February 3, 2022

National Women Physicians Day

As we commemorate National Women Physicians Day, ACEP is proud to recognize the important impact of women in emergency medicine. 

ACEP joins with other EM organizations in recognizing the women leaders in the specialty. For the first time in ACEP’s history, the ACEP president, chair of the Board of Directors, and speaker of the ACEP Council are all positions concurrently held by women. 

“As we reflect on the exceptional achievements of women on the frontlines, we must also continue to improve the work environment and cultivate the leadership opportunities that help advance the specialty and empower women to thrive across emergency medicine.” -ACEP President Gillian Schmitz, MD, FACEP

A special episode of ACEP Frontline features three physician leaders, Dr. Gillian Schmitz, Dr. Torree McGowan, and Dr. Anne Zink, sharing their experiences, challenges, and motivations. Women now make up more than half of new medical student classes and continue to grow as leaders and experts in medicine. They discuss their personal experiences, the importance of women in leadership, pay equity and more.

“I don’t think that there are people out there saying, ‘I’m going to keep women down. I don’t want them here.’ It’s the little, tiny pieces that allow us to miss those steps on the ladder that are the things that we still have to work on.” – Torree McGowan, MD, FACEP

“I had to learn that I had to be my own advocate, and it was okay to be my own advocate.” – Anne Zink, MD, FACEP

"I think rather than thinking of it as a 50/50 each day of kind of this work-life balance, you find those times when you put your head down and work really hard and then you take that break and kind of come up for air.” – Gillian Schmitz, MD, FACEP

Watch this coffee house chat from ACEP21 in Boston featuring Drs. Arlene Chung, Diane Birnbaumer, Starr Knight, Tarlan Hedayati and Vonzella Bryant sharing their experiences as women working in the emergency department.

The American Association of Women Emergency Physicians (AAWEP) is leading an uplifting conversation across social media channels today, encouraging all ACEP members to shout-out a woman EM physician who has inspired, motivated or helped them along the way. When you recognize one of your peers, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free copy of AAWEP’s book Perspectives: Women in Emergency Medicine.

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“I want to shout out to Angela Cai and Hannah Hughes. We all started on the EMRA Board of directors at the same time as PGY 2. Without knowing each other well, they pushed me to be my best and had such faith in what we could accomplish together. The two of them have gone on to lead residents and students through some of the most challenging times with COVID. Throughout, they have kept true to themselves and have been able to "do it all" (residency, leadership, family life) with grace. I'm so grateful to have them in my corner as we all should be!” – Karina Sanchez, MD


Did you know? The National Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee (NEMPAC) supports two organizations with missions to elect more women to Congress. The groups are called VIEW PAC (identifies and supports Republican women candidates) and Elect Dem Women PAC (identifies and supports Democrat women candidates). NEMPAC does not endorse or support every candidate that they promote, but staff attend many of their events to get to know women who are running for Congress that may have a particular interest in health care. 

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