Message from the President
This newsletter comes after a long hiatus for Women in Anesthesiology, and a tough year for many of us personally. There is no doubt that 2020 was a life-changing year in so many ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched us to our limit, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Long-overdue social justice movements, including Black Lives Matter, were at the forefront and shaped many of our conversations and thoughts. 2020 has been jokingly symbolized as a “dumpster fire,” but like a phoenix, 2021 has given us a new beginning and hope for the future.
It is an appropriate time to relaunch our newsletter as March marks Women’s History Month. We are excited to share with you the updates that have occurred within WIA. Fortunately, our first virtual Annual Meeting in October 2020 was a success. Dr. Ebony Hilton gave a phenomenal keynote examining “The Intersectionality of Pandemic and Protest”, and Dr. Rekha Chandrabose and Dr. Elizabeth Rebello introduced professional coaching in a workshop session. To offer support to our members in this virtual era, we launched the WIA Speaker Series. Dr. Emily Methangkool, Dr. Allison Overmon, and Dr. Asha Padmanabhan gave amazing talks that provided much needed discussion and connection. We have a fantastic lineup in the next few months, so if you haven’t registered yet, please do so at https://www.womeninanesthesiology.org/wia-speaker-series-2021/. Durable CME and MOCA Patient Safety credit is offered so even if you miss the live event, you can still access the video recording later. A huge thanks to Dr. Kristin Ondecko-Ligda and Dr. Jenny Pennycuff, who chair the Annual Meeting and Speaker Series.
We also launched our Research Committee, headed by Dr. Lisa Rong and Dr. Annery Garcia-Marcinkiewicz. Over 200 people registered for their first free Webinar on “How to Give a Talk in a Virtual Era” with Dr. Elizabeth Drum, Dr. Harriet Hopf, and Dr. Jorge Galvez. I certainly gained a lot of tips on how to upgrade my Zoom talks and I know that Dr. Rong and Dr. Garcia-Marcinkiewicz have innovative ideas for future offerings to our members.
You may have noticed our social media redesign as well, thanks to Dr. Heidi Tavel (Social Media Director), Melissa Ramirez, and Dr. Leena Mathew (Communications Chair). They have done an wonderful job working to promote women anesthesiologists on social media, so please follow us on Facebook (Women In Anesthesiology), Twitter (@womenmdinanesth), and Instagram (@womeninanes) to see all the opportunities, resources, and kudos. I’m especially excited for the “Feature Fridays.” Please send any feedback on posts and ideas for future content to firstname.lastname@example.org
The long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s careers will continue to evolve and it is my goal that WIA can support women anesthesiologists through the systemic imbalances that were imposed. Caregiving issues have come to the forefront during this pandemic and have disproportionately affected women, as schools and daycares closed, social distancing measures were imposed, and elderly family were taken out of nursing homes. All anesthesiologists are caregivers — we all care for our patients. Yet caregiving outside of work is not equally acknowledged as our dedication to patient care. It is my hope that WIA can help change our work culture to make caregiving acceptable in both our personal and professional lives.
I always have to remind you that we are an all-volunteer and non-profit organization, so we rely on YOU to help us move forward. Remember to renew your membership (if you haven’t already) and please consider giving a donation. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you are interested in volunteering on any projects or if you have ideas on how WIA can partner. You can contact us through our website (www.womeninanesthesiology.org) or email (email@example.com).
I am grateful to the efforts placed into this newsletter relaunch by Dr. Heidi Tavel, Dr. Lisa Weiss, Dr. Amanda Kirzner, and Dr. Leena Mathew. Additionally, all of WIA’s offerings couldn’t be possible without our Board of Directors and many volunteers who work behind the scenes. I want to welcome Dr. Destiny Chau and Dr. Tracey Straker to our Board, Dr. Tosho Songolo as our Resident Representative, and Melissa Ramirez as our Medical Student Representative. Also, I have to acknowledge Dr. Sam Yeap, Dr. Corinna Yu, Dr. Jessica Sumski, Dr. Harriet Hopf, Dr. Christina Menor, and Dr. Allison Bechtel for volunteering their time throughout 2020.
Last, I want to give special recognition to our Past-President, Dr. Amy Pearson, who led WIA to new places over the last two years, including in a pandemic. I have enormous shoes to fill and have to remind myself to break free from Imposter Syndrome when I think about the leadership she displayed and all she contributed to this organization. Thank you, Amy, for being a friend, mentor, and sponsor. I look forward to guiding and growing WIA with much hope and ambition in our “new normal.”
Elizabeth B Malinzak, MD, FASA
President, Women in Anesthesiology, LLC