AWSF Stories of Giving
in support of women surgeons


Reflecting on the 2023 AWSF Visiting Professorship

From Dr. Kimberly M Lumpkins, 2023 AWSF Kim Ephgrave Visiting Professor

It was my pleasure to visit the University of New Mexico as the Association of Women Surgeons Foundation Kim Ephgrave Visiting Professor. The host institution offered an incredibly kind welcome, and they extended the impact of the Kim Ephgrave Visiting Professorship by integrating my visit with the inaugural symposium for the new Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) for the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

On my first day in New Mexico, I met with the program directors of the general surgery residency, followed by Min-Li Wang, an acute care surgeon who serves as the inaugural GMIMS president at UNM. Having been the inaugural president of the University of Maryland GWIMS organization myself, we talked about the challenges that face these organizations and suggestions to increase impact across the school. Then I had a lively panel session with the Women in Surgery Student Interest Group. Featuring surgeons in a variety of practice settings and specialties, we talked frankly with the students about life as a surgeon and our advice about issues facing women in surgery.

On the following day, the AWSF Kim Ephgrave Visiting Professor lecture for the Department of Surgery also served as the kickoff presentation for the UNM GWIMS symposium for the entire school. I spoke about finding your mission and using this as a guiding principle to make choices that lead to a more professionally fulfilling career. With lively engagement from the audience, I was gratified to see that many members of the audience plan to critically examine their choices in the days and months ahead. I then met with the general surgery residents to discuss critical issues in evaluating your first job offer as an attending, how to know when you're ready to independently practice, and how to keep a sense of self during residency. Perhaps there's no greater lesson for the residents than that there's no one right way to do things. Your life will take many unexpected turns and twists that can all lead to success.

As the finale to my time in Albuquerque, I was a panelist for the GWIMS mentorship review. While other panelists detailed existing mentorship programs at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, I spoke about the importance of executive coaching. Many women either don't know about executive coaching or feel they’re too junior in rank, however executive coaching can be an incredibly powerful tool for women considering leadership positions.

The AWSF Kim Ephgrave Visiting Professorship was a unique opportunity to meet with a broad spectrum of the UNM community from students to senior faculty.  I am indebted to the AWSF and my host institution for this priceless experience.

From the University of New Mexico Department of Surgery

Dr. Lumpkins arrived on the afternoon of Wednesday March 13, 2024 for her visit hosted by University of New Mexico (UNM) Department of Surgery.  Her visit coincided with celebration of Women’s History Month and the inaugural Association of American Colleges’ (AAMC) Group of Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) kickoff event. In the evening, she was the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Vice Chair of Surgical Education, attended by surgical faculty, fellow, and senior surgical residents.  Conversation was lively, ranging from casual conversations about life experiences to discussions about challenges for women in academic medicine and leadership.  On March 14, 2024, Dr. Lumpkins was met by Associate Surgical Program Directors and AWS medical student chapter mentors, Drs. Annie Moore and Rachel Danczyk, and met with them to discuss career advice, coaching, and other topics relevant to being a female surgeon.  She had one-to-one meeting with Surgery Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Ming-Li Wang, where Dr. Lumpkins shared her knowledge and expertise around team and organizational leadership.  She then met with AWS medical student chapter leadership and participated in a well-attended surgical specialty panel with female surgeons from a variety of specialties and practice settings.  The panel had a lively question and answer session that helped to advise and better the next generation of surgeons.  In the evening, dinner was hosted by surgical education leadership and attended by General Surgery Program Director, Associate Program Directors, and a female surgery resident.  On the morning of Friday, March 15, 2024, Dr. Lumpkins presented her Surgical Grand Rounds on “Envisioning Your Future: Your Personal Mission Statement” to over 70 faculty, residents, students, advanced provider practitioners, and staff registrants at the inaugural AAMC Chapter of GWIMS, where she was introduced by Dr. Ming-Li Wang, the inaugural President of AAMC Chapter GWIMS.  The hybrid event was well-attended and generated an animated question and answer session from faculty and trainees.  Dr. Lumpkins, then, spent the morning with surgical residents at surgical resident education conference where she gave trainees career advice, leadership tips, and answered questions about negotiating for your first job and finding the right fit within an institution.  The residents were very grateful for this time with Dr. Lumpkins and found her wisdom and advice to be extremely helpful.  She finished the morning, serving at the GWIMS Mentorship Panel of 6, which included Assistant Dean of Faculty Development.  She gave the unique perspective of the surgeon and value of executive coaching.  She had networking lunch with the GWIMS attendees and Dr. Amy Gottlieb, Chair of AAMC GWIMS Committee, hosted by the UNM GWIMS officers.   She answered questions from attendees who thought her presentation was amazing. 

Overall, Dr. Lumpkin’s visit was very well-received by everyone at UNM.  Her presentation “Envisioning Your Future: Your Personal Mission Statement” struck a chord with many surgical and non-surgical women physicians and scientists, as well as trainees.  Many approached me afterwards to express appreciation that the event was open and publicized for all women physicians and scientist across the UNM Health Science Center.  Her talk was not only attended by surgeons and trainees but senior faculty in the School of Medicine Faculty Development Office and across multiple disciplines.  Visiting GWIMS keynote speaker, Dr. Amy Gottlieb, commented immediately afterwards that Dr. Lumpkins should consider giving her talk as a TED-TALK.  The sub-specialty surgeons and DEI leadership from other departments at GWIMS event asked for her recorded zoom presentation to share with their faculty.  Two women surgical clerkship students on our way out the door commented on the excellence of the talk and how much they appreciated the visit.  As one senior basic science faculty, Dr. Nora Bizzozero commented, “Thank you for inviting Dr. Lumpkins.  Her talk was a great call to action and gave me new hope for the future.  I wished that ALL the faculty, student, and fellows could have attended.”

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Your Gift, Their Milestone

AWS Resident Travel Awardees Share their 2023 AWS Conference Experiences

The Association of Women Surgeons is thrilled to share stories of empowerment and growth as experienced by the 2023 AWS Resident Travel Award recipients. This past year, four exceptional women surgeons were granted financial scholarships to attend the 2023 AWS Annual Conference in Boston. The impact of the travel awards, as detailed in the comments below, extended beyond the conference - they inspired confidence, fostered professional growth, and supported the development of future leaders in surgery.

Thank you to Dr. Margaret Dunn, Dr. Lauren Nosanov, and AWS Foundation donors for investing in the career advancement of women surgeons through the 2023 AWS Resident Travel Awards!

Isabella Faria, MD

"I am very thankful for being a recipient for the Resident Travel Award for the AWS 2023 Annual Conference. This generous donation allowed me to present my work at the Top Papers session, connect with many amazing women surgeons, and dive deeper into the association. Thank you for making it possible!"

Lauren M. Janczewski, MD

"Thank you so much to the generosity of the donors for the opportunity to attend the AWS 2023 Annual Conference. This was such an impactful experience for me having the chance to network with other women surgeons, learn from their experiences, and become more involved with the AWS. I am so grateful for this opportunity and look forward to continuing to work with the AWS throughout my career."

Natalia Correa, MD, MS

"I feel incredibly grateful and honored to have received the Resident Award this year. I have enjoyed attending AWS as a medical student and now as a resident. This organization has been pivotal in getting me involved and connected with countless amazing surgeons and mentors. It is an amazing opportunity to network, learn, and gain perspective for all the opportunities the field of surgery has to offer. I look forward to staying involved and hope I can continue to attend in the future!"

Andrea Riner, MD, MPH

"As I reflect on the opportunity to attend the AWS 2023 Annual Conference, I am filled with gratitude and inspiration. The first time I attended the AWS Annual Conference was during my second year in residency and thanks to your generous donation, I was able to return for my second conference this past year. I left with the exact same sentiments as my first experience: inspiration, empowerment, self-worth, and optimism that the future of surgery is bright with such incredible female surgeons. After experiencing burnout during residency, this was a much needed reminder of why I am here and why I was called to surgery. I found myself seated at a table of medical students, all of whom wanted to soak up as much advice as possible from me, given my relative experience navigating this profession. The excitement for their future surgical careers was palpable and I was honored to share any little piece of advice I could to encourage them or help them along their journey.... I have attended academic conferences focused on scientific and disease-specific advances, which are certainly educational, but AWS' Annual Conference has quickly become a personal favorite as I gained new skills to help me be a better version of my authentic self AND in turn a better surgeon, thanks to the women who have paved the way before me. I am thankful for your generosity in sponsoring my attendance at the AWS 2023 Annual Conference through the Resident Travel Award and hope to attend as often as possible in the future."

Help to Make the Work of the Foundation Including the 2024 AWS Resident Travel Awards Possible

Looking ahead, the Association of Women Surgeons aims to continue this legacy of empowerment and support of surgical residents. The 2024 AWS Annual Conference in San Francisco presents an opportunity to further this mission. However, the participation of many talented residents remains hindered by financial constraints.

We invite you to join us in supporting AWSF and surgical residents by contributing to the Foundation. Your donation will make it possible for future residents to network, learn, and thrive in the surgical field. Thank you for your support!



Thanking Our Mentors

In alignment with #NationalMentoringMonth in January 2024, the Association of Women Surgeons Foundation is pleased to celebrate outstanding mentors who were recognized by members of our community through gifts made in their honor.



2023 Women Scholars

In early December 2023, Dr. Sherry Wren represented the Association of Women Surgeons Foundation at the 2023 College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) Scientific Conference, where she presented awards to the selected 2023 Women Scholars. Presented in collaboration with the American College of Surgeons, the Women Scholars Program provides women surgical trainees with access to the training and board examinations provided by COSECSA. AWSF would like to thank all donors who make the global impact of this program possible. To contribute to the future of the Women Scholars Program, please consider making a donation.

Support the Women Scholars Program



Recognizing an Excellent Surgeon

The Association of Women Surgeons is pleased to announce a new donation made in recognition of Dr. Dixie Mills. In a note submitted with the gift, donor Betts G. Mayer shared the following sentiments:

This donation is dedicated to honoring Dr. Dixie Mills with my appreciation of her very wise and unique medical counsel to me. There is no one like her. Dixie delivers invaluable guidance in the most personable and and professional manner, reflecting her warm and caring nature. No wonder she was your president in 1999-2000!

Thank you, Betts Mayer, for generously supporting women surgeons and recognizing Dr. Mills! Are you interested in recognizing an invaluable surgeon in your life? Simply click the link below, select a donation amount, and select "I would like to dedicate my donation to someone special."

Recognize an Excellent Surgeon


Celebrating a Friend

The Association of Women Surgeons is pleased to announce a donation made in honor of Nell Maloney Patel, MD.

“As lifelong friends of Dr. Maloney Patel, her friends chose to celebrate a milestone birthday by donating to the future of women in surgery." - Dr. Stephanie Bonne

Interested in honoring your friends, colleagues, and mentors in a unique and impactful way? Consider making a gift in support of women surgeons in their name. Simply click the link below, select a donation amount, and select "I would like to dedicate my donation to someone special." 

Donate in Honor of a Friend


AWS Foundation Awardees Share their Experiences

Each year the Association of Women Surgeons Foundation presents awards to outstanding women surgeons and supporters. These awards are made possible through the generosity of AWS Foundation donors.

We asked past winners to reflect on what receiving an AWSF Award meant to them, and how it impacted their journeys.

Meera Kotagal, MD, MPH
2013 AWSF Dr. Hilary Sanfey Outstanding Resident Awardee

Dr. Sanfey is an incredible role model. Being named the Hilary Sanfey Outstanding Resident in 2013 was such a tremendous honor, and one of the standout achievements of my career to date. To be nominated both by my mentors and chair, and to be recognized by the AWS Committee was a moving recognition of both the work I had done to that point, and of my potential to have an impact in the field.

Lisa Bevilacqua, MD
2018 AWSF Patricia Numann Outstanding Medical Student Awardee

The Patricia Numann Award inspired me to enter residency with fearlessness to advocate for change and take on leadership roles during my training. It also allowed me to pursue my interests knowing there was a strong network of other women surgeons that I could rely on for guidance and support. I am extremely grateful for this award and the path that it has helped put me on. 

Rebecca Hoffman, MD, MSCE
2018 AWSF Dr. Hilary Sanfey Outstanding Resident Awardee

My Sanfey Award Plaque hangs proudly in my office, a constant reminder of the amazing woman for whom it stands, a reminder of who I strive to be and the legacy I strive to leave, and a reminder of who I was and all that I have worked for.

AWS Foundation Awards are made possible through the generosity of our donors. If you are interested in helping to continue the AWSF Award program, please consider making a donation. Thank you for your ongoing support!

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AWSF Travel Grants

Thanks to the generosity of donors, the Association of Women Surgeons Foundation provides travel grants to enable women surgeons to attend the Annual College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) conference and Women in Surgery Africa (WiSA) events. 

Congratulations to Hana A. Gebreselassi, MD, recipient of the 2022 AWSF Travel Award. In this photo, Dr. Gebreselassi is shown celebrating with Drs. Hilary Sanfey, Patricia Numann, and Amanita Salleh.

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