We have a strong support network of women who are willing to walk with us every step of the way.” AMWA’s Newest Divisions As the number of women interested in careers in medicine has steadily grown, many saw a need to further broaden AMWA’s reach to include premedical students and tailor a division based on their needs. Since its inception in 2013, this dynamic group has quickly gained momentum and boasts a growing national membership. “It’s important for pre-medical students to be connected with those who are already in medical school, as well as practicing physicians and residents,” McCann explained. “These students need a lot of guidance as they embark on a career in the medical field, and membership gives them access to a successful group of professional women who can guide them along the way.” In addition to pre-medical students, AMWA has also spearheaded a Physician Affiliate Member Division in 2014. This division allows members from other na-


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics congratulates AMWA on its 100-Year Anniversary. As the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, our registered dietitian nutritionist members look forward to continuing to work together to improve the lives of patients.

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tional organizations, who have similar goals and ideals about improving women’s and children’s health as well as promoting the advancement of women in medicine, to join. Although affiliate members may not hold national office or chair committees, they do have access to AMWA’s numerous networking and mentoring opportunities, and can attend the organization’s national conferences. “When AMWA was initially founded, there weren’t a lot of other women’s organizations, so membership in AMWA was of vital importance,” explained Dr. Farzanna Haffizulla, current president of the Physician Affiliate Member Division. “Today, there are many organizations that support women in medicine – particularly within subspecialty medical organizations and state medical societies. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to hold memberships in every organization of interest. For that reason, we created the Affiliate Division as a way to reach out to professional women in other organizations and introduce them to the work we do.” Other Benefits of Membership While only full members – physicians, residents, and students alike – have joint membership in the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) and can hold national office as well as committee chairperson positions, local members can still experience all of the networking and mentoring opportunities for which AMWA is known. One of the highlights is the annual meeting, which takes place each spring. Speakers from across the country are invited to lecture and lead panel discussions on timely topics, giving all AMWA members valuable information and connections. The annual meeting itself is a unique networking opportunity for local and national members to connect with other professionals in their specialty and from other specialties, too. These networking opportunities can promote personal and professional growth and provide a powerful referral network that is ultimately beneficial to existing and future patients. For practicing physicians, the Continuing Medical Education courses that are offered at the national meeting are another member benefit. In the past, topics have ranged from clinical management of diseases to leadership in academic medicine. For members who can’t attend the networking events and meetings AMWA offers, the Charlotte Edwards Maguire MD mentorship database program gives them instant access to other female physicians who have a unique set of skills and knowledge. In this technologically savvy time, the online platform is ideal for connecting with mentors and colleagues nationwide and even worldwide. “The Student Division is currently working on reinvigorating the mentorship platform to benefit every AMWA

member,” Wong said. “The new database will be presented in real time so members have the most current data to help them connect with the mentor who best fits their needs.” As the organization embarks on another century of championing women in medicine, it plans to further embrace technology in support of its members. Online communities, a biweekly NewsFlash, and a newsletter delivered via email are already among member benefits. By adding even more opportunities for members to access and submit information remotely, AMWA can broaden its reach and offer new and exciting mentoring and networking possibilities. Although the organization may experience some growing changes, the merits on which it was founded will continue to be upheld, and its members will remain vigilant in their encouragement and support of all women in the medical field. “The most wonderful thing about AMWA is that the more experienced women in the organization don’t see younger members as adversaries or competition,” Titchen explained. “Instead they embrace them as colleagues and help them succeed in ways that they themselves have already succeeded. All of these interactions through networking and mentorships are true and meaningful, and they help the women in our organization become stronger leaders who will one day become the role models for future generations.”

UF Health is proud to support the American Medical Women’s Association THE VISION AND VOICE OF WOMEN IN MEDICINE



The Fellowship of Women Physicians

Through their combined efforts, members of the American Medical Women’s Association band together to bring awareness to the many issues affecting health and medicine today. By Tara N. Wilfong

The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) has always believed the art of collaboration is the foundation for success. With 100 years of proven stability, the organization boasts a powerful network of women leaders who are willing not only to share their knowledge and research for the betterment of women’s health and the advancement of medicine itself, but also to offer guidance and support to their colleagues. This camaraderie is a testament to AMWA and the strong commitment it has to its members. “The organization is like a sisterhood, where each member supports and encourages her fellow members,” explained Dr. Leah Joan Dickstein, who is a past president and lifetime member of AMWA. “The women in AMWA may be in different life and career stages and practice different specialties, but they all have the same goals and ideals and they are proud to champion one another.” The annual meeting – indisputably the premier gathering for members of AMWA to meet and exchange ideas – is an unprecedented event filled with numerous networking opportunities. This year, as national and local members from across the country converge on the Windy City for a four-day extravaganza, attendees can interact with other women in medicine in both social and professional situations. One of the highlights of this year’s event is the pre-meeting trip to the farm where Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen, the founder of AMWA, was raised. The 1840 farmhouse in Rochester Hills, Michigan, is home to five generations of possessions from the Taylor-Van Hoosen families, and includes many items that belonged to Van Hoosen herself. This excursion, which many AMWA members are calling a “journey back to their roots,” kicks off the centennial celebration and the events


planned to commemorate AMWA’s many successes. Although the annual meeting is the event with the biggest draw each year, AMWA also sponsors a number of smaller gatherings across the country, such as regional student meetings. AMWA’s local branches are particularly active as well, offering social engagements, luncheons, and lectures for their members to interact with one another and learn about the latest issues in medicine. Recently, Dickstein gave a lecture to nearly 100 medical students in the New England region and moderated a networking session immediately following. “Members of the medical community, particularly women, must get involved and get a better understanding of the issues facing the field of medicine,” she said. “The issues may change, but new ones always arise, and we have to be vigilant and constantly question ‘who, what, when, where, and why.’ Only then can we see the fruits of our labors.”

AMWA Camaraderie Through the Years One hundred years ago, Bertha Van Hoosen was a minority in the male-dominated world of medicine. Frustrated by the lack of professional equality, she was determined to give women their due and thus embarked on a history-making venture that culminated with the founding of AMWA. From the onset, the organization gave its members the camaraderie and support they craved and served as a safe haven where they could vent their frustrations, discuss their goals, and collaborate on everything from patient cases to research. During its infancy, as AMWA broadened its reach and attracted more members, the organization continued to face many gender challenges. Although female physicians still numbered far fewer than their male counterparts, the



organization upheld its efforts and persevered to never lose sight of its mission to further women in the medical profession and shed light on the unique health care issues they faced. “When I first joined AMWA in the early 1950s, it was an excellent opportunity to meet other professional women and to have friends in medicine,” explained Dr. A. Lois Scully, a past president and lifetime member of the organization. “Back then, women were mostly ignored in professional organizations and we didn’t have much support, but through AMWA, I met others, who, like me, wanted to help women advance in the field of medicine.” Through her association with AMWA, Scully was introduced to many women in leadership positions, including lawyers, judges, engineers, and dentists. These associations were not only empowering, but also opened numerous networking opportunities. “When you meet other women in high-profile positions who are determined to succeed, you don’t feel so alone in your purpose,” she said. “As you can imagine, many of us who joined women’s organizations were labeled as ‘feminists,’ and sometimes that came from other women. In some ways I guess we were feminists, but only because we felt so passionate about our purpose and were willing to stand up for the equal treatment and advancement of women in our field.” Advocating for legislation such as the Equal Rights Amendment, AMWA members also began an international crusade for the equal and fair treatment of women in the profession. As an early member, Scully remembers traveling overseas with AMWA, and seeing female doctors from other countries treated in the same manner as those in the United States. As a result, members of both organizations started a grassroots movement to raise funds for young women who were interested in careers in medicine but lacked the necessary finances to


reach their goal. Although the fund was never particularly healthy, it showcased the fierce determination of AMWA’s members to blaze a trail for the benefit of future generations. As the organization continued to thrive, it saw a fresh influx of members during the mid-1980s. Dr. Nancy R.G. Church, who joined AMWA as a mature medical student embarking on her second career, says she proudly burned her bra in support of the women’s movement and was looking for an active women’s organization where she could continue her efforts. “Having been through the women’s movement, I knew there was a need for organized outlets where women could come together, voice their concerns, and bring attention to the issues we were facing,” she said. “When I discovered AMWA, I knew I wanted to put my energy and passion into the organization. While I had a tremendous amount of personal strength, I knew others, particularly the younger set, did not, and I wanted to help give them the words and encouragement they needed to stand up against discrimination.” Nearly 30 years later, Church still encourages AMWA’s newest recruits and is continually refreshed by the women’s lack of competition with each other. Gatherings, which are punctuated by an overwhelming willingness to share and learn from one another, facilitate shared narrative and promote healthy discussions. Through its century of growth and progress, the organization has changed and adapted to meet the needs of its members. Among the organization’s adaptations is its move to open membership to men. In today’s progressive society, many men support AMWA’s ideas and programs, and their inclusion in the organization is among the opportunities for AMWA’s future advancement. Likewise, there is a growing segment of friends of the organization who have

pledged support to AMWA. Whether they had a family member or acquaintance who was involved, or they simply identify with AMWA’s message, these individuals have pledged their support and commitment to the organization’s success. “My mother was a longtime member and past president of AMWA, so I would attend many of the meetings with her,” said Mary Ellen Morrow, a photographer, now AMWA lifetime member, and passionate supporter of the organization. “As I sat in these meetings, I was struck by the camaraderie I saw. While I think there is a special bond that occurs when you’re involved in something as important as medicine, I also believe there is something truly unique about the AMWA spirit. The future of this organization is very bright, and I’m confident that the people who support its efforts will see it evolve in a special and meaningful way.”

The Networking Alliance


n addition to its internal network for support and collaboration, AMWA also facilitates opportunities for its members to meet and interact with other professionals in the medical arena, as well as professionals in leadership roles from other organizations. Through its Networking Alliance, founded in 2010, AMWA has created a forum for medical organizations to come together to learn, share, and support one another. This network provides immediate access to a core group of people and organizations that are interested in similar topics and issues. The Networking Alliance’s meetings have traditionally been held at AMWA’s annual meeting, and this year, the group’s fourth gathering will take place at the Centennial celebration in Chicago.




By the time the United States had begun to mobilize for war in early 1917, women medical professionals in New York were a step ahead: Under the leadership of Dr. Josephine Walter, they had organized an expeditionary Women’s Army General Hospital Unit for New York City. Their ambition to serve war-ravaged areas of Europe, however, was temporarily thwarted when the U.S. government denied women physicians enlistment in the armed services. The newly created Medical Women’s National Association, founded two years earlier by Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen, reacted swiftly to this decision, lobbying the War Department to make use of American women physicians for war service. Writing about it years later in her book Certain Samaritans, Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy, the founding president of the Medical Women’s International Association, maintained a tone of patriotic defiance: “It is utterly impossible to leave a large number of well-trained women out of a service in which they belong,” she wrote, “for the reason that they won’t stay out. ... The women of the medical profession were not called to the colors, but they decided to go anyway.” Under the auspices of the War Service Committee of the Medical Women’s National Association, the American Women’s Hospitals (AWH), an organization modeled after the Scottish Women’s Hospitals that had mobilized into France and the Balkans after the 1914 outbreak of World War I, opened its first facility – American Women’s Hospital No. 1 – in the French village of Neufmoutiers in July 1918. AWH hospitals, clinics, and ambulance services proliferated throughout France and the Balkan Peninsula, treating military and civilian patients alike, but focusing


particularly on noncombatants – women, children, and refugees forced from their homes by war. Almost immediately, AWH doctors and nurses found themselves fighting off a raging typhoid epidemic, only to confront the global Spanish flu pandemic that infected 500 million people around the world. By November 1918, the AWH had raised more than $2 million and registered more than 1,000 women physicians. Throughout France, the Balkans, and the Near East, physicians and nurses of the AWH treated medical emergencies, established public health programs, and provided social services. While the war’s negotiated end in 1919 settled things – for the time being – in Western Europe, its repercussions, particularly in Russia, the Balkans, and Turkey, demanded more from the AWH. In 1922, after the Great Fire of Smyrna, in which militant Turks drove thousands of Christians from the ancient city on Turkey’s Aegean coast, Lovejoy wrote: “Physicians and nurses of the American Women’s Hospitals moved with the outcasts from island to island and from shore to hinterland. Hospitals, clinics, food stations, a quarantine island and camps for pestilential diseases have been conducted, and a larger service for the sick, among these refugees in Greece, has been carried

by our organization than that of all other American agencies combined.” The AWH’s exemplary service prompted the American Red Cross to urge its members elsewhere. After an earthquake destroyed much of Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city, the AWH established a medical relief center at Tokyo – and year after year, requests for similar services were received from other parts of the Far East. It was clear that the work of the AWH, launched in wartime, would never really be done. AMWA’s Global Engagement Today American Women’s Hospital Services (AWHS), as the organization came to be known, has remained the flagship of the American Medical Women’s Association’s (AMWA) charitable outreach. Originally a committee of AMWA, it became financially independent from 1959 to 1982, then was reincorporated into AMWA in 1983. By providing direct support to clinics and facilities in traditionally underserved areas, the AWHS is able to bring care to those afflicted by poverty, war, or natural disasters. It partners with clinics to support service/projects on a yearly basis. Examples of the facilities it has supported include:



• Engeye Clinic. Founded by AMWA member Dr. Stephanie Van Dyke when she was a medical student, Engeye opened in 2006 to provide affordable health care in Ddegeya Village, Uganda. Today it also operates a scholarship program to help empower future generations of Ugandans. AWHS helps to support the salary of the physician at the clinic, which is now visited by about 15,000 patients per year. • Friendship Clinic Nepal, which supports nearly 50,000 villagers in the area around Meghauli, Chitwan, Nepal. AWHS supports the salary of a nurse midwife who bicycles to surrounding villages to provide health education and to care for women who are pregnant or in labor. • Hôpital Bon Samaritain (HBS) in Limbé, Haiti, about 70 miles from the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake. HBS is a full-service hospital that has provided health care services for the surrounding population since 1953. AWHS supports HBS, helping it to: see more than 70,000 outpatients per year; admit 1,000 pediatric patients; treat more than 14,000 tuberculosis cases; and deliver 500 babies. AWHS has also helped clinics provide care and services to underserved or uninsured populations in the United States in the past, including: the Marian Clinic, founded in 1988 in Topeka, Kansas; Samaritan Clinic in southwest Georgia; and Dayspring Family Health Centers in the Appalachian regions of Tennessee and Kentucky. AWHS fosters the development of sustainable and innovative programs aimed at providing care and empowerment to women and children in underserved areas, awarding clinic grants, typically between $2,000 and $3,000, on a yearly basis to qualified applicants.


AWHS also promotes education, outreach, and exposure to global health issues through its student travel grants, which encourage new generations of physicians to work and learn in communities abroad. AWHS grants, awarded to between four and six full AMWA student members annually, help to offset costs when the grantee travels to a medical school-sponsored overseas clinic program. AWHS student grantees have visited several countries, including Haiti, Peru, Vietnam, Uganda, Iran, India, Bolivia, Barbados, South Africa, and Nepal. Co-chair of AWHS Dr. Laura Helfman reflects on her experience as a former travel grant recipient more than 20 years ago. “While sponsored by AWHS, I traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, to work with Doctora Ruth Tichauer at her world-renowned clinic in the Andes. In those short six weeks, I experienced the joys and sorrows of a land foreign to my own in a way that no tourist ever could. My eyes were opened to the reality of the challenges that developing cultures face both in their daily living needs and in their access to health care. In terms of my personal and professional life, that opportunity has [made] and does make all the difference.” In 2014, in partnership with AMWA’s Resident Division, AWHS launched a new grant program: the communitybased project grant. “It’s designed to support either a community-based project being performed overseas, or here in the U.S.,” said Dr. Dyani Loo, AWHS co-chair. “And the grant is open to any AMWA member.” Communitybased project grants, she said, are aimed broadly at supporting underserved communities: “We try to get people involved not just with global health care, but also community service work, as well as advocacy and research.” Loo, a second-year psychiatry resident at the University of New Mexico, has devoted much of her career to expanding access and breaking down barriers to mental health services; as a medical

student, she traveled to Peru and spent several weeks interviewing community members about their attitudes toward mental health care. “In my experience there – and I hear the same thing from our students who go abroad during medical school – you really see a big difference in the health care being practiced, the type of services available,” said Loo. “You get a different sense of health care, and of humanity in general, in a very rural and very needy place with very few resources.” In 2011, Loo became one of the first recipients of the Anne C. Carter Global Health Fellowship, a two-year program of study awarded to four AMWA student members annually. First-year Carter Fellows study a global health curriculum, participate in project development, and receive mentoring; in their second year, fellows plan and prepare a learning expedition, where they will work with past recipients to implement a global health project – the capstone of the Carter Fellowship. The public can read about the experiences of Carter Fellows on their blog at AMWA and the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) Through its Global Health Committee, AMWA works closely with members of its umbrella organization, the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA). Every full AMWA member is automatically a member of MWIA, which promotes cooperation, friendship, and understanding among medical women around the world while actively working against gender-related inequities in both the medical profession and medical care. AMWA’s collaborations with MWIA are co-coordinated by Dr. Padmini Murthy and Dr. Satty Gill Keswani, who also serve as MWIA representatives to the United Nations.


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AMWA is instrumental in many MWIA outreach efforts, said Murthy. For example, on March 12, 2015, AMWA and MWIA co-sponsored the launch of My Sisters’ Health WATCH, an effort organized by the UN’s Permanent Mission to Grenada to improve the lives of women and girls in the Caribbean island nation. “To kick-start this program,” said Murthy, “Medical Women’s International Association, of which AMWA is a part, is giving 300 birthing kits to Grenada to use. That will help provide women the essentials when they have children.” MWIA has also procured several portable ultrasound machines that it will send to needy communities around the world. AMWA has developed an interactive Web portal,, that aims to educate physicians about human trafficking, an issue that MWIA has adopted as its Triennial Theme.

AMWA members have also contributed to gender-specific health research sponsored by MWIA, such as case studies and best practices associated with violence against women in health care settings around the world. As Murthy – who has written about these issues in her book, Women’s Global Health and Human Rights – points out, these AMWA/MWIA collaborations show the breadth of the organizations’ effort to improve the lives of people around the world: “The work being done is not limited to clinical practice,” she said. “It is also focused on outreach and a very holistic approach to women’s health – we’re also talking about the cultural and social and economic determinants that influence the health of women, their families, and communities.” In 2014, as AMWA’s Global Health programs sent an increasing number of medical women overseas, the AWHS

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published the first edition of its newsletter, Postcards from the Field, a collection of updates and personal reflections from AMWA student members around the world. The first edition includes dispatches from Zambia, Kenya, India, and Ecuador. “Postcards was created by our student volunteers who had gone overseas and returned inspired by the things they’d seen,” said Loo. “They wanted others to share in their experiences. I think Postcards will help us to get our members to really start thinking about the problems facing the communities they’re working with. ... The focus we’re trying to achieve through our charitable actions has been a commitment to these underserved areas, not just in performing the work itself, but in getting our members – our student, resident, and physician members alike – really engaged and motivated and inspired to make a difference.”

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Though she had stopped practicing psychiatry in the early 1990s, when she suffered a closed-head injury in a car accident, Dr. Laura Ehrlich Morrow, AMWA’s president from 1968-1969, maintained ties to the organization until she died in 2004 at the age of 90. It was AMWA’s 2003 annual spring meeting in Washington, D.C., that made her daughter, Mary Ellen, into a lifelong devotee of the organization. “I took her on the train,” recalled Mary Ellen. “She wasn’t able to talk much at that point, and she couldn’t walk. We got to the meeting, I rolled her in – and everyone stood up.” When they looked at Morrow, the people of AMWA didn’t see a frail, elderly woman in a wheelchair; they saw a paragon of American psychiatry, a physician who had received numerous honors for pioneering new treatments and uses for electroconvulsive therapy, electroencephalograms, and psychotropic medication. During World War II, when her husband, also a psychiatrist, went off to war, Morrow stayed behind to manage the household while serving as the only practicing physician in their hometown of Lyndhurst, New Jersey: performing surgery, delivering babies, and treating illnesses. Watching a roomful of people stand to honor her legacy left a lasting impression on Mary Ellen, who, as a professional photographer, has since worked tirelessly to document and capture the spirit of the organization at its events. “They showed they valued her still,” said Mary Ellen. “I think what AMWA does for women in the medical profession is to open another dimension of kindness, camaraderie, and caring about each other, something you rarely find anymore.” When Dr. Eliza Lo Chin, AMWA’s executive director, became involved in the organization, it was partly because she – a young wife, mother, and faculty


member at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she maintained two clinical practices – began to appreciate how difficult it must have been for people such as Morrow to succeed in so many different roles. With the increasing number of successful medical women today, says Chin, younger generations may not know the struggles and sacrifices endured by the women who pioneered the medical profession in the United States. “Back in 1915,” Chin said, “there weren’t too many women in medicine. Women physicians felt isolated in AMA [American Medical Association] meetings, and realized the need to band together to support each other. Graduating women medical students had difficulties in getting post-graduate training positions. In fact, the early AMWA publications often included lists of hospitals that were favorable to women physicians, so that women might optimize their chances of finding a residency position.” In many ways, membership in AMWA is different from membership in other medical societies. There is a palpable sense of legacy, that the strides and sacrifices made by the members of the organization over the last 100 years have paved

the way in the medical field for the members of today. AMWA has contributed to the celebration of this legacy in numerous ways, by participating in or contributing to exhibits that document the achievements and adventures of medical women throughout history. These exhibits include:

The AMWA Legacy Exhibit at Drexel University College of Medicine In partnership with the Drexel University College of Medicine’s Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine, AMWA maintains a permanent exhibit in the lobby of the College’s East Falls Campus, home to the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership. The AMWA Legacy Exhibit, dedicated in 2010, occupies a floor-toceiling glass case, viewable from three sides. One side of the case, devoted to the World War I service of the American Women’s Hospitals (AWH), an early program of AMWA, contains an exhibit titled “Over Here and Over There: AMWA, Leading Women in Medicine.” The exhibit tells the story not only of how women were called to put their lives on hold to serve the



war effort in France, explained Joanne Murray, the historian and director of the College’s Legacy Center, but also the story of how these women realized, after the war, that the conditions that caused people to suffer weren’t simply going to go away – that the world would always need the service of an organization like AWH. The other side of the case, explained Murray, tells the story of the founding of AMWA itself: “You need that backstory to understand the founding of AWHS [the American Women’s Hospitals Service].” AMWA sections include “The Struggle,” devoted to medical women’s fight for professional acceptance, and “The Will,” which shows how medical women came together to form a collective voice and organized themselves to achieve AMWA’s goals. The Legacy Exhibit was funded entirely from the donations of AMWA members to the Legacy Fund, established to preserve AMWA’s heritage at Drexel’s Legacy Center. The items in the exhibit – including photographs, documents, and historical artifacts such as an early AWH seal – are a small sampling of the AMWA archives, which are housed within the Center. These materials are available for anyone who wants to research or look through AMWA’s past – and those who want to further promote AMWA’s rich history are encouraged to donate to the Legacy Fund on the AMWA website.

The Van Hoosen Farm AMWA’s heritage can be traced to a farm in Stoney Creek Village, Michigan (in present-day Rochester Hills), where Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen, AMWA’s founder, was born in 1863 and grew up roaming the surrounding acres and learning the basics of biology from the animals – an interest that later led her to pursue a degree in medicine from the University of Michigan Medical College.


Now known as the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, the grounds of Van Hoosen’s family home encompass 16 acres of gardens, barns, and historic buildings, including the 1838 Stoney Creek Schoolhouse, where Van Hoosen attended school; the 1840 Van Hoosen farmhouse; the 1888 “Red House”; and the 1927 calf barn, which has been converted into a year-round exhibit gallery. While visitors to the Van Hoosen Farm will likely take an interest in all the buildings and grounds, the stone-and-white clapboard farmhouse is where they can learn more about the life and work of Van Hoosen, who, after an extensive period of hospital training, became a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist in Chicago, where she taught at several area medical schools (as head of obstetrics at Loyola University Medical School, she was the first woman to head a medical division at a coeducational university). She also traveled extensively in Europe and Asia before returning, years later, to Michigan, where she regularly saw patients at the family home in Stoney Creek. In 2013, Chin visited the Van Hoosen farmhouse on the occasion of the 150th birthday celebration for Van Hoosen, and her recollections were featured in the spring edition of the Connections newsletter: “I was swept back in time,” wrote Chin, “as I imagined her sitting at the wooden desk with her thin-rimmed glasses reading medical books or seeing patients on her small examination table. Her office remains as it did back in the 1940s, complete with medicinal vials, doctor’s bag, typewriter, prescription pad and personal papers.” On its website, the Rochester Hills museum also features a virtual exhibit about the life and work of Van Hoosen, including biographical informa-

tion, old photographs, and documents that illustrate her life’s work.

AMWA’s Online Exhibits AMWA has played both a leading and supporting role in several online and interactive exhibits honoring women physicians. In partnership with the National Institutes of Health, AMWA co-sponsored an exhibit, Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians, that occupied 4,000 square feet of space within the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, from October 2003 to November 2005, after which it traveled to numerous venues over the next several years. The traveling exhibit featured two computer kiosks showcasing the multimedia features of the original exhibition, including short films about past and present women physicians, educational programs, and career resources. Today, these multimedia and interactive exhibits, along with profiles of hundreds of women physicians, past and present – including several AMWA leaders and personalities – are available in a fully online exhibit at the National Library of Medicine’s website: http:// It was during a visit to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia that Chin became inspired to help create AMWA’s own online exhibit, Faces of AMWA (http://www., which features photographs and biographies of a growing number of AMWA members. One of the Constitution Center’s main exhibits, the American National Tree, features interactive touch screens that visitors can engage to learn about 100 citizens who have shaped the nation’s constitutional history. Faces of AMWA captures some of that same spirit through the inspiring stories of AMWA leaders, past and present – in-


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dividuals who helped shape medicine and the footprint of women in medicine. The exhibition speaks to the rich diversity within AMWA and the collective experiences of its members.

The International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame In 2001, Dr. Omega Logan Silva, then-president of AMWA (and current chair of the Advocacy Committee), established the International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame to honor medical women, past and present, who played leading roles in advancing the science of medicine and encouraging the expansion of women in the profession. In its inaugural ceremony, AMWA posthumously honored its own founding officers, and its contemporary honorees were Dr. Patricia Bath, the ophthalmologist who pioneered and patented laser treatment for cataracts, and Dr. Jane Elizabeth Hodgson, an obstetrician and gynecologist who worked tirelessly to champion women’s reproductive rights. Second-year inductees to the Hall of Fame, said Silva, were honored as the first from various ethnic groups to graduate from medical school. One of the most memorable, honored posthumously, was Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte, the nation’s first female Native American physician, who earned her degree in 1889 and returned home to spend her entire career practicing medicine on the Omaha reservation in northeastern Nebraska. A huge contingent of her living relatives – around 40, by Silva’s estimation – attended the 2002 ceremonies in MacLean, Virginia; the award was accepted by Picotte’s great-nephew, Elmer Blackbird, 81, of Walthill, Nebraska. Silva and her husband were so inspired by the ceremony that afterward, they trekked to the Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Hospital in Walthill, which was completed in 1913.


To date, more than two dozen women have been inducted into the International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame, including Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman physician; Dr. Antonia Novello and Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeons General; Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first AfricanAmerican woman to earn an M.D. (1864); Dr. Anandibai Joshi, the first woman from India to earn an American medical degree (1886); and Dr. Linda A. Randolph, president and CEO of the Developing Families Center in Washington, D.C., which established an innovative model for delivering health care to poor families. The year of Randolph’s induction, 2010, was the year the Hall of Fame honored its first non-physician inductee: Dr. Diana Zuckerman, the renowned health policy expert and president of the National Research Center for Women & Families.

AMWA’s Centennial Online Exhibits As part of its centennial celebration, AMWA is launching two new online exhibits to celebrate the achievements of women in medicine: first, Studio AMWA (, an online gallery of artwork created by AMWA members, inspired by an exhibit displayed during the 2013 congress of the Medical Women’s International Association in Seoul, Korea. Studio AMWA is web-based and accessible to as many viewers as possible, and features works – including paintings, photography, sculpture, and glasswork – by student, resident, and physician members of AMWA. Just brought online in the spring of 2015, the Studio AMWA exhibit is curated by Dr. Kathryn Ko, who, when she’s not painting or drawing at her own studio, practices neurosurgery in Brooklyn, New York. Another exhibit, Women Physicians in World War I (

women-physicians-wwi/), which will be launched this spring, was inspired by the centennial commemoration of World War I and a similar project of the Australian Federation of Medical Women (AFMW) to honor the Australian women doctors who served during World War I. A team of physician and student researchers responded promptly to a call for assistance in gathering information and materials from books, articles, and archives around the country – including the Legacy Center at Drexel University. The history of AMWA is inextricably bound to the story of women physicians in World War I and the founding of AMWA’s charitable arm, the AWHS, which launched women physicians and nurses into service around the world, but the upcoming exhibit will feature doctors who served in other capacities, as well: those who served as contract surgeons for the United States, or abroad with the Red Cross, or as providers of humanitarian aid with other countries. As AMWA celebrates its centennial, it’s especially fitting, said Chin, to understand the importance of World War I as a turning point for the organization. Even after AMWA’s founding, there was a time when many within the medical profession – including many women physicians themselves – questioned the need for an organization based solely on gender. “The exclusion of women physicians as U.S. military commissioned officers during World War I became a rallying cause that united women to speak out as a group,” Chin said. The push to remove this barrier solidified the organization, and for the next century, the American Medical Women’s Association continued to champion other causes related to women’s health, gender equity, and the advancement of women in medicine – and to lead as the vision and voice of women in medicine.




By David A. Brown

When Odysseus departed Ithaca to fight in the Trojan War, he left a trusted friend named Mentor in charge of teaching, guiding, and advising his young son, Telemachus. When Odysseus returned after 20 years, his delight at his son’s impressive growth paralleled the satisfaction felt by the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) members whose investment in mentoring young women physicians helps nurture and develop promising careers. In her role as executive director of Indiana University’s Center of Excellence for Women’s Health at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) School of Medicine, Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber sees two broad forms of mentoring: There’s the informal side, with its friendly relationship building, and the formal element, which involves structured evaluation and the requisite paperwork. There are two different vibes, but both have their place in the overall objective of providing a helpful package of advice and guidance. Dr. Chemen Tate, who serves on the AMWA Mentorship Committee, lauds the scope of mentoring scenarios afforded by a national organization with a century of wisdom uniting its members. While the classic one-on-one format may be less common today, there’s still room for such traditional relationships amid the modern mix of mentoring methods. As she explains, acute mentorship might address topics like a residency program application review and advice, while broad-scale mentoring might present topics like time management to larger groups. Expounding on this thought, Dr. Julie Welch, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, said the diversity facilitates both sides of the relationship. “In academic medicine, mentoring is a professional responsibility, but not everyone is cut out to be a mentor,” she said. “Some are better at helping with connections. You may not [feel comfortable]


one-on-one, but whatever skills you have, use them to help the process.” WHAT MAKES IT WORK In Welch’s view, an effective mentor must be altruistic, with the needs of the mentee taking precedence. Commitment is essential, she said, as failed mentoring relationships are commonly traced back to a lack of availability. Certainly, realistic limits are an essential tool of mentoring discipline, so Welch favors regularly scheduled meetings, calls, or video conferencing. Flexibility for the occasional impromptu chat can benefit the process, but midnight life crises calls – not so much. Welch summarizes the traits of an effective mentor: “The real goal is bringing that protégée into their own, so you cannot have a selfish mentor,” she said. “Also, be generous with information. Don’t hold back; there shouldn’t be anything you wouldn’t offer them. “Throughout the mentoring relationship, confidentiality is critical. We stress that in the beginning. A mentee has to have someone they can trust.” Kirchgraber believes a mentor should also go to bat for the mentee, put in the good word, make the right introductions. The goal here, she said, is to ensure the mentee gets a fair shake at whatever course they choose to pursue. “You need mentors that look out for you and promote you to others because people tend to pick folks like themselves

when it comes to hiring and promotions,” Kirchgraber said. “We need mentors who will be proactive for [mentees] and help make inroads so it’s not always the same type of person that gets called up.” Welch agrees, and notes that gender differences often yield different approaches to introductions and self-promotion. A good mentor will recognize any such limitations and bridge the divide. “When we talk about gender, women need sponsors to help introduce them to help them make connections,” Welch said. “Also, networking can be challenging for women, but a sponsor in a position of power and leadership can help them establish their networking.” Now, truly valuable mentoring – the kind that stirs the soul and motivates the mind – is heavy on the helping and light on the lecturing. Nurturing existing interests – that’s how it works. Tate said a recent AMWA membership survey found significant interest in the following subjects: • Delegation • Work/life balance • Negotiation • Conflict resolution • Time management • Networking Add study skills and job selection for student and resident members, respectively. CONFRONTING MODERN CHALLENGES As far as the subtle life coaching that weaves its way into mentoring,



Kirchgraber often sees today’s physicians struggling with balance and time management in their personal and professional lives. Multi-tasking may be the innate assumption, but an experienced mentor will likely nudge the mentee toward delegation. “One of the biggest challenges for women is to get over some of their own innate roadblocks,” she said. “We have a tendency to put too many things on our plate and we’re not so good about parceling them out.” Examples: A doctor may feel the need to discuss diet issues instead of letting the staff dietician handle this. Likewise, a doctor who lets her nurses complete the prescription work frees herself up for more pressing matters. “In reality, you can delegate some of those responsibilities, which then makes your co-workers rise to the occasion, takes away some of your responsibility, and perhaps gives you more time to do other things,” Kirchgraber said. Here, and with other concerns such as salary equity and workplace environments, the perspective of those who’ve gone before illuminates the path for those currently on their way. “For me, it’s so much fun to meet some of the old guard – the women who were there when they were one of three women in the class,” said Kirchgraber. “It’s good to learn about the things they went through and now they’re just fine. They have kids and they’re happy. “With the trials and tribulations of all they’ve gone through, it’s helpful to see that you’re not the only one. It’s fabulous to have folks that are above and below you at the same time. I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing that I was once where they are.” DIGITAL DELIVERY Complementing traditional face-toface interactions, the digital age has significantly expanded AMWA’s mentoring


efforts with greater reach, diversity, and flexibility. Webinars allow members to enjoy an interactive learning experience without taking time away from work or family. Expounding on AMWA’s embrace of online connectivity, Kirchgraber described one of AMWA’s newest efforts to broaden the mentoring scope as a virtual coffee klatch, which leverages video chatting to join members in small group interaction that defies distance. “We’re putting together women from all different areas in groups of five to 10 who can meet on a monthly basis by video,” Kirchgraber said. “Some of the things you’d normally do at a meeting, you can do online, and that helps folks who are in areas where there are not a lot of other women or where it’s harder for them to get out of the house. “Having a video chat means you can actually meet those other women and you feel more of a personal connection than just listening to something on a webinar. We still encourage a lot of one-on-one mentoring, but it’s nice that there is a variety of options.” Tate adds that online Web conferencing provides an essential mentoring venue that erases geographic boundaries. On the scheduling side, Welch notes that virtual mentoring provides a healthy spacing that helps a mentor balance the accessibility with a blend of longer engagements and brief capsules of information. Similarly, the use of blogs can provide a rich well of senior advice and feedback for a “group mentoring” approach. THE BIG PICTURE So, what’s the payoff for mentoring? Welch believes the satisfaction of giving back to the next generation of physicians is a feeling that won’t fit into words. The good thing about AMWA’s tradition of mentorship is that no one ever stops learning or growing.

Case in point: Kirchgraber recalls a conversation with a colleague who was leaving IUPUI to run a medical program elsewhere. Curious about the process and procedures, Kirchgraber found the discussion professionally enriching, and unexpectedly rewarding. “I was using her to mentor me, and in the course of our conversation, she gave me a lot of great advice – and she recognized that I needed to be nominated for an upcoming award,” Kirchgraber said. “So not only did I learn a lot about her, but she actually led the charge to nominate me for the Outstanding IUPUI Women Leaders Award, which I won [spring 2015]. “It’s because of her that I was awarded this honor. This is important because, in terms of promotion, part of the way we get promoted – at least in academics – is documentation of scholarly activity and documentation that the work you do is good work.” On the other hand, false starts and redirection are part of life, and there’s no harm in shifting gears, as long as the move leads to a favorable outcome. For example, when one of her pre-med students decided that med school was no longer a viable course, Kirchgraber connected her with professionals in other areas of medicine to determine suitable options, such as med tech and occupational therapist. “She’s no longer on the path for which we started our mentoring relationship, but I can still be helpful, I hope, in guiding her in different ways,” Kirchgraber said. JOIN AND GROW Prospective members find several AMWA benefits integrating with the mentorship objective. A natural starting point is the association’s national meetings. Rubbing elbows with peers offers a gold mine of connectivity for the prudent, while the seminars feature a lineup of stellar speakers committed to advancing the careers of others.



“Because people are so dedicated to AMWA, we are able to get powerful speakers that other groups are not,” Welch said. “The best part is that you have access to people who are extremely successful in their careers and you can talk to them. They come to these meetings wanting to help.” Of course, that spirit of willful assistance permeates the organization. “The networking is fairly broad and you have the opportunity to meet others from a variety of different backgrounds,” Kirchgraber said. “Because of the breadth of physicians that practice, you have a multitude of people and that may help you think of a direction you may not have considered before.” Other benefits include: Assistance with academic papers: Insights and perspective from experienced medical professionals. Poster presentations: Exposure at a national conference adds impressive weight to one’s work. Bed and Breakfast Program: AMWA members provide accommodations for

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med students traveling for residency interviews. Not only does this minimize travel costs, it often fosters mentoring relationships. Committee positions: Young members who identify their interest areas can build upon such inclinations, with input from other physicians. Kirchgraber shared a success story: “One of our residents became very enthralled with doing more regarding the subject of human trafficking. While working with one of our faculty to put together the PATH Program [Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans], she was awarded $25,000 from an outside agency in recognition for her work in this area. “This probably wouldn’t have come about without a strong organization behind her and the ability to utilize other faculty and other positions to put this together.” Noting that AMWA encourages students to serve as committee co-chairs, Kirchgraber said: “The path to leader-

ship is not always direct. So helping to mold them and shape them a little bit is the objective. This gives them confidence going forward because being a committee co-chair for AMWA carries some weight. You’re not just a member; you have some direct and specific things you can point back to.” At times, concern over one’s hectic schedule may discourage participation in such a prestigious organization. However, Kirchgraber stresses the wisdom of crawling before walking. “I think even if you don’t become actively involved, just by virtue of the fact that you are receiving the newsletter, you’re getting updated on the information, you’re attending webinars, you will still gain a lot even if your level of involvement is [minor],” she said. “You’ll learn a lot, and you’ll know that there’s somebody there if you need us.” AMWA’s message to young physicians: Grow as you’re able to grow – but know that you never have to grow alone.

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