Ultrasonography in Pain Medicine SIG

Celebrating Women's History Month 2023

Mar 1, 2023, 00:00 AM by Diversity SIG


Interview with Vilma Joseph, MD


Interview with Meg Rosenblatt, MD


A Woman You Should Know About: Ida Scudder, MD


Articles to Read: Women in Anesthesia



Interview with Vilma Joseph, MD and Uchenna Umeh, MD



Vilma Joseph, MD, is a Professor of Anesthesiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Site Director for Anesthesia Services at Montefiore Medical Center-Weiler Hospital. She was the first African American female President of the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists and currently serves as Chair of ASA’s Committee on Performance and Outcomes Measurement. During this interview, Dr. Joseph shares her journey to anesthesiology, some of her mentors and reflects on the importance of Women’s History Month as well as Diversity and Inclusion with Dr. Uchenna Umeh, Diversity SIG Chair.



Interview with Meg Rosenblatt, MD and Uchenna Umeh, MD

Dr. Umeh: Dr. Rosenblatt, can you tell us about your work and your current leadership roles at your home institution, other societies and within ASRA Pain Medicine?

Dr. Rosenblatt: I am the Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai Morningside and West Hospitals. I am also a member of the Board of Directors (BOD) of ASRA Pain Medicine, where I head the Faculty Development Committee and am an advisor to several special interest groups (SIGs).

Dr Umeh: How do you celebrate Women’s History Month? 

Dr. Rosenblatt: I actually celebrate women every month by being an active mentor and sponsor to many colleagues and trainees.

Dr. Umeh: Why do you think Women’s History Month is important to recognize? 

Dr. Rosenblatt: Unfortunately, there are many who still don’t appreciate the contributions of women to society, and particularly to medicine. While more than half of all medical students are women, they remain grossly underrepresented as Deans and in C-Suites. We need to inspire every woman to overcome both their anxiety about imposter syndrome, and their challenges/ limitations, to reach for leadership positions at all levels, so they can better serve as agents of change.

Dr. Umeh: Who has served as an inspiration in your life? Who inspired you to be a leader and why? 

Dr. Rosenblatt: There have been many women in ASA, PGA and ASRA Pain Medicine who have been my inspirations. Beverly Philip, Mary Dale Peterson and Linda Mason were amazing ASA Presidents, through COVID and VA Care challenges. Rebecca Twersky and Audree Bendo were wonderful PGA chairs and mentors. Of course, I absolutely idolize the OG women of regional anesthesia—Denise Wedel, Teri Horlocker and Kayser Enneking, and I encourage everyone to look at Kayser’s 2021 Gaston Labat lecture. Specifically, appreciate where she speaks about an imperative to be “part of the solution” because everyone is capable of great things, even though there may be personal, institutional and cultural obstacles. 


Dr. Meg Rosenblatt and others

Dr. Rosenblatt (left) with conference attendees during the 2022 RA/Acute Pain Medicine Meeting.

Dr. Umeh: What motivated you to step up and become a leader in ASRA Pain Medicine?

Dr. Rosenblatt: ASRA Pain Medicine is an amazing organization. Unfortunately, recently it has had a paucity of female leadership, but that is changing. Sandy Kopp, who will be our new treasurer, is in line for the presidency and Lynn Kohan is joining the BOD. Tons of thanks to Gina Votta-Velis whose service as Director is about to come to a close. Along with these changes have come other things like the Mentor Match and Excellence in Education Award, both designed to help our members succeed academically and clinically. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the ASRA Pain Medicine leadership at such a pivotal time for women.

Dr. Umeh: What factors impact a woman's ability to lead others?

Dr. Rosenblatt: Leadership can be learned but it has to be desired; it is not the endgame for everyone.  Introspection is important— where do you want to be in 2, 5, 10 years? What are your current limitations and how can you overcome them? Are they personal (Do you need another degree/education?  A mentor?  A coach?)?  Are they structural? (Grant money?  Space?  Time?) I am a huge proponent of list writing and checking off activities accomplished. Hopefully any roadblocks can overcome using creativity and ingenuity and with the help of mentorship and sponsorship.

Dr. Umeh: What advice would you give to young female physicians as they navigate their careers?

Dr. Rosenblatt: This is a whole lecture! I would say: 

1) Try everything. You don’t know what will end up as your bliss. 

2) Find a mentor who can help you hone your activities to develop a narrative. 

3)Talk to people who are where you want to go and learn about their pathways. (Possibly find a sponsor in that way). 

4) HAVE PATIENCE, FOCUS, PERSISTANCE AND FUN. My favorite phrase is, “Success is a JOURNEY, not a destination.”



A Woman You Should Know About: Ida Scudder, MD
Written by: Renuka George, MD


When we think about Women Physician Pioneers, Drs. Elizabeth Blackwell and Virginia Apgar come to mind, but few people have heard about Dr. Ida Scudder. Graduating Weill Cornell Medical School in 1899, Dr. Scudder is among the first, but I would venture that she is unique because she did not remain in the United States to practice. 

Dr. Scudder grew up in India in a American medical missionary family where she helped her physician father care for the multitudes plagued by sickness and famine. As a young woman, in a single night, she witnessed the death of 3 young mothers whose husbands would not allow a male physician to care for them. This was a life-altering event and she spurned the conventional life to not only pursue a medical degree but to open a 1 bed clinic for women's health in South India. This in turn turned into a 40 bed hospital, but it was just the beginning. 

Dr. Scudder envisioned women having the same access to both health care and education and ultimately opened a women's medical school in 1918. In its first year, there were a 150 applicants despite much skepticism, she trained both nurses and physicians. Eventually the school became co-educational and is now attached to one of the finest hospitals, the Christian Medical College, in India which cares for more than 2 million patients and trains 1000 doctors and nurses a year.

When I think of Dr. Scudder, I am in awe of her commitment to not only caring for her patients, but training future physicians and nurses (both men and women) in a setting and time where inequity and inequality are in great abundance. Dr. Scudder is a medical pioneer for many reasons, but understanding and supporting global access to excellent and compassionate medical care puts her in a league of her own. 

"A teacher affects eternity, [She] can never tell where [her] influence stops." ~ Henry Adams 


Articles to Read: Women in Anesthesia
Written by: Poonam Pai, MD


I would like to highlight that we need to celebrate and recognize women for their achievements every day and not limit ourselves to one month. Women contribute selflessly day in and day out and give so much that they rarely expect anything back. Despite several challenges, women continue to make a difference in their own way not only in healthcare but all walks of life. In the face of adversity and work-life demands, women continue to make a difference in healthcare by being united.

I am inspired by all the women around me who are unappreciated and thank them for all that they do to make lives better. I feel thankful and blessed that I have had women leaders who have supported me through their invaluable mentorship to make me who I am today. I take this opportunity to share some articles concluding how women anesthesiologists, educators and researchers are critical to our profession.

Women in anaesthesia: a scoping review

Mentoring women to publish in order to thrive in the academic patriarchy

Women in anaesthesia, a special issue of the British Journal of Anaesthesia

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