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In This Issue
President's Address
AMWA Resident Division Committees
Advocacy Action on Sex Trafficking
Meet the AMWA RD Board
Awards Announcement


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AMWA President Address to the Resident Division
You’re on your first shift for night float, and you’re called into a patient’s room.  He’s “crashing”:  his vital signs even you, the new intern, quickly recognize are concerning.  The respiratory therapist and nurse announce to the family:  “Oh, good.  Here’s the doctor.”  Hnh?  You look over your shoulder.  Where’s the doctor?  What?  Oh, crap!  Me?!  I’m the doctor.

This year – and every year – you will need help.  You will need physicians more senior and more knowledgeable than yourself to whom you can turn with questions about medicine, patient care, slip-ups, exhaustion, teaching, board exams, scheduling, diet/exercise, weight gain/loss, illness, career, advocacy, advancement, salary, negotiating contracts, lawsuits, and the list goes on.

You will need support.

We will be there for you.  This is our promise.  This is not the promise of an organization or a corporation or an institution.  This is the promise of women just like yourself who once struggled or are struggling to balance life with this very demanding career.

In return, we ask for your promise:  To do your best.  To persevere, to enjoy, and even to thrive.  To mentor those who come after you – be they premed students, medical students, residents, or junior faculty. 

Because the time will come – and quickly – when you’re called to a patient’s room and the nurse announces, “Oh, good.  Here’s the doctor.”  And you think, yes, here I am.
Welcome to the AMWA Residency Division.
 Kanani Titchen
AMWA RD, President 2013-2014
Join AMWA RD Today!

Where the compassion is true.
The commitments are real.
The sky is the limit.

Resident Membership Fee $50 (one time)
HURRY Savings of $50 only until June 30th
Option #1: AMWA Website
Option #2: PayPal
AMWA Residency Division Committees 
Recruitment Chair
  • Coordinates all aspects of new membership recruitment: We aim to grow our AMWA Residency Division to better bridge the gap between our thriving Student Division and our influential Attending Division.
  • Identifies, negotiates, and provides incentives for membership - including scholarship financing and travel grants.
Women’s Advocacy Committee

  • Improve access and delivery of  obstetrical/gynecological to women and girls affected by sex trafficking
  • Promote access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare for all women
  • Support the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding (barring absolute contraindications) in the first six months of life for newborn infants
  • Increasing awareness among the general population of the rights of breastfeeding mothers (e.g. workplace lactation regulations, right to breastfeed in public, etc.)
  • Serve as a venue for all AMWA members to create awareness and build support in the national AMWA community for issues concerning women’s health advocacy occurring at local and statewide levels 
Hello from Women’s Advocacy!  The purpose of my committee is to support and promote legislation and medical guidelines that are in accordance with the Position Statements of AMWA. Our website will serve as a portal for accessing advocacy news, resources, and action items you can take to make CHANGE.
For Starters…
  • Human Trafficking
Our division focus is addressing the issues of sex trafficking, Women’s Advocacy would like to direct your attention to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG’s) Committee Opinion on Human Trafficking.  The document outlines background information on the trade and, helpful to medical providers, some indicators that a patient may be a victim of trafficking.  Contact numbers for patients and safety measures for health care providers are also outlined.
  • Emergency Contraception in the Courts
On April 5th, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman ordered the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) allow over-the-counter access without age restriction to the emergency contraception Plan B One Step.  On April 30th, the FDA announced the newly approved guidelines allowing over-the-counter purchase of Plan B by anyone able to provide proof of age 15 years or older (including driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate), and the following day, the Department of Justice made a decision to appeal Korman’s District Court ruling.  This decision was opposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM).  ACOG, in particular, has cited the difficulty of a 15-year-old’s ability to provide proof of age as an unnecessary barrier to access of the medication, and ACOG Ultimately, the Department of Justice dropped its appeal of Korman’s ruling on June 10, 2013, and later a panel of the 2nd Circuit Appeals Court ruled that the two pill variant be made immediately available over-the-counter without age restriction.  The White House subsequently announced that it would desist on its push for age restrictions on the medications.
 For more information on AMWA’s advocacy activities, contacting your legislators, and other advocacy resources, please visit AMWA’s Advocacy page at
Any questions, comments, or concerns regarding Women’s Advocacy should be directed to  We look forward to hearing from you!

Family Advocacy Committee 
  • Educate men and women about safe and consensual sex to empower them to make healthy decisions.
  • Facilitate decisions about end of life care through open and early conversations between health care providers, patients and family members.
This year Family Advocacy will focus on advocating for our patients and their families at all points of life. In adolescence, we will educate men and women about safe and consensual sex to empower them to make healthy decisions. We will educate adults on ways to better access care and have healthy habits to prevent bad health outcomes. And, most importantly, we will facilitate decisions about patient end of life care through open conversations between patients and family members. With these areas in mind we will illicit real change.

Global Health Committee 
  • Provide residents with ideas and access to rotations in international health
  • Inform the residency division on advocacy issues in global women’s health
The mission of our Global Health division is to connect AMWA resident members with resources for service and advocacy in global health.
According to the World Health Organization, “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of infirmity.”  Global Health implies “consideration of the health needs of the people of the whole planet above the concerns of particular nations.”   We at AMWA Global Health are committed to empowering female residents to aid underserved communities throughout the world and to advocate for better health practices in any community where there is a need.
Medical Student Liaisons

Get Involved With Student Division AMWA!

Not too long ago, the now savvy physicians were young and naive medical students wading through the rough waters of medical school.  With the guidance and support of mentors, it made all those nights of studying, shadowing, and researching just a little bit better.  There are many ways to get involved with the Student Division such as contacting your hospital's associated medical school AMWA chapter, attending branch events, and participating in the Mentoring Task Force.  Contact your regional director to get involved and make a difference in the new generation of up-and-coming AMWA physicians!
Mentoring task force:
  • Encourage collaboration between AMWA branches within same city. Ideas include panels, networking events, and movie screenings (e.g. Girl Rising or Miss Represented).
  • Research mentoring will be our new focus, meaning that we will offer research resources specific to that specialty.
Advocacy Action on Sex Trafficking In America

“What if a billion children were exposed to a disease that made them vulnerable to HIV, crime, mental health problems, substance abuse/addition, diabetes, and chronic diseases? 
That disease is child sexual trafficking.”
-James A. Mercy, PhD,
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC
What you can do:

Write a letter to Congress to amend Section 108 of Trafficking Victims Protection Act to stipulate that countries MUST report what they are doing to reduce or eliminate child trafficking and to provide rights for trafficking victims.
2013 Trafficking Symposium
-by Kanani Titchen, MD and Dyani Loo, MD

On May 1, AMWA resident members Kanani Titchen and Dyani Loo attended the first ever national symposium at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health addressing strategies for prevention of child sex trafficking.  Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) opened the symposium by calling for “transformational research” and evidence-based practices:  “We need to know if our well-meaning efforts are going to help or hinder when making policy.”  Among the topics Rep. Ellmers highlighted was the 2013 extension of The Violence Against Women Act, an act first enacted in 1994 which increases legal action against perpetrators of domestic violence and provides funding for victim assistance services.     

Other topics covered at this multidisciplinary conference include the use of technology in identifying and prosecuting traffickers; the need to simplify the process for obtaining T-visas (visas for trafficked victims); the call for collaboration among support networks such as Polaris Project, Partnership for Freedom, state police departments, DHHS, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security; and the neurobiological role of stress in victims of violence and trafficking. 

Dr. James A. Mercy of the CDC emphasized the role of chronic stress, which causes release of neurochemicals that impair healthy development and behavior, a topic recently covered by the AAP in the journal Pediatrics, (PMID: 22201148).   Michigan State University Professor of Psychology Dr. Rebecca Campbell followed up on this theme by describing the neurobiology of trauma involving the HPA axis and the “secondary victimization” that can occur when victims of sexual violence of interrogated by our criminal justice system, resulting in what “can feel like a second rape”.

Mohamed Mattar, ScD, Senior Research Professor of International Law at Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and Executive Director of the Protection Project, encouraged wide policy reform, noting that only 80 countries have a comprehensive anti-trafficking act, and only 64 countries have provisions in the penal code to criminalize most forms of trafficking.  Dr. Mattar demanded, “How do we protect our children from exploitation and abuse?”  In answer to his own question, Dr. Mattar highlighted Article 1.12 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which calls for research to examine the interrelationship between human trafficking and global health risks.   He spoke of the relationship between trafficking, prostitution, child pornography, and sex tourism, emphasizing that all four forms of sexual exploitation need to be addressed in order to fully prevent trafficking.  In sum, Dr. Mattar challenged us to target three key areas: better data on numbers of victims, better/more consistent prosecution of known traffickers, and reduction of demand through the exacting of heavy penalties on offenders. 

The wide range of conference speakers also included Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Goldman Sachs Foundation President Dina Powell, Tory Burch, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and survivor-advocates Withelma "T" Ortiz Walker Pettigrew and Elizabeth Smart.  “T” Ortiz, in particular, highlighted problems with the foster care system in culturing poor coping skills through repeated relocation of vulnerable children which places them at high risk for traffickers.  She and Dr. Linda Williams (School for Criminology and Justice Studies at U Mass Lowell) both called for reform of the foster care system as well as increased communication between policy makers/researchers and victims.  Elizabeth Smart of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, in turn discussed her experiences as a victim as well as the need to educate children at an early age about self-worth.  Both survivor-advocates received standing ovations. 
Kanani Titchen, MD
President, AMWA National Residency Division
Pediatrics Resident, Jefferson/duPont-Nemours Hospital for Children
Originally from Hawaii, Dr. Kanani Titchen now lives with her husband Lou in Philadelphia.  Kanani previously has served as President of Jefferson Medical College’s AMWA chapter, as National AMWA Region 3 Director (for PA, DE, MD, VA, DC), and as the National Residency Division Treasurer and President-Elect.

Kanani double-majored at Tufts University in Psychology and Music and promptly pursued her interests in music and theater, earning her living as a professional actress.  In 2003, Kanani returned to science at the Population Council, working in microbicide development.  A premed-postbac certificate at Columbia University in 2006 led to clinical research in osteoporosis and menopause.  While at Jefferson Medical College, Kanani continued to research the development of biomarkers for breast and ovarian cancer at the Kimmel Cancer Center.  
Kanani is an avid traveler and is active in public health and advocacy.   She is currently contemplating a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine.   

Tara Renna, MD
President-Elect, AMWA National Residency Division
Obstetrics & Gynecology Resident, Albany Medical Center in Albany NY
Dr. Tara Renna earned her MD from Albany Medical School in May of 2012 and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Siena College in 2008. As a student, Tara demonstrated a continued commitment to women’s health and was the first recipient of the Sr. Thea Bowman Social Justice Award.

During her involvement with AMWA, Tara has served as President of the Albany Chapter and helped to institute an annual mentor dinner as well as breast cancer fundraisers and awareness about domestic violence. In the Residency Division, Tara has served as Residency Liaison and Treasurer.

Tara hopes to increase participation and involvement within the AMWA Residency Division.  Specifically, she hopes to increase collaboration with the medical student division, strengthen the Charlotte Edwards Maguire Mentor Program, and support the current President’s initiative to combat the global trafficking of women and children.  She looks forward to enhancing the Residency Division and being a part of its continued growth.
Elizabeth Berdan, MD MS
Secretary, AMWA National Residency Division
General Surgery Resident, University of Minnesota
Dr. Berdan received her M.D. in 2007 from the Medical College of Wisconsin. She recently completed a Masters in Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota and aspires to be an academic pediatric surgeon. She is the mother of 2 young girls, Fiona and Arianna.

Liz became involved with AMWA in 2012 as she learned about the opportunities for growth as a woman surgeon and leader. She attended the 2013 national AMWA conference in New York. During that conference Liz was (and continues to be) inspired by the quality of mentorship and clear pathway for national service provided by the AMWA Resident Division.

Compassion + Creativity + Effort = Limitless Possibility
Sara Hyoun, MD

Treasurer, AMWA National Residency Division
Psychiatry Resident, UCLA
Sara Hyoun is a psychiatry intern at UCLA, the mother to two girls and a Labrador mix, and a career changer from film/TV.  She finds that each of these identities brings with it a world of adjustment, excitement, and wonder.  Being a part of AMWA, she feels grounded in her layered experience and supported in her commitment to provide compassionate health care as a budding psychiatrist for women. 

Sara’s participation in AMWA fulfills a personal obligation that she holds close to her heart to further the advancement of women worldwide.  She will continue working towards AMWA’s mission in every way she can and partake in its camaraderie for many decades on.
Cheryl Silverbrook, MD
Recruitment Chair, AMWA National Residency Division
Obstetrics & Gynecology Resident, GWU
This is Dr. Cheryl Silverbrook’s  5th year of involvement with  AMWA, and she is very excited to be this year’s Recruitment Chair for AMWA’s Residency Division. While Cheryl is a Philly girl by birth, she has come to love her second home, our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.  She has been in the “District,” as the locals like to call it, for 8 years now.  She came to D.C. in 2005 for her undergraduate education at the George Washington University, obtaining a B.S. in Public Health and remained at GWU for medical school, graduating with her MD and as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha in May 2013.
Brittany Jackson, MD
Women’s Advocacy Chair, AMWA National Residency Division
Obstetrics and Gynecology Resident, George Washington University Hospital

Dr. Brittany Jackson grew up in the quaint beach town of Lewes, Delaware.  In the fall of 2009, Brittany began medical school at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Luckily, Brittany was introduced to AMWA at the same time, thanks to an individual who would become an amazing mentor (and current AMWA RD President), Kanani Titchen.  Throughout the course of her medical school career, Brittany served as a board member and Vice President for the Jefferson AMWA chapter, as well as National Advocacy Chair for the Student Division of AMWA.  In her third year, Brittany was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and served as Secretary for the Jefferson chapter throughout her fourth year.

Brittany recently departed Philadelphia and embarked on her next “big adventure,” which is an Ob/Gyn residency at The George Washington University Hospital.  Currently, Brittany aspires to a career that blends academic generalist Ob/Gyn and family planning.
Maya Bass, MD MA
Family Advocacy Chair, AMWA National Residency Division
Family Medicine Resident, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Dr. Maya Bass was born and raised in Philadelphia. She has been a board member of Jefferson Medical College’s AMWA chapter for 4 years, including 2 years as Chair of Woman’s History Month.

Maya attended Wesleyan University where she completed a BA/MA degree in Biology.  During graduate school she also became a certified Iyengar instructor. While at Jefferson Medical College, Maya worked to coordinate service projects including teaching yoga in homeless shelters and organizing medical students to clean up local parks.

Maya is ecstatic to continue to be part of a supportive community of spirited women during her residency.  
Savitha Bonthala, DO MPH
Global Health Co- Chair, AMWA National Residency Division
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Resident, Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Savitha Bonthala received her D.O., M.P.H. (global health) from Touro University California and will be starting her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. Her interests in medicine include osteopathic manipulative medicine, handicapped populations, and global health. She is fascinated with the mind, body, spirit connection and hopes to expand holistic approaches to global health care, especially for the disabled. Her global health experience includes serving as global health chair for the medical student division of AMWA and an original member of the Anne C. Carter Global Health Fellowship. She has traveled to both Uganda and Bolivia to work on projects to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with malaria. 
Mary Becker Rysavy, MD
Global Health Co- Chair, AMWA National Residency Division
Obstetrics and Gynecology Resident, University of Wisconsin in Madison
Dr. Mary Becker Rysavy is a first-year Ob/Gyn resident at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  She grew up in Dubuque, IA, and graduated from Saint Louis University with a BA in history in 2007.  She spent two years working with young people as a teacher and volunteer in Inharrime, Mozambique, before medical school.  Upon her return, she founded a non-profit organization Friends of Inharrime that continues to support projects related to the education and health of young people in Inharrime.  Mary graduated Carver College of Medicine in 2013.  She served as the national chair of global health for the AMWA student division in 2011-2012 and looks forward to providing global health insight and helping the resident division grow in 2013-14!
Dyani Loo, MD
Global Health Co- Chair, AMWA National Residency Division
Psychiatry Resident, University of New Mexico

Dr. Dyani Loo is a first-year psychiatry resident at the University of New Mexico and graduate of the University of Miami. Prior to medical school, she worked as a crisis/social services call operator and as a patient advocate for adults with schizophrenia.  The barriers that she saw people struggle with during this time led her to medical school to learn how to expand access to services and improve comprehensive psychosocial care to high-risk populations.

An Anne C. Carter Fellow, her interest in better understanding the factors involved in addressing care delivery on a global level has led her to do projects/research in rural areas of Peru, Uganda and Colombia.  As co-chair for the American Women’s Hospitals Service Committee she is continually inspired what others are doing around the world to improve their communities despite significant resource deficits. In her free time, she enjoys painting, sketching, and playing with her dog Finnegan.

Arthy Saravana, MD
Awards Chair, AMWA National Residency Division
Radiology Resident, Aultman/Mercy/NEOMED

Dr. Arthy Saravanan is originally from Toronto, Canada. She attended medical school at Indiana University and is currently a Radiology Resident at Aultman/Mercy/NEOMED. She has been involved with AMWA since medical school where she served as the Programming Coordinator and Treasurer of her local school chapter. As a resident, Arthy has had the privilege to attend AMWA annual meetings and present resident research posters. She is truly inspired by the physicians and mentors at AMWA and is thrilled to be a part of the AMWA Resident Division!
AMWA Resident Awards Announcement

The AMWA RD has selected Dr. Misty Richards as the recipient of the annual Susan Ivey Courage to Lead Award. Dr. Richards exemplifies several of the traits that this award represents including exceptional leadership skills, inspiration and innovation that furthers the mission of AMWA by improving women’s health and/or supporting women in medicine.

Dr. Misty Richards in the Engeye Clinic in Uganda
Charlotte Maguire Outstanding Resident Mentor Award
A reminder to medical students that applications for the Charlotte Maguire Outstanding Resident Mentor Award are accepted on a rolling basis and awardees are recognized at the National AMWA's Annual Meeting.

For a full description of the awards offered by the AMWA RD visit: