December 03, 2015

AMWA launches chapter at UAB School of Medicine

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AMWA meetingMore than 40 attendees filled the Board Room at the West Pavilion Conference Center last month for the inaugural meeting of the UAB School of Medicine chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association to find out what the presence of organization would mean for them. 

AMWA, founded in 1915 as the first national organization of women physicians,  is dedicated to advancing women in medicine and improving women’s health through advocacy, education, mentoring, expertise and strategic partnership. Membership is open to physicians, residents, medical students, pre-medical students, healthcare professionals and supporters.

“Why should you care about joining this organization?” Lauren Walter, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine asked the crowd. “Because women in medicine still are not operating on a level playing field. Even accounting for factors such as maternity leave, women still make significantly less than their male counterparts.”

Although more women are enrolling in medical school than ever before in American history, women are still underrepresented at the highest levels of academic medicine and experience lower rates of pay and promotion than their male colleagues – making collective representation, support and networking as important as ever.

The School of Medicine’s Office for Diversity & Inclusion (ODI), headed by Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, senior associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion, worked with Walter to reinstitute the AMWA Chapter that formerly existed in the SOM. Evelyn Jones, business consultant to the ODI, spearheaded the administrative effort to reopen the chapter. 

Fouad opened the meeting with an overview of the Office for Diversity & Inclusion. She said the Diversity Engagement Survey, an AAMC-designed mechanism for evaluating sentiments and actions related to diversity and inclusion, was administered to all faculty, trainees, and students in October 2015; preliminary results indicate that a multifaceted approach to increasing diversity awareness and confronting discrimination is of critical importance. 

“Maybe this can be a good group to bring in all the women in medicine,” Fouad said. “This can be a way for all of us to get together, without women in each division needing to develop their own group separately. I’m hoping that this AMWA chapter can be our way of communication about issues, getting feedback and making life here as working faculty easier on us.” 

Membership in the UAB chapter of AMWA will be free for the time being; fees apply to be part of the national organization.

Positions are currently open for officers and committee members for the new AMWA chapter. To learn more about the new AMWA chapter or to get involved, contact Evelyn Jones at, or Lauren Walter at