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2nd Annual Duke Association of Women Surgeons Grand Rounds: A Call to Action

October 14, 2020 - 6:30am to 7:30am
Dana Telem, MD, MPH, Sharon Stein, MD, FACS, FASCRS, and Thomas Varghese MS, MS

Duke Association of Women Surgeons Grand Rounds event flyer

Duke AWS Grand Rounds serves as an opportunity to bring together medical students, residents, and faculty to catalyze an important shift in the culture of medicine and address implicit bias and microaggression. The keynote speech and breakout sessions aim to help attendees gain a common understanding of the challenges posed to women surgeons and of avenues to propose, implement, and revise strategies to address these challenges together as a Duke community.

This event is a collaboration among various divisions and departments, including our 3 cosponsoring departments: Surgery, Neurosurgery & Orthopaedics, as well as Ophthalmology, Anesthesiology, GI (Medicine), Cardiology (Medicine), Obstetrics & Gynecology, Urology, Plastic Surgery, Head and Neck, Interventional Radiology, and Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Event Background

Although women are currently entering medical school at a rate similar to men, it will take time for this shift to be reflected in residency and faculty positions as this new cohort advances in their careers. While this discrepancy is reflected in many medical specialties, it has been particularly pronounced in surgical specialties. Thus, with our second annual Duke AWS Grand Rounds, we aim to support women in surgery by addressing three main goals.

  1. Establish a common understanding of the three main facets of challenges women face upon entering the surgical field: pay gap, challenges finding mentors and sponsors, and career advancement.
  2. Establish an understanding of gender schemas and roles that form the basis of implicit bias and microaggression, such as referral patterns and subjective work culture.
  3. Identify avenues to propose, implement, and revise strategies to address implicit bias and microaggression and to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the preexisting institutional framework at Duke Health and within individual departments & divisions.

We are honored to bring together the following esteemed speakers from several intuitions across the country for a two-day event.

Guest Speaker: Sharon Stein, MD, FACS, FASCRS

Sharon Stein, MDDr. Stein is a colorectal surgeon at University Cleveland Medical Center and Associate Professor of Surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She is the Director of UH RISES: Research in Surgical Outcomes and Effectiveness Center and program director of the colon and rectal surgery fellowship. She was recently appointed the Murdough Master Clinician in Colorectal Surgery for outstanding contributions to her patients and University Hospitals. As an academician, Dr. Stein has published over 100 articles, abstracts and chapters on a variety of topics from minimally invasive surgery to diversity in surgery. Her programmatic experiences also inform her academic pursuits; she has written about the salary gap in surgery, starting salaries for colon and rectal surgeons, and pregnancy leave internationally, in addition to traditional topics of minimally invasive surgery, rectal cancer, and enhanced recovery protocols.

Guest Speaker: Dana A. Telem, MD, MPH

Dana Telem, MDDana A. Telem, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery, is the Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, the Associate Chair for Quality and Patient Safety, and Director of the Michigan Women’s Surgical Collaborative at the University of Michigan. Dr. Telem completed her surgical training at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and her fellowship in Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Telem also completed a Masters in Public Health in the Executive Masters of Healthcare Management program at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

She serves on the editorial boards of Annals of Surgery and Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, is a Subject Editor for Surgical Endoscopy and a Section Editor for Hernia. Her research and commentaries have been published in several prominent journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and Annals of Surgery. She serves on the SAGES and Foundation for Surgical Fellowships Board of Governors, and holds key leadership positions across several organizations and societies focused on quality and patient safety, as well as diversity and inclusion.

Guest Speaker: Thomas K. Varghese Jr., MD, MS

Thomas VargheseDr. Thomas Varghese Jr. is the Executive Medical Director (Interim) and Chief Value Officer at Huntsman Cancer Institute, Head of the Section of General Thoracic Surgery, Program Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship, and an Associate Professor (Tenure-track) in the department of Surgery at the University of Utah. Dr. Varghese holds national leadership positions in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), Thoracic Surgery Directors Association (TSDA), American College of Surgeons (ACS), National Cancer Care Network (NCCN), Society of University Surgeons, and Surgical Outcomes Club. He is co-chair of the Association of Women Surgeons #HeforShe Taskforce, and a health services researcher who helped create the American College of Surgeons Strong for Surgery program ( ) and has RO1 funding from the National Cancer Institute on the role of Precision Exercise Prescription (PEP) for elective lung cancer surgical resection. Tom spends his free time with his family, as well as actively engaging on social media.

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
6:30 am–7:30 am

Grand Rounds – Dr. Telem and Dr. Stein

  • Discussion of national data and AWS Initiatives;  Michigan Promise by Dr. Telem (30 min each)

Zoom Link for Grand Rounds will be distributed via email by departmental communication.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
7:30 am–8:30 am

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  • Session 1: Discussion of Duke data with Dr. Stein, unrecorded
  • Session 2: Discussion with Michigan Promise & Application at Duke with Dr. Telem

RSVP required for Breakout Sessions.

Submit RSVP Form

All invited to attend.

Thursday, October 15, 2020
7:00 pm–8:00 pm

Mentorship and Allyship in the era of #HeForShe – Dr. Varghese

All invited to attend.

This talk will be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing here:

Surgery Grand Rounds is a weekly conference for the Department of Surgery. Grand Rounds consists of topics presented by internal and external speakers on clinical education and research science.