Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS Women Physicians Find Support and Mentorship at Annual Dinner

MMS Women Physicians Find Support and Mentorship at Annual Dinner

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(From left to right) Helen Cajigas, MD, FCAP, Patricia Rose Falcao, MD, MPH, FACOG, Geunwon Kim-Sun, MD, PhD, Catherine C. Laneri, MD, Olivia Liao, MD, FACS, MMS Vice President, Diane W. Shannon, MD.

When 30 women physicians and MMS leaders gathered on a rainy November evening for the annual MMS Women in Medicine Networking and Awards Dinner, the room radiated warmth and welcome from physicians supporting each other through the challenges and triumphs of their careers.

The program honored recipients of the 2023 awards chosen by the Committee on Women’s Health and the Women Physicians Section (WPS), which sponsored the event. Khama D. Ennis, MD, MPH, FACEP, received the Woman Physician Leadership Award in absentia, and Megan R. Miller, MD, received the Women’s Health Award.

With many newcomers to the MMS in attendance, event leaders pivoted to an unplanned passing of the microphone for all attendees to introduce themselves and describe “what the MMS means to me.”

Pei-Li Huang, MD, chair of the MMS Women Physicians Section, which co-hosted the event with the MMS Women’s Health Committee, kicked off the introductions: “Some of us are early-career, some mid-career, and some retired. But we all have something to impart to each other.” See below.

As the microphone reached MMS president-elect Hugh Taylor, MD, he looked around the room and summed up what the MMS meant from where he stood: “MMS gives me the opportunity to interact with so many amazing people.”

Concluded Dr. Kim-Sun: “I’m hearing there is a need for talking about how we got where we are and for helping the younger generation of physicians with what they’re going through so that each of us doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Discussion needs to be more at the forefront, not just for women but for all [physicians] to be more supportive of each other.”

“I appreciate serving as a member of the House of Delegates and writing reports and resolutions that allow us to be agents of change locally and nationally. Heading committees hones leadership skills and advance causes that improve patient and physician well-being. Engaging medical students, residents, and fellows in our endeavors mentors and nurtures the next generations of physicians. I cherish the friendships I have built by working closely with colleagues who share my passions and commitment to enhancing health care. I encourage colleagues at all levels to get involved.”
— Helen Cajigas, MD, FCAP, former chair of Women in Medicine, Women’s Health, and Senior Volunteer Physicians Committees

“There are many opportunities here. The MMS can help you find mentors who can help you with your career. There is also a lot going on that you can get involved with.”
— Patricia Rose Falcao, MD, MPH, FACOG

“I [got involved two years ago because I] wanted to be in a room of people who had achieved and who I could learn from. It’s nice to have the community and be with people who can support you in all your endeavors.”
— Geunwon Kim-Sun, MD, PhD, chair of the MMS Women’s Health Committee

“[Once I got involved,] I felt empowerment from the welcome of other women at MMS.”
— Catherine C. Lanteri, MD, a founder of the MMS Women Physicians Section

“The MMS does great things in advocacy, education, and public health. If you are frustrated about certain aspects of medicine, this is a place where you can speak about it and do something about it.”
— Olivia Liao, MD, FACS, MMS Vice President

“[The] MMS to me equals education. I’ve especially enjoyed and benefited from in-person education since I became a member in 1992.”
— Diane W. Shannon, MD

For more information on the MMS Women’s Health Committee, the MMS Women’s Section, or how to get involved, please email Erin Tally at

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Lauren Estess (left) and Pooja Patel (right), both first-year students at Tufts University School of Medicine, enjoyed attending their first Massachusetts Medical Society event to begin their involvement in the MMS.
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