Georgetown University's Society for Medical Women faculty chosen for prestigious AAMC award

October 28, 2003

Washington, D.C. - GUMC'S Society for Medical Women Faculty (SMWF) has been awarded the 2003 AAMC Women in Leadership Development Award, recognizing a woman or organization in medicine for outstanding contributions to develop women leaders in academic medicine.

Interestingly, AAMC rarely gives the award to groups. In the past ten years, only three other organizations have received this honor.

Rhonda Friedman, Ph.D., professor of neurology and incoming president of SMWF, thinks the AAMC chose GUMC's group -- which operates on a shoestring budget and on a strictly volunteer-basis -- in part because of its grassroots nature and diversity of members.

"We competed for this award against medical centers that have a designated dean and administrative support for women's affairs, which makes our achievements and contributions that much more profound," said Friedman. "What's beautiful about this group is that the issues we deal with are so important to all of us; we've formed personal bonds that go past the standard distinctions that tend to divide - clinical versus basic researcher, Ph.D. versus M.D."

In fact Friedman and one of her colleagues decided to apply for the award after attending the AAMC annual conference last year. "We kept hearing over and over again how incredible it was that we could achieve so much for our members and the Medical Center as a whole given our structure. It was that outside affirmation that we were a part of something unique that encouraged us to apply for the award."

The award brings with it one free tuition to AAMC's Women in Medicine Early-Career and Mid-Career Professional Seminar and an engraved plaque to be presented at AAMC's 2003 Annual Meeting.

"The SMWF's spirit of teamwork, mentoring, and professional development embodies much of what we hope to instill in every member of this community," said Daniel Sedmak, MD, Executive Vice President of GUMC. "I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with SMWF to create the best possible conditions in which every faculty member can excel."

The mission of the SMWF is to promote women as faculty at GUMC. Their goal is the establishment of policies and a working environment that promote equality and diversity in hiring, promotion, and compensation throughout the Medical Center. Support is provided for the development of leadership skills, enhancement of communication networks, and involvement in Medical Center growth. The women medical faculty will continue to strengthen scholarship and excellence in teaching, research, and patient care at the Georgetown University Medical Center. SMWF's task forces include salary equity, leadership equity, and mentorship. The outgoing president is Miriam Toporowicz, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics.

Currently, women comprise approximately 40% of GUMC's 710 full-time faculty and 2,167 part-time faculty. In 2003, Georgetown University School of Medicine enrolled a class that is 53 percent women, continuing the precedent set for the first time last year of female students outnumbering males.

For more information on SMWF, please visit their website at
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis--or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, and the world renowned Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more information, please visit

Georgetown University Medical Center

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