The Start of a New AWS Chapter
By Sarah Armenia
One of the best aspects of AWS is the amazing support its members in training and practice and committees show medical student members. I have experienced this support firsthand at the annual conference and as a member of the national medical student committee. This year, I also had the opportunity to join with other women at my medical school to start a new AWS chapter at New Jersey Medical School.
Many people frequently asked me why AWS was a necessary addition, given that our school already had several surgery interest groups. This was the perfect opportunity to show my peers, who were unfamiliar with AWS, just how instrumental the organization can be in nurturing the interests of female medical students interested in surgery. The members of AWS span all levels of training and each individual uses their experience to help others about to encounter similar milestones along the way. We captured the essence of this continuing mentorship at our chapter’s first event, “Debunking Myths about Surgery.” We hosted a question and answer panel where third and fourth year medical students spoke about their experiences on surgery rotations and applying to residency programs. We also co-sponsored a dinner with the American Medical Women’s Association to introduce female medical students to the faculty in a forum where they could ask questions about different specialties and their experiences while in training.
As we planned our first events as a new chapter, it was immediately obvious how dedicated AWS faculty members are to providing mentorship and guidance to medical students. We were fortunate to have Dr. Stephanie Bonne become our faculty advisor, who is incredibly invested in the organization and its promotion on social media. In addition, our Chair of Surgery, Dr. Anne Mosenthal, is one of 16 female Chairs of Surgery throughout the country and also supports the mission of AWS. Their direct support of the chapter showed how approachable AWS members can be in establishing mentorship relationships and guiding the direction of the chapter.
Being a member of AWS has been instrumental in connecting me with inspiring women surgeons and I look forward to building this new AWS chapter along with my peers. For more information about starting your own AWS chapter at your medical school, please follow this link.
Sarah Armenia is a member of the AWS Medical Student Committee and is a first year medical student at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. She is passionate about transplant surgery and surgical disparities research.
Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.