CHICAGO — Each September, the American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes influential female physician leaders as part of Women in Medicine Month. To showcase the accomplishments of these leaders, the AMA Women Physicians Section (WPS) and the AMA Foundation today announced the winners of the 2019 Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women research grants program.

The Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women Award is administered by the AMA Foundation on behalf of the AMA Women Physicians Section. The AMA-WPS and AMA Foundation awards scholarships of up to $10,000 to health care researchers to identity and address issues that affect women physicians and medical students. The AMA-WPS and AMA Foundation have granted 27 research awards since 2006 on topics such as flexible work options, gender differences in the practice patterns of obstetricians/gynecologists, and the promotion and retention of diversity in medical education.

“As we celebrate Women in Medicine Month, these grants reaffirm the AMA’s commitment to increasing the influence of women physicians and advocating for women’s health issues,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D, M.A. “We are honored to recognize this year’s awardees for their efforts aimed at exploring gender differences in medicine and identifying barriers women physicians face during career transitions. These projects will help shed light on important issues facing women in medicine today.”

One of the winning 2019 projects focuses on “Gendered differences in medical students’ sense of belonging in Orthopedic Surgery: A multi-institution study.” It will be led by two women from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Cara Cipriano, M.D., assistant professor of orthopedic surgery, and Kate Gerull, a fourth-year medical student.

“Through the Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women grant, we will study gender differences and medical students’ sense of belonging within orthopedics,” said Kate Gerull. “We plan to survey and interview medical students at several Midwest schools to study their belonging and academic fit within orthopedic surgery. Our goal is to better understand why women are pursuing orthopedics in low rates.”

“I’m excited for this opportunity to help the field of orthopedic surgery and its efforts to improve gender diversity,” said Cara Cipriano, M.D.

The second winning project, “Women Physicians in Transition: Learning to Navigate the Pipeline from Early to Mid-Career,” will be led by Tiffany Leung, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of faculty of health & life sciences at Maastricht University. The team also includes Sima Pendharkar, M.D., M.P.H., division chief of hospital medicine at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and assistant professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine in New York; Angie Chen, M.D., medical director of the Primary Care Chemical Dependency Clinics and clinical assistant professor of primary care and population health at Stanford University; Tammy Lin, M.D., M.P.H., voluntary assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego; and Karen Wang, M.D., assistant professor of the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. 

“This project was born in part by personal experiences of each of us as early- to mid-career women physicians, but also motivated a lot by the larger empowerment movement for women in medicine,” said Tiffany Leung, M.D. “Among us, we’ve experienced a diversity of issues, challenges and successes, whether because of our gender, race, relationship status, and the social contexts in which we work and live. But there are commonalities among our stories and those are the stories and learnings we want to explore with other women too.”

The AMA has adopted numerous policies aimed at encouraging medical associations and other relevant organizations to study gender difference in income and advancement trends, by specialty, experience, work hours and other practice characteristics, and develop programs to address disparities where they exist. The AMA will continue to strongly support equity and diversity across medicine and promote professional growth and development for physicians at every stage of their careers.

The AMA Women Physicians Section (WPS) consists of the more than 82,000 members of the AMA and aims to increase the number and influence of women physicians in leadership roles and to advocate for and advance the understanding of women's health issues.

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.