June 2020 Newsletter
Loice A. Swisher, MD FAAEM
Chair, WiEM Section
Growing up the rules seemed clear. Girls liked dolls. Boys liked sports. I liked neither. I liked books. In middle school I decided to join the band. I didn’t like the flute or clarinet typically chosen by girls. I also wasn’t interested in the trumpet or drums which called to boys. I selected the French horn for the practical reason that it is the only left-handed instrument. In high school, I found I wasn’t attracted to boys; however, I wasn’t drawn to girls either. My adolescent mind told me that there must be something wrong with me. People like me were not meant to live in this world.
Fortunately, in college I declared early that I planned to go to medical school. My incessant studying granted me an explanation for the minimal social life avoiding gender-based expectations. As luck would have it, the summer before medical school I fell into a deep friendship with a guy staffing the same summer church camp. During his four years at University of Pennsylvania and mine at Temple Medical School, we continued to see each other. We were married a week after my graduation.
I was relieved to forgo the relatively common question of the woman, “Miss, Ms, or Mrs?” One could call me Dr. Swisher or Loice. I’m biologically XX. I look female. I am treated as a female. As far as everyone in the world was concerned, my category was heterosexual female. My professional title allowed me an escape to avoid consideration of anything else.
Then ‘personal pronouns’ arrived. People included their personal pronouns in introductions and their email signature line. My mind understood that this was an easy way to show inclusion and acceptance; however, my tongue found it difficult to find the words. I struggled because none of them fit.
Did I really have to answer that question? I am barely on the rainbow. I can be comfortably invisible. Without the question of personal pronouns, non-binary demisexual would never come up in conversation.
This is not true for most of my colleagues in the LGBTQ+ community. With the dismantling of sexual orientation and gender identity protections, this Pride month must feel less safe. If intentionally stating one’s pronouns creates a sense of inclusion and acceptance in this new Women in Emergency Medicine Section, then any angst I have must be set aside. During my tenure as Chair, I wish to be seen as an Ally. Let this be the first step.
(Pronouns - any, name preferred)
Since the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the entire world has focused on the torment and suffering that racism has inflicted on persons of color. Black writers of blogs, articles, and tweets repeatedly explained that racism is not something perpetuated by black people — it is endured. Confronting the cause of racism would mean that white people would have to look within their own self and each other. Then came Twitter — if you are a leader/s (Chair, President, etc.) of an organization and have not put forth a statement, why not?
We as the WiEM Section Council are new leaders. We had not put out a statement because we didn’t know that we should or could. This simple question brought a jolt of responsibility. In true introspection, we found we could name a few black or brown members. We could choose to remain silent or we change the course by vowing active anti-racism. We commit to the latter.
We, the Council of the AAEM Women in Emergency Medicine Section, recognize, and acknowledge the paucity of black and brown members within our section, within our specialty, and within the house of medicine. We admit that this under representation in our membership contributes to failing to see their experience, elevate their voices, and advocate for their success. We pledge to leverage the benefits and influence of this new section to intentionally support, promote, and sponsor our colleagues of color. We will strive to practice more than active allyship, and represent anti-racism through advocacy and creation of unencumbered pathways for mentorship and leadership. We ask our full section to hold us accountable when we fall short.
We are pleased to announce a new exclusive benefit for the WiEM Section members — a free membership to the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA). This is open to both male and female; students, residents, and faculty. This affiliate membership everything a fill AMWA membership would except the membership does not allow for elected positions, voting, or international events. Click here to learn more about the benefits AMWA has to offer. Log in to your AAEM account and visit the AAEM Member Center to activate your AMWA membership.
The call has gone out for educational proposal submissions for the 27th Annual Scientific Assembly in St. Louis, MO at the St. Louis Union Station, March 6-10, 2021. Dr. Lisa A. Moreno, our current AAEM President and a WiEM Section member, has written to all AAEM Committee, Section, Chapter Division, and Interest Group leaders to encourage new and diverse submissions from all members. The common practice is for AAEM members to submit potential talks that they would want to present. The most common varieties are Breve Dulce (short sweet talks less than 10 minutes), Track Talks (20-25 minutes), and Small Group Clinic (20-45 minutes requiring multiple facilitators).
Deadline to submit an educational proposal: June 29, 2020.
To support our WiEM Section members who wish to submit for the first time we have developed an educational proposal consultation. This consult will connect you to an experienced speaker who can answer questions and provide advice. We are also looking for consultors who have had previous experience as Scientific Assembly speakers.
Deadline to apply for an educational proposal consult: June 26, 2020.
Even though the 26th Annual Scientific Assembly in Phoenix, AZ did not take place, the 2020 AAEM Awards were announced. A heartfelt congratulations to our two members from the WiEM Section who won awards!
Vicki Norton, MD FAAEM — James Keaney Award
Molly K. Estes, MD FAAEM — Young Educators Award
Our Section has a public Facebook group. We know—old school. Most of our newest colleagues are past Twitter and on Instagram. It is currently the best networking forum we have. Please join. It will continue to serve as a bulletin board regarding activities. It is hoped to be more than that. We want it to be a way to stay connected.
Breast Practices: Strategies to Support Lactating Emergency Physicians
Annals of Emergency Medicine
Mary Haas, MD; Adaira Landry, MD MEd; Nikita Joshi, MD
ER doctors: We're no strangers to violence but we try to de-escalate without anyone dying
Al’ai Alvarez, MD FAAEM; Italo Brown, MD MPH; Onyeka Otugo, MD; Adaira Landry, MD MEd