Women in Anesthesiology (WIA) is an organization devoted to the professional development of women physician anesthesiologists. Through both an informal and formal all-physician network, we support the recruitment, retention and job satisfaction of women in anesthesiology.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Amy Schultz Pearson, MD, President
Alyssa Brzenski, MD
Rekha Chandrabose, MD, Past President
Kristin Ondecko Ligda, MD
Marjorie Stiegler, MD
Harriet Hopf, MD
Shannon Hancher-Hodges, MD
Elizabeth Malinzak, MD
Corinna Yu, MD
Jessica Sumski, MD
Cynthia Wong, MD
Gerry Manecke, MD
Jane Fitch, MD
Jeanine Wiener-Kronish, MD
Kelly McQueen, MD
Renee Navarro, MD
Selma Calmes, MD
Wendy Campana, PhD
Sasha Shillcutt, MD, MS
ABOUT WOMEN IN ANESTHESIOLOGY, INC.
Welcome to the Women in Anesthesiology website! Our mission is the professional and personal support of women anesthesiologists. Given the developing body of literature surrounding the challenges women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) face, we decided to form a group that helps focus on techniques and tools that will help women physicians advance in the careers while addressing the specific challenges women physicians may face. You will find information about our annual meeting, starting a WIA chapter, organizing tools, educational resources, a jobs posting site, and more on our website. We invite you to become a dues-paying member of this volunteer-run non-profit organization, so that we can continue to support you! Please also follow us on Twitter as WIA, Inc. (@womenMDinanesth) and on Facebook (Women in Anesthesiology). Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A NOTE FROM THE FOUNDER
In 2007, when I first started my residency in anesthesiology, my class had only three women, of 12. It turned out that 25-30% female was par for the course. This was in stark comparison to my cohort in general surgery, where I had completed 3 years of residency prior to switching to anesthesiology. In that group, there were ten categorical residents, and eight were women.
During residency, I had two children, and my close friend (and now partner), Alyssa Brzenski, had her second child. We looked around and saw that, despite the decade, we were traversing new ground. As residents, we had few role models, and little idea of how to network, leverage our skills, and lobby for equitable treatment. There were very small numbers of women in general, and zero women as Professor level faculty or in leadership roles.
Given the fact that we had both just graduated and joined that faculty, we felt both a desire and an obligation to serve the residents who were following us. We wanted to provide a safe space to discuss gender and sex in the workplace. We wanted to offer training and support on leadership and scholarship and ways to perhaps address the imbalance we saw around us when we were residents. Our residents (male and female) all work very hard and they become very good doctors. Our goal was to teach our residents how to work smarter, in order to maximize their career development potential.
Casually perusing media will reveal that we have a sex and gender bias against women in the workplace from which medicine is not exempt. Less money, fewer leadership opportunities and many types of sex and gender-based discrimination challenges continue to face women physicians despite forward progress in some areas.
With support from our Chair, we founded a local group at the University of California San Diego Department of Anesthesiology called SAWA (Society for the Advancement of Women in Anesthesiology). As suggested by our foundation story, we intended largely to support our residents, but found that our female faculty were thirsty for an opportunity to meet and discuss their experiences.
The need for training and professional development for our women faculty became obvious, and we have seen SAWA evolve in three short years into a professional support network for not just our residents but faculty also.
From there, it was a small leap forward in logic to see what was being offered on the national platform for women in anesthesiology. I received a grant from the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Committee for Professional Diversity to investigate and develop opportunities for women in anesthesiology. Seeing that we had no professional organization (unlike women in internal medicine, surgery, and other medical specialties), I founded Women in Anesthesiology, Inc. In one short year, we have incorporated as a non-profit, developed a website, built a membership and committed to an annual meeting. While the leap in logic was small, the leap in effort was enormous. Without the efforts, donations, and skills of volunteers all over the country, WIA would not exist. We thank you for your support!
Rekha Chandrabose, MD
Founder, Women in Anesthesiology, Inc.
Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology,
University of California San Diego