Women in Medicine Summit highlights practical strategies to advance gender equity
This year’s Women in Medicine Summit will take place in a virtual format on Oct. 9-10.
Healio will serve as the official media partner for the CME conference, designed to amplify the lives of women in medicine and work toward gender parity in health care.
“This is a unique opportunity for professional and personal development, and the content is particularly important as we work to address the many inequities that exist in our health care system,” summit founder and chair Shikha Jain, MD, FACP, assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology, oncology and cell therapy at University of Illinois Cancer Center, told Healio. “This is an excellent way to not only learn more about these inequities, but to learn skills and tools that can help address them.”
As an attending physician at Northwestern University, Jain organized a symposium that focused on the challenges and obstacles women in medicine face in their careers. The inaugural conference drew 250 attendees, primarily from the Chicago area.
The concept evolved into the Women in Medicine Summit, overseen by a steering committee comprised of representatives from institutions across the country, as well as leadership from several national organizations.
Last year’s inaugural summit drew 450 attendees from around the world.
“We received a lot of positive feedback from attendees who said the summit gave them valuable skills and tools to improve their professional lives,” Jain said. “One woman said the skills she learned at the summit helped her negotiate for higher pay in leadership position. Others said they honed their leadership skills and have implemented strategies to identify and close gender gaps at their institutions.”
This year’s summit will mix traditional faculty talks with breakout sessions that allow for small-group interaction and discussion.
The first day will include a session titled HeForShe: Allies in Equity.
The track will be co-chaired by Laurie Baedke, MHA, FACHE, FACMPE, director of health care leadership programs at Creighton University, and Thomas Varghese Jr., MD, FACS, executive medical director at Huntsman Cancer Institute.
“These equity efforts will not be effective unless we have male allies who are working toward the same common goals,” Jain said. “We created programming in this track to help men who are leading many of these institutions understand the challenges that exist, and also how they can implement various skills and strategies to achieve equity.”
The HeForShe track will feature talks titled “Putting allyship into action” and “Use your platform to close the gap: Creating an equitable culture.”
Baedke said she expects the track to be “terrifically engaging.”
The strategic decision to include male allies distinguishes the Women in Medicine Summit from other conferences with a similar focus, she added.
“For us to achieve growth and advance gender parity, research shows that the most effective and sustainable efforts are achieved in concert with those individuals who already have a seat at the table,” Baedke told Healio. “Learning together with these male allies — and nonclinician executives whose best practices or models at their institutions are equipping women to ascend into leadership roles — is a unique and powerful opportunity.”
Summit attendees will hear from a diverse group of speakers that represent renowned health care innovators, thought leaders and inspirational faculty from across the nation, Jain said.
Megan Ranney, MD, MPH, of Brown University will speak about creating change. Lt. Gen. Mark Hurtling, who served 37 years in the Army, will discuss leadership in a crisis. Bonnie Mason, MD, vice president of diversity inclusion at Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and Darilyn V. Moyer, MD, FACP, FRCP, FIDSA, executive vice president and CEO of American College of Physicians, will deliver keynote addresses.
Additional talks will explore how to use social media, navigating through adversity, how to get involved in a national organization, how to start a women in medicine group, identifying and overcoming implicit bias, and how identity shapes perceptions of wellness, burnout and balance.
Attendees will receive a downloadable document that includes a one-page “action toolkit” from each speaker that provides tangible strategies and suggestions.
“The focus will be on the practical,” Baedke said. “Content will be evidence-based, but each session will include emphasis on immediate practical applications. This isn’t just theory. This is about empowering and equipping each individual to go back to their institutions the very next week and put what they learned into practice.”
Other program highlights include mentorship opportunities for junior faculty and trainees, award presentations and an abstract session. All accepted abstracts will be published in International Journal of Academic Medicine.
The transition to an all-virtual format means attendees will miss opportunities for in-person networking and the energy of a live meeting. However, organizers hope the increased convenience and a uniquely designed virtual platform — which will allow for interaction with speakers and access to session recordings — will encourage more people to attend.
Summit programming will be relevant to those who work in academic settings, private practice, industry or other settings, Jain said.
“The ideal attendee is anyone interested in improving their professional or personal life, and also those interested in getting involved in equity work,” Jain said. “Data clearly show that women’s health outcomes are improved when there are more women in leadership roles. This is a terrific opportunity for people in all specialties, at all levels of their careers, in all different types of practices or job situations.”
For more information about the summit or to register, go to www.womeninmedicinesummit.org.
For more information:
Shikha Jain, MD, FACP, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ShikhaJainMD.
Laurie Baedke, MHA, FACHE, FACMPE, can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @LaurieBaedke.