Celebrating Women in Emergency Medicine
This fall, there are several events to celebrate and support women in emergency medicine and Envision Physician Services is excited to play a part. In October, EVPS will serve as the exclusive sponsor of the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians (AAWEP) section meeting at ACEP’s Annual Scientific Assembly. Also, during our EVPS Annual Leadership Conference, we will host a multispecialty panel discussion, “Fostering Women in Leadership,” an open dialogue to allow both men and women to share the challenges of and opportunities for fostering women leaders in medicine.
And in early October, EVPS sponsored the FemInEM FIX17 Conference in New York. One of our own, Adam Brown, M.D., MBA, FACEP, was a panelist and lecturer at the event. Dr. Brown is senior vice president of the EVPS mid-Atlantic region and is system chief of emergency medicine at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. Through his contagious enthusiasm in his article below, Dr. Brown captures the excitement of FemInEM and provides a glimpse of how rewarding it can be to get involved in supporting women in medicine.
The phone vibrates in my pocket.
It’s “Mom,” the screen reads. I quickly slide my finger across the screen, excited to tell Mom what I have been doing over the past few days.
“You are where?” she says in her Steel Magnolias southern voice.
“Oh, I’m at the FemInEM FIX17 conference in New York City.”
“The ‘feminine’ conference? What?” she says, clearly confused.
“FemInEM,” I say. “Females in Emergency Medicine. I’m on a panel about sponsoring women for leadership and how to actively advocate for women’s equality.” In my excited, rapid, yet southern drawl I explain how as a “champion” for women, I have advocated and implemented a plan for flexible schedules for pre- and post-natal women and have sponsored and supported six women in key leadership positions in the multiple emergency departments I manage. Because of this, I was asked to participate in the conference on a panel (Mom was impressed). And while I am proud of our accomplishments in elevating and supporting women, I believe we still have so far to go.
This past year’s FIX17 (FemInEM Idea Exchange) three-day conference was, hands down, the best medical conference I have ever attended. And in my 10+ years as a physician, I’ve been to a lot of them! The energy was palpable and intoxicating, with talks that were personally relevant to an emergency physician’s life — female or male.
FemInEM/FIX17 is the brainchild of Dr. Dara Kass, a practicing E.M. physician, who had a vision of a conference that would bring the “energy of FemInEM” together as a forum where ideas are exchanged and attendees are inspired by each other. As expected, her vision was realized.
The talks were grouped in 20-30 minute sessions, taking a nod from the highly effective TED talk platform. Housed in the School of the Visual Arts Theater, a modern, aesthetically appealing venue, women and a few men (XY feminists as I like to call them) from across the country spoke about everything from “How to Build Your Brand” to “Balancing Life” to “Managing Personal Finances.”
I was honored to be on a panel hosted by Dr. Esther Choo, associate professor at Oregon Health Sciences in Portland and Twitter/CNN aficionado, and Dr. Michael Gisondi, vice chair of education at Stanford’s E.D. residency. In our discussion called “Champions of Change,” we talked about the challenges and successes for increasing female visibility, strength and equity in the E.D. We also discussed our vision for the future of women in leadership in emergency medicine. At the end of the panel, we acknowledged there is so much to do.
The conference hosts also offered networking dinners at “fit for foodie” restaurants across Manhattan where attendees could discuss issues over drinks and desserts. FIX17 also held a great closing party at a sleek, hip venue called Slate. Here attendees connected over cocktails, sharing ideas and experiences while listening to dance music in the background. The experiences at each of the evening events solidified many relationships, new and old.
On the last day of the conference, FemInEM held a workshop in the Innovation Loft, an open concept Google-inspired workspace, which allowed a deeper dive into various subject matters ranging from “How to Write an Op-Ed” to “Building your Leadership Brand” to “Diversifying your Finances” (my two-hour workshop on financial strategies and general money management principles). These small group, hands-on workshops allowed participants to work in various areas of interest with experts in their fields.
So after three days of interacting with some amazing women and men at FIX17, I returned energized and excited about the future of our field of emergency medicine. I also left with a sense of purpose. We must find solutions to address leadership inequities and develop methods to support and sponsor women in medicine. Addressing these issues is not only great for our colleagues and employees, but it is also great for business. Meeting our employees where they are in their lives will ensure retention and resiliency of our physicians and providers. I am so excited for FIX18!
Envision Physician Services is proud of our providers and their ongoing support of these initiatives. Their work demonstrates our commitment to the individual woman physician attending these meetings, and also to the entire community of women physicians in the specialty of emergency medicine. Events such as these help build relationships that encourage learning from one another, sharing experiences, breaking down barriers and forming a support system. It is that commitment to our physicians over the last 40 years that has enabled our company to attract some of the best and brightest women in emergency medicine.