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Mentor Spotlight: Dr. Julie K Freed

Physician Scientists are uniquely positioned to bridge scientific discovery and clinical care. As such, our training involves learning clinical skills, understanding how to design and test hypotheses, as well as mastering the art of writing and presenting our findings. While these are crucial for developing our clinical-care skills and research acumen, there are innumerous other professional opportunities that physician scientists often partake in, including national or institutional leadership, medical/graduate education, outreach and mentorship, policy/advocacy, industrial consulting, and entrepreneurship. As such, training MD-PhD students often requires a personalized approach that empowers them to gain the skills necessary for their unique career interests.

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AWS Resident Travel Award

AWS Resident Travel Award
2023 Awardees Announced

The 2023 AWS Annual Conference is taking place in Boston from October 21-23. The conference offers residents an opportunity to network, expand their knowledge, and develop new leadership skills. To assist residents in attending the #AWS2023 conference, The Association of Women Surgeons is offering scholarships to four AWS resident members to assist with their travel to the conference in Boston.

Congratulations to the 2023 AWS Resident Travel Awardees:

  1. Dr. Andrea Riner, University of Florida
  2. Dr. Lauren Janczewski, McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University
  3. Dr. Natalia Correa, University of Miami Holycross Health
  4. Dr. Isabella Faria, UTMB

The AWS Resident Travel Award is made possible through the generosity of Dr. Margaret Dunn, Dr. Lauren Nosanov, and the AWS Foundation. 

Pride Month with AOSA and AWSF

Celebrate Pride Month with AOSA & AWSF
Join Us for a Contest that will Knock Your Socks Off!

June is Pride Month, and we are ready to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community! The Association of Out Surgeons and Allies and the Association of Women Surgeons Foundation invite you to celebrate diversity and support inclusiveness by joining a fun contest this month. 

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Call for Applications: SBAS & AWS Visiting Professorship

The Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS) and the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) Visiting Professorship

Call for Applications

Application Deadline EXTENDED to June 22, 2023


To provide active SBAS and AWS members who are faculty members at the rank of Associate Professor and within 15 years of their faculty appointment the opportunity to serve as a Visiting Professor for the Department of Surgery at a host institution. The host site application will open soon.

To promote the careers of mid-career SBAS-AWS members and recognize academic excellence.

The awardee must be an active member in good standing with SBAS or ¬AWS and be an Associate Professor of Surgery within 15 years of their faculty appointment. If awarded, you will be expected to join the other organization.

Requirements for application:

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AWS Executive Committee Nominations

Submit Your Nominations for the 2023 - 2024 AWS Executive Committee

Nominations deadline is July 7

The Association of Women Surgeons Nominating Committee is seeking self-nominations to serve as officers on the AWS Executive Committee beginning in October 2023. The officer positions to be elected this fall include: President-Elect, Vice President, and Secretary.

Position Details: 

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Mentor Spotlight: Dr. Jennifer Plichta

Dr. Jennifer Plichta is a breast surgeon at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina. She graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana and completed her residency at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. She completed her fellowship training in breast surgical oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Plichta is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Population Health Sciences at Duke University, and she serves as the Director of the Breast Risk Assessment Clinic and Co-Director of the Clinical Cancer Genetics Program at the Duke Cancer Institute. In addition, Dr. Plichta takes time to mentor many students throughout different stages of training at Duke University School of Medicine. She also helps to educate her local community about breast cancer and breast health.

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Book Review: May 2023

"Letter to a Young Female Physician: Thoughts on Life and Work" by Dr. Suzanne Koven

Dr. Suzanne Koven begins her essay collection, “Letter to a Young Female Physician: Thoughts on Life and Work”, as one might expect – with a letter.[1] As she watches a crop of incoming interns write letters to their future selves, she reflects on her own career: the pressures she faced to prove herself, to value her skills, and to serve her patients well. This was in 2017, and it seems anecdotally that the call for reflection has come earlier and earlier in medical training in recent years. As a medical student (still a year away from intern orientation), I’ve participated in innumerable letter-writing exercises just like the one that inspired Dr. Koven. In this book, Dr. KoveN shows us why these reflections are so important. Dr. Koven describes a background caught between the arts and the sciences. As the daughter of an orthopedic surgeon, surrounded from an early age by men who practiced medicine, she always had an idea of the role of the doctor. Whether she saw herself in that role is a bit more complicated – in her book, she details the struggles that she felt in her early science courses, that science felt “unnatural” to her, despite her earning good grades. She attended Yale for college, where she studied English Literature. She then went on to Johns Hopkins for medical school and residency in primary care internal medicine, after which she joined Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital where she is now Writer-in-Residence.[2]

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Call for 2023 AWS Foundation Award Nominations

Deadline Extended!
Nominate Exceptional Women Surgeons & Supporters by June 5

The call for nominations for the 2023 Association of Women Surgeons Foundation Awards is now open! Help AWSF recognize exceptional women surgeons and supporters by nominating a deserving individual whose character and accomplishments reflect the mission of AWSF and meet the criteria listed below.

Selected awardees will be honored at the AWSF Awards Dinner and Gala on October 23, 2023, held in conjunction with the AWS 2023 Annual Conference and the ACS Clinical Congress in Boston.

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Building an Academic Foundation

Register for the new Building An Academic Foundation Webinar Series

“Building an Academic Foundation” is a 7-part webinar series developed by the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) that will equip senior surgical trainees and early career surgeons with guidance and mentorship on topics pertinent to starting a career in academic surgery.

Overarching areas that will be discussed include:

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AWS Coaching Program

Want to Avoid Burnout?
The AWS Coaching Program is for you!

Coachee (resident) applications accepted on rolling basis through September 29.
Coach applications now closed.


Burnout among surgical trainees is a challenging problem facing hospitals and programs nationwide, and studies show that it disproportionately affects women.

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AAST/AWS 2023 82nd Annual Meeting Scholarship

AAST/AWS 2023 82nd Annual Meeting Scholarship

Apply by June 1

The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma is offering one AWS member a scholarship to attend the 2023 AAST Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA from September 19-23! Scholarships are open to medical students, residents, and in-training students who are members of AWS. 

The scholarship includes four nights in a hotel, meeting registration, and a $200 per diem. Airfare and ground transportation not included and is the responsibility of the scholarship recipient. 

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SAAS-AWS Resident Research Travel Award

SAAS-AWS Resident Research Travel Award

Applications due May 24, 2023

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Book Review: March 2023

BOOK REVIEW: A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student by Dr. Perri Klass

Reviewed by: Ariana Ginsberg

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Mentor Spotlight: Dr. Minerva Romero Arenas

Mentor Spotlight: Dr. Minerva Romero Arenas

Dr. Romero is an Endocrine and General Surgeon at NYP Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. She is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Romero Arenas completed a fellowship in Oncologic Surgical Endocrinology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. She completed her General Surgery Residency at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. She earned her Medical Doctorate and Master of Public Health degrees from The University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Zuckerman College of Public Health. She studied Cell Biology and French at Arizona State University as an undergraduate.

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Call for Abstracts: American Journal of Surgery

Abstract Opportunity!

The Association of Women Surgeons is delighted to announce that our next annual issue of The American Journal of Surgery (AJS) highlighting work by AWS members will be published in January 2024.

We encourage you to submit your best scientific work for peer review and possible publication in our annual issue. Please note that we generally do not accept review articles or commentaries given the high volume of competitive original scientific works we receive every year.

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Host the 2023 AWSF Visiting Professor

Applications are now open to host the 2023 AWSF Visiting Professor!

The Kim Ephgrave Visiting Professor Program provides training institutions the opportunity to host top women surgeons as speakers, heightening the visibility of women surgeons and encouraging women medical students to pursue similar careers. 

Preference will be given to those institutions in which women represent a significant minority of the department. Both community and university training programs are encouraged to apply now for this opportunity. 

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Mentor Spotlight: Dr. Diana Gabriela Maldonado Pintado

An Interview with Dr. Diana Gabriela Maldonado Pintado


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Book Review - December 2021

Letter to a Young Female Physician 

Book written by Dr. Suzanne Koven
Review provided by Charlotte B. Smith

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