May 2019 – Issue 1
Message from the President
Amy Schultz Pearson, MD
Dear supporters of Women in Anesthesiology
I hope you all are enjoying the spring sunshine. This winter has been very busy for the WIA Board as we have some exciting developments for the coming months – and we are so excited to finally start sharing them with you. This is the inaugural newsletter for WIA, and hopefully the first of many. Kudos to Drs. Malinzak, Ackermann, and Rogers for their hard work on this edition. I am so impressed by the teams of smart, dedicated and efficient women that have risen up to support us as we expand. If you are new to WIA, let me share some background with you:
WIA was founded in 2015 to address the barriers women in anesthesiology face in their pursuit of a successful career. In particular, when WIA was originally founded, 4 major factors stood out:
- The lack of professional respect in comparison with male peers.
- The gender-based pay gap.
- Professional leave policies and culture that appear gender-neutral, but disadvantage women, especially during their childbearing or early parenting years.
- The absence of adequate mentorship and sponsorship for female anesthesiologists and subsequent lack of women in leadership roles.
Currently, there is a higher percentage of women in general surgery residencies (38%) than anesthesiology residencies (37%) per the AAMC. Despite an overall increase in women medical school graduates, anesthesiology residents, and anesthesiology faculty members, the rate of increase in anesthesiology residents and female faculty remains low. The percent of women department chairs in anesthesiology is about 12%, which has not significantly changed since 2004. The 2014 RAND study reported a gender pay gap – with all other factors accounted for – of $33,000 for US anesthesiologists.
But times are changing for our specialty. Forty percent of anesthesiologists under age 36 are now women. The ASA will have had 4 women presidents from 2014-2021. Movements of women anesthesiologists in leadership, research, and patient care are expanding quickly across the country. Here are some recent examples:
- A workgroup of women anesthesiologists put forth the ASA Statement on Leave and lobbied the ABA to reconsider its Absence from Training Policy.
- A plethora of research articles has been published this year by anesthesiologists on the subject of women in medicine (see selected articles below), including a special edition of International Anesthesiology Clinics and a planned special edition for the British Journal of Anaesthesia.
- Women anesthesiologists are preparing a task force to look into compensation factors. You may have even participated in the ASA survey a few months ago.
- Women anesthesiologists submitted a significant number of sessions for this year’s ASA meeting, many of which were accepted.
- Earlier this month, a group of primarily women anesthesiologists banded together to personally raise more than $10,000 for the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation in less than a week.
Women in Anesthesiology is growing in its influence. Our board has expanded to 10 top-notch professionals ready to work hard for this cause. We are revamping our website, starting a newsletter, expanding our social media reach, and growing components across the country. We have our sights on our first independent CME conference, but not before first celebrating our 2019 Annual Meeting in Orlando, which will be our best (and biggest) yet!
All of this is to say, we are so grateful for your support. If you would like to volunteer for any of the WIA initiatives listed above, please message firstname.lastname@example.org. We will have Board positions opening soon, as well as a revamped membership website. We hope to make you proud in the coming months.
And we DEFINITELY hope to see you at our annual meeting on October 18.
Amy Pearson, MD
President, Women in Anesthesiology, LLC