I’m excited to introduce you to an unstoppable movement that I’ve been a part of throughout my residency tenure: #Shemergency.

I am incredibly fortunate at my residency program to be surrounded by an abundance of highly successful and all around phenomenal female mentors, with a substantial percentage of women in leadership positions. However, I recognize this may not be the case everywhere. When I started residency, there was an awesome tradition of ‘ladies’ nights’. In the past few years, we have lovingly started to refer to these as #Shemergency nights. A slight change in the name has brought with it a sense of empowerment. We have moved beyond a ‘social’ group to a ‘support’ group of sorts.

I’m hoping to convince women in other residency programs to start a similar #Shemergency tradition. This group has created a safe and supportive environment where we can share and grow together.

Steps to Create a Resident-Driven #Shemergency Group:

For Residents:

  1. Be the driving force!!!
  2. Find 2-3 interested attendings who are supportive and willing to commit.
  3. Communicate to your attendings how valuable this group is to you (and also to them!).
  4. Review the resident/attending schedules to find times when most women residents/attendings are not scheduled.
  5. Plan quarterly, potentially kid friendly, inexpensive events and ensure your core female attendings/residents are available (2-3 residents and 2-3 attendings at minimum). Create a listserve of all female residents and attendings to invite.
  6. Enlist suggestions from attendings/residents for activities and delegate each person to plan one event.
  7. Encourage other specialties to do the same and have joint activities: #Shemedicine #Shediatrics #Anesshesia #ShENT.
  8. Go Viral! Share what you are doing on social media!

For Attendings:

  1. Schedule times that are best for your schedule and encourage participation.
  2. Schedule activities that are easy for you to participate in and get to, as well as kid friendly. I guarantee your residents will be willing to entertain your kids during these events at no additional cost;) Think about holding events at your house if that’s an easier option.
  3. Work with 2-3 residents across years to ensure the group continues.
  4. Know how much your residents will appreciate your time and presence!

Potential barriers/criticisms:

  1. We have a limited number of female EM attendings.”  Reach out to female attendings and residents in other departments. They likely have similar challenges/successes in their careers that they can share with you!
  1. Why not include males? Won’t this create a larger divide along gender lines?”  Okay then, include them! We all recognize that both men and women are needed when it comes to tackling gender inequality issues. If they are interested in joining, they are always welcome. There may be some benefit for them to create a similar group. Our male counterparts have created quarterly #MenofEM activities thanks to our lead and are excited for co-ed events.
  1. We are too busy.”  Time will always be the biggest barrier so plan in advance and don’t use it as an excuse to not do this!
  1. I can’t think of any events.”  Great, we’ve created a list of activities that include wellness, service and career advancement activities. Contact me if interested!

A version of this article was originally published in AWAEM Awareness April-June 2017.