The American Association of Women Emergency Physicians stands for issues relevant to anyone, male or female, who works in an emergency department. Take part in this strong group advocating for you.
Oftentimes women's groups are smiled upon kindly and seen as a nice way for the fairer sex to get together and discuss "women's issues" - like recipes, parenting, the latest novel, or TV drama. They are not always taken seriously, particularly in a large organization that consists of 60% men and has many male-dominated committees and sections. After all, currently an EM women's group only affects 25% of all active emergency physicians who are female.1
The American Association of Women Emergency Physicians (AAWEP) is ACEP's 3rd largest section, and in the past year we acted like it! We have stood strong, flexed our muscles, and made sure our voices were heard. AAWEP does not stand for "women's issues," AAWEP stands for paid parental leave, halting implicit bias in the workplace and for our patients, closing the pay gap for everyone, fairness in contract negotiation, making environmentally friendly EDs, acknowledging that our donations to conservative politicians who support medical liability reform and other issues important to medicine also unintendedly supports failure to legislate firearm safety laws (in contradiction to current ACEP policy statements). These are issues for anyone, male or female, who works in an emergency department.
AAWEP also offers a place to grow your leadership skills. We have several active committees ready to hone your skills: special projects, ACEP council resolutions, awards, social media, education, membership, newsletter, and the executive committee.
This year the Special Projects Committee has submitted a section grant for the production of a gender bias booklet to explore several gender bias issues and how those issues relate to emergency medicine. This committee is also focusing on building an anonymous, secure pay database with an in-depth survey and generation of both initial charts and graphs for quick review by users as well as access to raw data (for a deep dive for interested researchers).
The Awards Committee regularly nominates women for ACEP awards, and it has established new AAWEP Awards: Outstanding ED Director, Outstanding Mentor, Rising Star, and Resident Rocks It! Please consider nominating yourself or others; details are at https://www.acep.org/how-we-serve/sections/american-association-of-women-eps/.
The Education Committee is searching for speakers at the annual AAWEP meeting at ACEP20. We strive for diverse speakers from academics, the community, residents/early/mid and late career who are able to speak on timely topics. Watch for our call for speakers if you would like to speak at a national meeting - and see what AAWEP has to offer at ACEP20.
We have also started a Google Meet book club. Our inaugural book, reviewed in June, will be "The Moment of Lift" by Melinda Gates. We will hold book reviews quarterly.
In the past year the Resolutions Committee brought important resolutions to the floor about implicit bias, pay transparency, increasing postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months, and NEMPAC transparency. In 2020 we plan to bring resolutions on social media app awareness, an ACEP policy in support of paid parental leave, separate from the current Family and Medical Leave Policy, universal health care, no firearms in the ED, and others.
Finally, AAWEP is teeming with mentors each in various stages of their own careers looking for a mentee to "pull up." So, I invite you, EMRA (men and women), to pick AAWEP for your free section. Come see what we are about for free, grow with us, and then stick with us as an attending.
Find out more about AAWEP by visiting the Section website at https://www.acep.org/how-we-serve/sections/american-association-of-women-eps/.