2024 Annual Womxn’s Symposium: Emerging Womxn Researchers

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March 13, 2024 | Olivia Vallejo 

In honor of Women’s History Month, the UCLA Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (DAPM) held its 2024 Annual Womxn’s Symposium on March 13, 2024. “Womxn” is an intersectional feminist term meant to include all people identifying as women. This year’s panel honored the strides of emerging womxn research leaders. As the world continues to navigate the complexities of gender equality and representation in various fields, acknowledging the contributions of womxn in research is not only essential but also imperative for fostering a more inclusive academic landscape.

Jennifer Lucero, MD, MA, DAPM Vice Chair for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), and Olivia Vallejo, JEDI Administrative Manager, co-hosted the symposium. Mansoureh Eghbali, PhD, Director of the DAPM Physician Scientist Training Program and Director of the Basic Science Training Environment, and Theodora Wingert, MD, Associate Clinical Professor for Pediatric Anesthesiology and Clinical Informatics and Director of Perioperative Informatics Research, moderated an insightful discussion.

The panel was composed of many DAPM leaders in research: Claudia Bueno, Cecilia Canales, MD, Varina Clark, MD, and Lejla Medzikovic, PhD. The speakers shared advice and encouragement from a diverse array of experiences.

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To kick off the evening, panelists were asked to share how they got involved in research and what is their area of focus. Moderators then dove into questions that invited panelists to share about their personal journeys including what energizes them, any barriers they have faced, how they navigated situations of situations of skepticism or doubt, the intersection of their work and role as a caregiver to children/dependents, and the importance of mentors in cultivating success and building community.

The 2024 DAPM Annual Womxn’s Symposium, slated to bring together a diverse set of perspectives and expertise, proved to be an inspiring evening and a testament to the evolving narrative of women in research. While there is still work to be done, this year’s symposium showcased that powerful women researchers continue to break barriers and challenge norms to pave the way for all women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and academic medicine