August 2020 Newsletter

In This Issue

Letter from the Chair: The Power of Showing Up

Loice A. Swisher, MD FAAEM
Chair, WiEM Section

On July 17, 2020, America lost one of its Civil Rights icons — Representative John Lewis. This month, I share a video, which shows better than any words - the power of showing up. No, it is not of a young John Lewis showing up 55 years ago to march for voting right and being beaten on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. It is a video of 10-year-old Tybre Faw who showed up in Selma — a trip which changed his life.

This video illustrates a critical lesson — just showing up can transform your life.

Watching the one-minute segment brought back memories of the greatest ‘powerplay’ I made as a member of AAEM. In 2015, I trekked to Austin for the AAEM Scientific Assembly for my first national conference in 15 years. I confided to a long-ago former resident a feeling of being lost and alone. He suggested if I really wanted to know what was going on with AAEM that I should go to the board meeting. I was shocked. I had no idea that board meetings were open (and they all are as well as committee meetings). I embraced that useful nugget of information given by my former resident and former AAEM President, Dr. Howard Blumstein.

It worked well in 2015. So, in 2016, I arrived a day early the Scientific Assembly in Las Vegas. Like Tybre, I found the location and took my place on the sideline. And as unexpected as John Lewis’s hug for Tybre, various Board members approached me asking if I wanted to run for the Board. Shockingly, I was given a Chair position for an Education Subcommittee during the conference.

Without a doubt, those few hours of my butt in a chair altered my career trajectory.

For whatever reason, women generally are less likely to ‘show up’ than men are. It seems that we are less adept at the art of self-promotion and the art of promoting each other. Here are some of my personal examples of how men show up more often than women:

  • In 2017, the AAEM staff sent out an email blast regarding speakers for the upcoming Scientific Assembly. The faces were all male. I knew there were women speakers. My heart felt that the staff would not have excluded female faces. In fact, there was no other option. None of the women speakers sent in bio photos. Only men’s faces appeared.
  • After a FIX17 presentation on gender differences in award nomination and receipt, I reviewed the track record for AAEM. The graphs are shockingly skewed. One AAEM award has never been granted to a woman. Questioning a former AAEM President, he said “I don’t remember a woman ever being nominated.” If women aren’t nominated — women will not be recognized.
  • This year I personally wrote six of the seven nominations for this Section’s Council. To close the gender inequity gap, we MUST change our behavior. We must do better. Take some time, show gratitude, nominate the women who have helped lift you up.

This is critical. We must show up. Today, I ask you to commit to at least one additional way to show up. Consider nominating someone for an AAEM award or even running for Council next year yourself. Join our Facebook. Come to the October 13th Town Hall.

Showing Up,

Loice A. Swisher, MD FAAEM
Chair, AAEM Women in EM Section
pronouns- any, name preferred

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Member Spotlight

We are pleased to highlight one of our WiEM Section members each month. I had the pleasure of connecting with Dr. Sarah Dubbs via zoom this month to kick the series off. Dr. Dubbs assumed the PD role at the University of Maryland as of August 1st. She is the first female to assume the role in the history of the program. It has always been her career goal to become a PD.

I asked her what were some of the contributing factors to her academic success so far? She acknowledged the sponsorship and mentorship of both women and men at the University of Maryland. Her immediate predecessors Drs. Michael Bond and Amal Mattu have been great supporters. In many places across the U.S., female physicians are experiencing burnout at a higher rate than men. Yet, Dr. Dubbs feels that there is a special sauce within Maryland’s program in a community Women’s Group at Maryland. The group has been a tremendous resource to share experiences and support each other during this unprecedented time in history.

When looking back as to what drove her to choose EM as a career. She highlighted Dr. Elizabeth Maxwell-Schmidt as a positive and sponsoring role model. She had worked as a scribe in a community ED where Dr. Maxwell-Schmidt was the Director of the Scribe Program. Her encouragement clicked. “If she could do it, I could too.”

Personally, Dr. Dubbs is surrounded by educators within her family. She is married to a teacher and has two daughters ages seven and 10. She is a first generation American and her parents are Vietnamese refugees.

She is enthusiastic to take the helm of the program at Maryland. Over her tenure, she will strive to continue the legacy of excellence in EM education and leave her own mark. Whatever the future brings. We wish her great success!

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 WiEM Section Town Hall Council Meeting

Thank you for joining the AAEM Women in Emergency Medicine Section. We were disappointed that we could not gather in Phoenix in April for the AAEM20 Scientific Assembly. For that reason we would like to schedule a WiEM Section Town Hall Council meeting via Zoom Webinar on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 8:00pm ET.

The WiEM Section has new member benefits, section updates, and new initiatives that we would like to share with you!

More information coming soon.

WiEM Section Council

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November Airway Storytelling Event

Learn More


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Virtual Mentoring Sessions for IMGs

The WiEM Section is starting a new virtual mentoring series to specifically address concerns facing international medical graduates (IMGs) interested in emergency medicine. IMGs face unique obstacles when it comes to matching in emergency medicine residencies, including stigma, immigration issues, and limited access to emergency medicine mentors. Compounding these issues are the racial and ethnic discrimination many IMGs face as minorities. The goal of this series is to address some of these specific issues, offer advice and a pathway for mentorship, and provide representation of IMGs who have successfully transitioned into careers as U.S. EM physicians.

Each month will feature an expert panel and Q&A session. Topics for the fall sessions will focus on issues related to ERAS application, including:

  • ERAS and Personal Statements Tips and Tricks (August)
  • Finding a Program (September)
  • Backup Specialties (October)
  • Virtual Interview Success (November)
  • Building a Rank List (December/January)

Sessions will be open to members of AAEM WiEM Section who register prior to the event. (Hes for Shes are welcome to join the WiEM Section!). Each session will be recorded and made available through the Women’s Wisdom: Our Journey in Emergency Medicine podcast.

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Monthly featured AMWA Initiative — Revolution by Resolution: Advancing Gender Equity in Medical Societies State by State

Join three of our Women in EM members for a zoom discussion on applying to EM residencies as an IMG. Each of our panelists have been active in AAEM. One of our speakers is an author and one of our participating viewers will receive a copy of her book! 

For over a century, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) has been committed to the advancement of women in medicine. To take advantage of this long history and their more extensive resources, the AAEM Women in EM Section offers a free affiliate membership to AMWA. Each newsletter will feature an AMWA initiative to acquaint our members with potential areas of common interest.

August: Revolution by Resolution: Advancing Gender Equity in Medical Societies State by State

The Revolution by Resolution initiative started in 2018 after two the passage of two gender equity resolutions: one with the AMA and the other in the Massachusetts Medical Society. The goal then became to sweep the country with similar resolutions with every state medical society. AMWA’s Gender Equity Task Force developed a webinar and a state by state map. For more information, contact

Note: AMWA membership is open to both male and female; students, residents, and faculty. Log in to your AAEM account and visit the AAEM Member Center to activate your AMWA membership.


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Joint WiEM Section Webinar — An Interview with Dr. Mona Masood

On July 23rd, AMWA and the WiEM Section jointly held a webinar — Protecting Physician Mental Health During the COVID Pandemic and Beyond featuring an interview with Dr. Mona Masood. At the start of the COVID pandemic, Dr. Masood queried a listserv if other psychiatrists like herself would be willing to volunteer to support other doctors through the stress. Hundreds responded. She suddenly became the CEO and Founder of the Physician Support Line. You can view the complete webinar and interview between Dr. Masood and Dr. Loice Swisher here.


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Recent Member Publications

Common Sense Issue: July/August 2020

AAEM President’s Message: Doing the Right Thing

Interruptions in the Emergency Department and the Myth of Multitasking
Andrew Grock, MD FAAEM and Al’ai Alvarez MD FAAEM

Promoting Social Connection during COVID-19
Al’ai Alvarez, MD FAAEM, Annesha Dhargalkar, MD, FAAEM; Carole Levy, MD MPH FAAEM and Robert Lam, MD FAAEM

COVID-19 Pandemic Draws Palliative Care into the ED
Jessica Fleischer-Black, MD FAAEM

Ultrasound Education in the COVID-19 Era
Melissa Myers, MD FAAEM and Aleix Salerno, MD FAAEM

Section Report: Women in Emergency Medicine: Embracing Femininity in a Pandemic
Lauren Maloney, MD NRP FP-C NCEE

The COVID-19 Experience Outside of the Epicenters
Robyn Hitchcock, MD FAAEM

JAFERD’s Can Do It
Elizabeth Paterek, MD FAAEM

Puja Singh

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