AMWA IGNITE: A Novel Program for Medical Students Addressing the Unique Challenges Faced by Women in Medicine
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Background: Women physicians are more likely than their male counterparts to experience gender discrimination, sexual harassment, role conflict, burn out, and issues related to reproduction. Currently, there is no medical school program that addresses these challenges. AMWA Ignite was developed by female physicians to educate medical students on ways to enhance their careers, navigate the challenges women are more likely to experience, and help mitigate burnout.
Objectives: To develop a curriculum, research opportunities, and coaching for medical students that explores and offers solutions to the unique challenges faced by women physicians in training.
Methods/Research: Two US medical school American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) chapters participated in the pilot study: Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. AMWA Ignite offers three modes of engagement: Curriculum: Expert faculty present topics including reproductive life planning, resilience, sexual harassment, financial wellness, mentorship, intersectionality, and navigating male-dominated specialties.
Topics are determined by the individual chapters with the help of a faculty champion. The modules vary between didactic lectures, case presentations, physician panels, small group discussions, and role playing. Content refinement occurs through pre- and post-session participant surveys. Attendance has been considerable and initial feedback has been positive. Survey results are undergoing analysis and will be available for future presentation.
Research: The modules stimulate ideas for research topics that students can pursue with a faculty advisor. The research component aims to mentor students through the scientific method.
Mentorship: This program has developed one-on-one and group coaching for women, utilizing technology to allow long-distance mentorship.
Conclusions/Impact: AMWA Ignite is an innovative sex and gender specific program that aims to address challenges faced by women physicians. Preliminary data from surveyed medical students has shown interest in this program, which will begin its expansion phase in the academic year 2020-2021.
women, medicine, AMWA, medical students
Melikan, MS, BA, R. E.; Shuman, BS, H. L.; Files, MD, J. A.; Stonnington, MD, C.; Kraus, MD, M.; and Kling, MD, MPH, J. M., "AMWA IGNITE: A Novel Program for Medical Students Addressing the Unique Challenges Faced by Women in Medicine" (2020). Sex and Gender Health Education Summit 2020 – Virtual Meeting. 13.