2020-2021 AWAEM SECRETARY CANDIDATE STATEMENTS
Candidate statements are listed in alphabetical order.
Valerie Dobiesz, MD, MPH
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
My educational background includes obtaining my B.S. at Vanderbilt University, my M.D. at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and completing both my emergency medicine residency training and MPH at the University of Illinois at Chicago. My current academic responsibilities and roles include directing internal programs and an international fellowship at the STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation for the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, being a core faculty at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, serving as co-chair of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women at Harvard Medical School, as well as being faculty co-sponsor for the Harvard Emergency Medicine Residency Women’s Initiative (HWI). My research is focused primarily on medical education and improving maternal health in emergency and remote settings. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the former chair of the AWAEM newsletter committee and to currently serve as the AWAEM VP of Membership on the executive committee. I am also serving on the SAEM Program Committee.
My motivation for running for the AWAEM Secretary position stems from a strong desire to help advance and promote women in academic emergency medicine and to build a stronger and more impactful AWAEM community. Our membership has gone up exponentially which provides a wonderful opportunity for greater engagement and participation. This position is synergistic and mission aligned with the work I am currently doing in my department, residency program, and medical school. I have a long track record in advancing women in medicine through advocacy, activism, mentoring, sponsorship, and community engagement and would bring that enthusiasm and commitment to this position. It has been a tremendously rewarding experience to be actively involved in AWAEM in various capacities and to network and collaborate with extraordinary academicians around the country. If given the opportunity I would continue to serve the AWAEM mission to support and advance women in academic emergency medicine and to work to address the persistent gender disparities and inequities in leadership, salary, and promotion in rank that currently exist. The committee has been active in many activities such as facilitating community building, career development, creating promotion toolkits as well as time management strategies, researching gender disparities, and finding best practices to recruit, retain, and promote women in rank and leadership positions and I would continue to support these and other pressing issues relevant to women in academic medicine.
Melissa Parsons, MD
University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville
I am an Emergency Medicine physician at the University of Florida College of Medicine - Jacksonville. I received a Bachelor's degree in Biology at the University of Florida in Gainesville and attended medical school there as well. I, then, completed my Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Florida College of Medicine - Jacksonville and stayed on as faculty, serving as the Assistant Medical Director at their community hospital prior to taking on my current role as Assistant Residency Director for the Emergency Medicine residency program at UF-Jacksonville. I have been involved in AWAEM as a member since graduating from residency and have served for the last two years as the chair of the Wellness Committee. As my role with the Wellness Committee, I was responsible for publication of the AWAEM Time Management lecture packet, including slides and handouts, which was disbursed to AWAEM membership.
After two years serving on the AWAEM leadership team as chair of the Wellness Committee, I have chosen to run for Executive Council as Secretary in order to play a larger part in the growth of our society and its many initiatives. We have seen significant growth in our AWAEM membership over the last few years, and with the recent change in the dues processes, should see continued growth of our Academy’s membership. I believe AWAEM plays a role in improving gender equity in Emergency Medicine, by providing its membership opportunities for networking, mentorship and sponsorship; research and publications; and awards and leadership positions to lead to promotion. By continuing to grow our membership and continuing to grow endeavors such as our letter writer’s bureau or our research grants, we will continue to help more women in Emergency Medicine to achieve promotion in EM. I believe that my personal role as secretary of AWAEM will be to keep the executive board organized and executing the tasks that will push the mission of our society. With organization and energy as two of my key strengths, I look forward to propelling the AWAEM executive board into a successful year.