Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine is celebrating Women in Medicine Month with a variety of events throughout September.

Events at OUWB celebrate Women in Medicine Month
An image for Women in Medicine 2020

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine is celebrating Women in Medicine Month with a variety of events throughout September.

The annual American Medical Association’s Women in Medicine Month serves to showcase the accomplishments of women physicians as well as highlight advocacy related to women physicians and health issues impacting women patients.

This year’s theme is “Women in Medicine: Advancing Equity, Creating Change.”

OUWB’s Diversity & Inclusion and Center for Excellence in Medical Education (CEME) departments planned numerous virtual events throughout the month — all generally designed to further conversations about what’s happening in the world today and how those issues relate to women.

“The times that we are living in were the impetus to the sessions decided for Women in Medicine month, which have been maternal mortality, multiple pandemics (racism, sexism, COVID-19), politics and policing in the United States,” said Caryn Reed-Hendon, director, Diversity & Inclusion, OUWB.


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Reed-Hendon said “there's been a great number of articles written highlighting these topics and it was felt we needed to bring those topics to our community.”

For one of the events, Ann Voorheis-Sargent, Ph.D., director, CEME, OUWB, said that “due to the current pandemic situation and the multiple roles that women have, we thought that a panel on these topics would be important.”

She added that the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, as well as other continued tragic events, created an opportunity “to continue to have these difficult conversations.”

The event was called “The Balancing Act – A Conversation with OUWB Women in Medicine.” Panelists were: Deirdre Pitts, Ph.D., associate dean, Academic Affairs, Faculty Affairs, Diversity & Inclusion, OUWB; Aimee Espinosa, M.D., Internal Medicine, Beaumont Health; Sheala Jafry, M.D., Family Medicine; and Lynda Misra, D.O., Internal Medicine, Beaumont Health.

Among the questions addressed was “How do you believe these incidents are impacting your role as a physician/administrator? What have you done to educate yourself and how are you managing the discomfort associated with talking about racial inequality?”

“For me, the biggest thing has been listening,” said Espinosa. “It all plays a role in people’s overall health and well-being, so I really encourage my patients to tell me their stories and perspectives.”

Jafry said it’s important that people take as many opportunities as possible to educate themselves.

“I tell everybody is to educate yourself,” she said. “Educate yourself on what’s happening and what you can do to help or prevent these things from happening in the future.”

In addition to the panel, other events planned for Women in Medicine month include:

  • Nourishing Your Knowledge about Nutrition and Health, featuring Virginia Uhley, Ph.D., associate professor, OUWB and Family Medicine and Community Health, Beaumont Health. (The event was held Sept. 2.)
  • Pandemics, Policing, and Protest: On Racism and Health and Where we Go From Here (Diversity Lecture Series), featuring Rhea Boyd, M.D., pediatrician, public health advocate, and scholar. (The event was held Sept. 3.)
  • Habit That: How you Can Create and Sustain Health Habits for Real! Jaime Hope, M.D., assistant professor, Emergency Medicine, Beaumont Health. The event is set for Sept. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. (For more information or to register email [email protected].)
  • Reproductive Health and Justice in Southeast Michigan (Diversity Lecture Series), featuring Martina Caldwell, M.D., director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Department of Emergency Medicine, Henry Ford Health System. The event is set for Sept. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (For more information or to register email [email protected].)

Voorheis-Sargent said it’s all about paying special attention to the important roles women have in medicine and science.

“The stereotype of women not being as strong as men in the hard sciences and math are still around today,” she said. “If we can take time to celebrate women who are successful in medicine and science fields, we can showcase their efforts during this month.”

Reed-Hendon shared similar thoughts on Women in Medicine Month.

“Women in Medicine Month is very important to celebrate in order to highlight the vast contributions women have made to medicine and science in general,” she said. “This is all about giving women their shine and being able to have the discussions of why there's still so far to go on the road to equity for women in medicine and science.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected]

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