AWIR Conference Strengthens Role of Women in Rheumatology

The fifth annual meeting of the Association of Women in Rheumatology (AWIR) took place August 17-20, 2017, at the Sonesta Hotel in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

AWIR was formed to promote the science and practice of rheumatology, with a focus on the advancement and education of women in the field. The mission of the organization is also to ensure quality health care for patients with rheumatic diseases.

“The specialty is becoming at least 50% – if not more – female, and we wanted to have an avenue to challenge and nurture our female leaders,“ said AWIR president Grace C. Wright, MD, PhD, clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.

In addition to Dr Wright, other AWIR officers include vice president Gwenesta B. Melton, MD; secretary Anne Winkler, MD, PhD; and treasurer Theresa Lawrence Ford, MD.

The meeting’s presentations included a series of development modules designed to enhance practice knowledge and patient engagement. Megan Clowse, MD, associate professor of medicine at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, led several presentations about pregnancy options for patients with rheumatic disease. Additionally, participants were provided with a day-long “Immunology Bootcamp CME Series.”

Both educational and fellowship opportunities were provided to rheumatologist attendees as well as representatives from the industry.

Dr Melton commented on the progress AWIR has seen in its 4 years of existence. “We started with a small meeting with less than 100 people and we now have 300 people registered for our meeting,” she said. “We have had scientific updates and a leadership panel with women from 6 different areas. And we’re going global!”