The Women in Medicine Summit returns in person to address injustice and empower attendees


August 15, 2022

5 minutes read


Healio Interview

Jain is Chair and Founder of the Women in Medicine Summit, President of the non-profit organization Women in Medicine, and host of Healio’s Oncology Overdrive podcast.

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For the first time in 3 years, the Women in Medicine Summit will be held in person on September 16-17 in Chicago.

The two-day summit will provide education, toolkits, capacity building, networking and other opportunities to empower women in medicine and work towards gender equality in healthcare. More than 400 medical professionals are expected.

Healio spoke up Shikha Jain, MD, FACP, Chair and Founder of the Women in Medicine Summit, President of the non-profit organization Women in Medicine and host of Healio’s Oncology Overdrive podcast, on her goals for this year’s summit and all it has to offer.

Healio: What are your key goals for this year’s Women in Medicine Summit?

Jaina: We are incredibly excited to be back in person this year for the first time since 2019 and just really happy to be able to see each other again. I am really looking forward to meeting many amazing people that I have communicated, collaborated and collaborated with on social media over the past 4 years, many of whom I have never met in real life. It feels like a reunion with friends old and new and people I think I know really well, even though we’ve never met in person. We are doing everything we can to ensure it is as safe as possible given the ongoing pandemic. We require people to be fully vaccinated, test negative and wear masks during the conference. So we’re doing everything we can to make sure it’s a safe gathering of great people from across the country.

Healio: How has the summit evolved over the years?

Jaina: The first year we did it, it was really created because we just didn’t think there was enough of this kind of programming, education and empowerment for women in medicine and their allies. We’ve now evolved into what almost feels like a movement where we’re incorporating allies, toolkits, and skill building. It really has grown into not just a conference, but an opportunity to build nationally and internationally communities of women and men and non-binary people – really anyone who feels there are injustices in our healthcare systems. I have learned over the years that the ripple effect and impact of this summit will be seen and felt on a much larger scale than I believe any of us realized. By speaking to past participants and then to individuals who have participated in our longitudinal leadership program and our other programs, we have found that we have been able to impact not only individuals but systems across the country. Our goal is to empower individuals to work toward transforming healthcare systems, with the long-term goal of positively impacting our healthcare infrastructure nationally.

Unhurt: Childcare is offered for summit participants. Can you discuss the meaning of deployment This? Do you think childcare could – and should – be made available at other medical conferences?

Jaina: Often people cannot make it to a conference because they cannot find childcare or want to come to a conference but do not know what to do with their children during the conference. I think it’s really important to offer childcare at events like this to allow people with such barriers to participate. We published a paper a few years ago that showed that this was one of the barriers, especially for many mothers, to attend this type of conference. We will also have a lactation room available for anyone pumping or breastfeeding. We finish the conference on Saturday late afternoon/early evening so if people come with their families you can make it a family weekend and you have time on Saturday evening and Sunday to have family time if you’d like to.

I think childcare is something that should be available at all conferences, whether it’s predominantly male or female. As a kid, my father’s medical conferences were some of the funnest vacations I had. I enjoyed going to these conferences. That’s one of the ways I learned to love medicine, because I learned all those things when I was a little kid. I think providing childcare is very important to enable parents to participate, and I think it’s also an important way to inspire the next generation of potential doctors.

Healio: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Summit?

Jaina: Our speakers this year are fantastic. Some of our keynote speakers – I can’t tell you how happy I am for them – include Kimberly D Manning, M.D. who, despite the fact that we’ve never met in person, is a dear friend and always gives a phenomenal talk; Kavita Patel, MD, MS, who, as a former White House policy director, worked with the Obama administration and has really interesting insights into advocacy and working in an area that I think a lot of women want to get more involved in – advocacy and government; and Rebekah Gee, MD, a very respected OB/GYN. And I can’t believe we’re lucky enough to have that Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, the Senior Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer of the AMA and Cindy Duke, MD, PhD, FACOG, America’s only dual fertility expert and virologist.

Given what is happening with reproductive health in our country, I think Dr. Gee and Duke speak to all of us that this very important time in our history will be very powerful. dr Gee and Patel will be speaking on the topic of majority rule and the fact that women are the majority, so we really should make the rules.

I’m also super excited this year because for the first time we’re doing a joint event on Friday nights with a narrative storytelling night with The Nocturnists, which I think is going to be just phenomenal. Your events are always amazing. We’re also partnering with Intelligentsia Coffee this year and we’re having a ‘Med-Grind’ event at our Friday night cocktail hour where people can bring bags of coffee to swap because there are a lot of doctors and health care workers who live on coffee! On Saturday, after the conference ends, we will have a registration where the first 30 people to register will also get a tour of the Intelligentsia Coffee brewing and roasting factory. I went and it’s very cool. We will also have the opportunity for the participants to meet some medical authors such as: Shirlene Obuobi, MD, for a book signing. She was recently interviewed on Good morning America after her debut book On rotation took the nation by storm! So we have some really unique aspects of this year’s summit. Really, at the end of the day, we’re just going to have a lot of fun hanging out with people we haven’t seen in a while.

Healio: Anything else to add?

Jaina: I want to emphasize that this conference is not only for women. We have an alliance program and we have a whole longitudinal leadership program; this year’s cohort starts at the summit. So, if you are a male leader, attend the Summit this year, and if you want more intensive leadership training, consider signing up for the Inclusive Leadership Lab as well. Ultimately, our healthcare systems will not change unless everyone works towards the same goals, and we should also strive to achieve these global changes and transform our systems for the better. I strongly encourage you, regardless of your gender, to attend this year’s Women in Medicine Summit, because these issues affect not just women, but everyone.

For more information about the Summit or to register, visit


Woitowich NC, et al. J Women’s Health. 2020;doi:10.1089/jwh.2019.7859.


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