Women in Medicine SIG

Membership to Special Interest Groups is open to all APA members.
To join a SIG, click here

Past Meetings


Slides available upon request info@academicpeds.org

Annual Reports

Carol Berkowitz Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

SIG purpose/mission:
Provide a forum for women pediatricians to raise issues that effect both personal and professional lives.

Current SIG goals:

  1. Examine academic career paths for women pediatricians on a regular basis.
  2. Improve negotiating skills of women in academia.

Annual summary:
The Women in Medicine Special Interest Group met during the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 meeting on Sunday morning May 1, 2016 in Baltimore. There were over 45 participants present. After a brief introductory segment which included an appreciative exercise in which participants broke into dyads where they queried each other about their personal experiences with "the glass ceiling" , there was a panel discussion entitles "The Glass Ceiling: Myth, Reality or Vestige from the Past." The distinguished discussants included: Catherine DeAngelis MD MPH, Danielle Laraque-Arena MD and Karen Remley MD MPH MBA. Dr. DeAngelis is the Johns Hopkins Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and School of Public Health She is the Editor-in-Chief Emerita of JAMA and served as the first Editor-in-Chief. Danielle Laraque-Arena assumed office of the President of SUNY Upstate Medical University on April 15, 2016 and is a past president of the Academic Pediatric Association.  Karen Remley who had served as both the chief medical officer of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Virginia and the commissioner of health for the Commonwealth of Virginia took over as executive director/CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics in July 2015. Each of the panelists shared their experiences and wise counsel about their path to achieving first time for a woman position of leadership. Here are some of the ideas, concepts and things to come.

Cathy DeAngelis has authored a book called "Seeking Equity in Medicine". Be on the lookout for it.
The 5 T's of a leader: Tough-minded; Tenacious; Thick skinned; Tender hearted; Target.
Don't look in the rear view mirror. Look ahead.
Breaking though the glass ceiling: image of a unicorn
One's career is much like the games: "Chutes and Ladders"- ups and downs
Call inequities out. Embrace your feminism: Part of the issue of social justice
Legacy statement: If you wrote a letter to yourself 20 years ago: what would you have said.
Good for an institution to have an "Associate Professor" committee
Explore salary inequity
Work to get more women on committees
The second part of the SIG involved a highly interactive session: Strategies to Navigate and Support a Part-Time Faculty Career Path which was facilitated by Erica Chung, Allison Brindle, Delma-Jean Watts, Elaine Schulte Lombardi, Lindsay Thompson and Shuba Kamath. The difficulty for women with negotiating for themselves was a recurrent theme. One consideration for the Women in Medicine SIG at PAS 2017 in San Francisco would be to have a session on negotiation lead by a faculty member from a business school to better understand the basic principles guiding such negotiation.

Other groups that work in your area of interest:
Race in Medicine

June 2014 Newsletter Article

The Women in Medicine SIG met on Tuesday morning, May 6, 2014 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. There were approximately 25 participants plus the three panelists, Drs. Carol Berkowitz, Tumaini Coker and Alison Holmes. The focus of the session related to the books, "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg and "Bossypants" by Tina Fey. The session was entitled: "Leaning in, Leaning out and Leadership: Achieving a Balance".

Picture of Panelist

The SIG opened with an appreciative exercise during which attendees formed dyads, spoke together and then introduced their partner to the entire group, assuring that each attendee met at least one other person as part of the effort to network. The group then broke into smaller groups around each of the tables in the room. Each table included one of the 3 panelists and initially spent about 15 minutes reviewing a single scenario. The scenarios are posted on the APA Women in Medicine SIG Wiki site. The first scenario dealt with the issue of women being asked to run for president of a national pediatric organization. The case presented involved a situation where out of 10 suggested candidates, there was only 1 woman. There was a robust discussion of factors that might influence a woman not to be willing to be interviewed to run for office. These included the absence of role models and fear of rejection. Some attendees described the interview by a nominating committee as intimidating and suggested practice session head of time. Attendees also discussed the issue of being asked specifically because you were a woman (or a minority) and not because of your talents or skill set. Some attendees were willing to accept the "right opportunity" even for the wrong reason. A similar discussion surrounded the scenario related to being asked to serve as Associate Dean of Students, a position that had never been filled by a woman and recently vacated by a popular dean under unclear circumstances. A third scenario dealt with "leaning out", what to do if your daughter wanted to be a Brownie but the only way the troop could meet was if you could serve as a co-leader and the meetings were after school during the week. The comments related to assessing the total commitment, see if there could be alternative times, and if you took on the position, not to give explanations at work. There was a sense that women academicians who left work for family obligations were frowned on whereas men were praised for their family commitment. There was universal agreement that though there was greater sharing of family responsibilities, more of the workload fell on the women. The remainder of the scenarios were discussed by the entire group. There was a discussion about the fall off in the academic pipeline between assistant professor and professor for women. Comments that were made were that women were less attractive as they got older, women in their 50s were grumpy, women didn't get as much administrative support as men and were often expected to do "womanly" things (like make the coffee).

The issue was raised about whether there was still a need for a Women in Medicine SIG, or were the majority of issues resolved. There was a resounding YES to the continuation of the SIG and the following thoughts were aired. We as women need to create a wish list. We need to explore the status of women physicians internationally. We would like longer maternity leave (12 months). We'd like husbands to "lean in" more at home. We sometimes are our own worst enemies. The APA WIM SIG lives on!

SIG Chair:
Carol Berkowitz

Back to Newsletter

Previous Newsletters

Current SIG Chair:

Carol Berkowitz, MD
1000 West Carson Street, Box 437
Torrance, CA 90509-2910
Phone: (310) 222-3091



Renew Membership

Join APA


APA Journal