The Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF), the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) are proud to announce that they will hold a high-level conference on Women Leaders & Health: Empowering women leaders in innovation, medical education and healthcare delivery in Beirut, Lebanon under the esteemed Patronage of His Excellency Mr Saad Hariri, President of the Council of Ministers, on 16-17 April 2019.
Women Leaders & Health will bring into focus key challenges and opportunities for women’s leadership in medical education, healthcare delivery, STEM, research, innovation, sustainability and international development. The conference will draw the Arab public and private sectors, international development organisations and institutes, civil society, women and youth together to examine opportunities and barriers to entry for women leaders in medicine and the healthcare sciences; to promote an inclusive and empowering environment for women-led innovation, research and discovery through regional and international best practices; and advance capacity building through technology, training, entrepreneurship, executive leadership and social enterprise. The conference will deliver actionable recommendations for empowering women in these critical sectors towards fulfilment of the SDGs on gender diversity and maternal and children’s health.
The high-impact Women Leaders & Health programme has been developed in full partnership between AIWF, UMMS and AUB, with the rich and timely sessions and concepts significantly strengthened by the leadership of UMMS in global health and wellbeing through pioneering education, research and healthcare delivery, and by AUB’s globally recognised approach to innovative medical education for the next generation of medical practitioners and healthcare in the Arab world and beyond. The themes of the Women Leaders & Health conference are at the heart of what AIWF has been doing at the Arab and international level for over 18 years as a development agency invested in creating a better future for women and youth in the MENA region and internationally through economic development, diversity and inclusion.
Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, Founder & Chairman of AIWF, said: “Despite the numbers of women studying medicine at university and successfully completing residency, women across the region still face considerable barriers to engaging in medical education and the healthcare sciences because of the long years of studying, residency commitments that may conflict with family life, and the requirement to work long or night shift hours and in proximity with unrelated males. Getting more young and high achieving Arab women into medical education requires a societal shift to channel female school leavers into world-class medical programmes, preparing them fully for the rigour of medical studies, and raising awareness of the importance of their role in cultivating a gender diverse medical workforce in the region.”
“Post-education”, Mrs. Al Kaylani continued, “women are facing similar barriers to career progression due to limited opportunities to advance in their fields. Here, technology and especially AI platforms, continuous professional training, entrepreneurship, social enterprise, and ongoing leadership development may provide the key to building capacity for women in medicine and other STEM sectors. AIWF is exceptionally proud to be working closely with world-class conference partners at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the American University of Beirut to bring to light key empowerment challenges for women leaders in medical education and healthcare delivery and to facilitate the necessary collaboration and connectivity to find viable, long-term and equitable solutions for these challenges.”
Dr. Fadlo Khuri, President of the American University of Beirut, said: “Whilst the gender imbalance among our medical graduates has leveled off, we remain—not just in Lebanon, but in advanced countries in the world—some distance short of parity in the profession, and the disparity grows as you move up through the hierarchies of health and medical leadership. Gender bias and inequality are everywhere, and it is with gatherings like this conference on Women Leaders & Health: Empowering women leaders in innovation, medical education and healthcare delivery that we must explicitly tackle the normalization of these negative phenomena to enable women to overcome the challenges that prevent them from playing their full role. The new generation of AUB academicians, physicians, nurses, and students are at the forefront of the push for gender equality in this region in medicine, health, and other spheres. Partnership with our outstanding colleagues from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Arab International Women’s Forum amplifies these efforts.”
Dr. Michael F Collins, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said: “Given that our medical school recruits the best and brightest minds from a global talent pool – without regard to gender or geography – we keenly appreciate the strategic imperative to continually foster a welcoming, inclusive and equitable environment for all members of our academic community and to engage with global partners that share our commitment to elevating the human condition around the world. That is why we feel so fortunate to partner with the AIWF and AUB, such esteemed pillars of the Middle East region, to convene this most timely conference.”
Dr. Mohamed Sayegh, Executive Vice President & Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the American University of Beirut, said: “Joining the AIWF on this critical initiative reflects our conviction in this much-needed and timely initiative which brings into focus key challenges and opportunities for women’s leadership in medical education, innovation, and healthcare delivery. Promoting an inclusive and empowering environment for women-led innovation, research and discovery through regional and international best practices is at the core of what we do at AUBMC. AUB has a longstanding history of promoting the role of women in society, and specifically in education and healthcare. Through engaging in platforms similar to AIWF, we prioritize the involvement of women and youth towards finding innovative and actionable solutions to the multi-faceted and complex environmental, economic security, gender and developmental challenges the MENA region faces.”