Interim associate vice provost Melanie-Angela Neuilly addresses the Group on Women in Medicine and Science at WSU Spokane.

The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine was quick to recognize the need to support women in medical education.

Before the first medical students arrived on the Spokane campus, Dean John Tomkowiak called on Gail Chermak to head up the Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS). Since 2017, the group has been holding events regularly and steadily gaining momentum.

Perhaps even more important, women are expanding their networks and advocating for greater access and opportunities at all levels of the University.

“An organization like this allows us to get together and identify the pressing issues we need to focus on and know that there is camaraderie and support,” Chermak says. “Our dean is very innovative and doing things differently than anywhere else in the country. Likewise, we see an opportunity to serve an active role in advocating for women’s advancement, supporting women faculty, and facilitating networking and mentoring for women faculty and students.”

The group in Spokane is part of a network of GWIMS on campuses and in teaching hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. The ultimate goal is to promote women’s advancement in leadership and education, research, clinical practice, and administration.

More than three dozen GWIMS members attended the latest event as faculty member and interim associate vice provost Melanie-Angela Neuilly addressed maternal bias and work-life balance for mothers in science and medicine.

“We’ve had great participation and excitement about our events,” Chermak says. “I think it’s important for the University to know that we are active and effective in what we do.”

There are three events currently scheduled for the spring semester, including a Mindful Self-Compassion workshop with faculty member Dawn DeWitt and a workshop on tenure and promotion featuring Vice Provost Laura Hill and former Faculty Senate chair and current Associate Dean of the Graduate School Judi McDonald.

More details about GWIMS and their upcoming events are available on their website.