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Women Physician Series Leadership Event: “Perspectives on Leadership”

Women Physician Series Leadership Event: “Perspectives on Leadership”
By Mamata Majmundar, MD, FAAFP, CPE, Family Medicine Physician

In 1849, the first woman in America to earn a M.D. degree was Elizabeth Blackwell. She paved the way to support medical education for women and many other women in their careers. Since this time the number of women enrolled in medicine has significantly increased. A 2017 survey, from the Association of American Medical Colleges, reports the number of women enrolled in U.S. medical schools represented 50.7%.1 This is a significant step towards physicians being more representative of the total population in the U.S. which accounts for 50.8% of women.2
As the number of women increase in medicine, there is ample opportunity to increase representation in leadership roles. This led to an initiative for a Woman Physician Leadership Series. The intent of this program is to engage more female colleagues in pursuing leadership roles within organized medicine and throughout the community. This increases our impact to better represent the patients we serve, to understand and promote the healthcare needs of our community, and improve our healthcare delivery system.
On March 13, 2018, over 35 women physicians, registered to hear Dr. Ardis Hoven, a well known national and international physician leader speak on the topic “Perspectives on Leadership”. Dr. Hoven is well known in her medical career, as one of the main proponents for pioneering treatment in the early 80’s for HIV and AIDS. She has numerous leadership accolades and is past president of the American Medical Association and chair of the World Medical Association. Dr. Hoven has extensive experience in health policy, how to navigate challenges, and create an environment of change to improve health outcomes. The topic focused on Dr. Hoven’s professional and leadership experience as a female physician leader.
Dr. Hoven started out her talk by explaining her thoughts on leadership, how to become involved with leadership, navigating and finding your pathway, and closed with an open session for questions. She discussed how her passion was the impetus for change, and highlighted her “Rules of the Road” utilizing examples throughout her career which are easily relatable to any woman in medicine.  “Rules of the Road” are leadership points which are valuable for any leader.

“Rules of the Road”

Leadership is both earned and learned.
Separate the politics from the problem.
Listen to both sides of the debate.
Stand up for your own convictions.
Do not be afraid of a challenge.
Acknowledge mistakes and move forward.
Encourage, value, and respect dissenting opinions.
Take a chance. You may be surprised at what can happen.
Give people the credit for what they do.
Remember you are a facilitator.

1. https://news.aamc.org/press-releases/article/applicant-enrollment-2017/
2. https://mchb.hrsa.gov/whusa13/population-characteristics/p/us-population.html