Not the NRA

May 05 2013 Published by under Women as leaders

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My weekend in Houston may be occurring at the same time as the NRA convention, but my group could not be more different. WESH, or Women Executives in Science and Healthcare, dedicates its efforts to changing the face of the biomedical health enterprise. Our group consists of leaders and aspiring leaders; while we grew out of academia, we have expanded out membership to hospital and medical management, biotech and other business enterprises, and other related field. Our annual spring summit this year addressed Women Leading to Succeed: New Frontiers in Medicine and Science. You can see the entire program through the link.

The Honorable Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston, keynoted the summit on Saturday morning. Her talk showed a room of female leaders that we all face common barriers in our lives. Over the next 1½ days a variety of women discussed novel careers in and out of the Ivory Tower. Others addressed challenges facing healthcare and the biomedical research enterprise, including monetary and political barriers.

I always feel energized by this meeting. I love interacting with other women who have pursued leadership roles in their fields. I sometimes feel isolated at my own institution. WESH provides a strong network of like-minded women.

I would encourage anyone with a leadership role in science and healthcare to consider joining WESH. Women who aspire to leadership roles can also benefit from the group. In addition to reduced registration for the summit, membership includes several publications and access to a closed forum where issues can be discussed in privacy.

Whether you call it a glass ceiling, unconscious bias, or just bullshit, there is still a gender gap in pay and promotion, both in the academic health center and in other biomedical and scientific enterprises. Breaking barriers individually can be difficult; with a group the work is hard, but a lot more satisfying.

I will Storify my pearls of wisdom from the event in another day or two. Stay tuned.

Monday, 6 May 2013: Here is the link to the Storify: http://storify.com/PHLane/wesh-2013-spring-summit/

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