2021 Diversity & Women’s Leadership Development Grant Grid

Libby Weaver – Martha.weaver@surgery.ufl.edu

Professional Title: MD

Academic Title: Clinical Fellow in Vascular Surgery

Company or Organization’s Address:
March Ann Peacock, University of Florida
1600 SW Archer Road, NG45, PO Box 100128
Gainesville, Florida 32610-0128

EVS Membership Status: Candidate Member

Ethnicity: American Indian or Alaska Native

Date of Birth: May 18, 1982

Gender: Female

Practice type: Academic

Years in Practice: 0

Candidate Graduation: 2022


As a second-year vascular surgery fellow and candidate member of the Eastern Vascular Society, I am writing to express my interest in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant which seeks candidates with attributes and career goals that closely align with mine. Specifically, I have demonstrated an interest in education beginning in medical school and extending throughout my training where I have been recognized with induction into the Johns Hopkins Distinguished Teaching Society, and received several teaching awards including the Anthony Imbembo Teaching Award for Outstanding Resident Teacher and the Outstanding Junior and Senior Teaching Awards during general surgery residency. I now seek to develop the leadership skills that are required to become an excellent vascular surgery Program Director, while also developing an academically rigorous approach to surgical education, as the next steps of my academic surgical career.

Specifically, this grant would ensure my ability to execute a recently established research project I am working on in conjunction with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and American Board of Surgery (ABS) under the mentorship of surgical education expert Brigitte K. Smith, MD, MHPE. Prior studies have demonstrated no difference in ACGME milestones ratings between vascular integrated residents (0+5) and fellows (5+2), but these studies did not assess gender differences in ratings. Recently, milestones differences between gender have been identified across general surgery trainees, but these have not been compared to other objective measures of performance, such as in-training examinations. This project will assess gender differences in milestones ratings amongst vascular surgery trainees, and how these differences correlate with objective performance measures, such as VSITE performance. It is important to understand what biases may be present in the evaluation of our vascular surgery trainees, and how these biases may impact their training and outcomes. We anticipate presentation of our findings at national conferences such as the APDVS annual meeting or the Society for Vascular Surgery Vascular Annual Meeting We also anticipate publication in a journal such as Journal of Vascular Surgery or JAMA Surgery. The ABS recently approved our request for data, ensuring that our planned research will move forward over the year ahead. The project itself will be important in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in vascular surgery, and the mentorship I am receiving for this project will contribute greatly to my own personal development in the realm of surgical education research. Additionally, I would utilize funding from this grant to take part in the Association for Academic Surgery Early Career Development Course to develop leadership skills that are necessary to become a program director.

I have been fortunate to benefit greatly from opportunities through EVS throughout my training career thus far that have been instrumental to my growth as an academic surgeon. EVS is the first meeting I presented at after winning the resident case competition, and I have since presented three plenary session abstracts at the annual meeting, all of which have ultimately led to publications in JVS. These experiences contributed to my academic progress and development, and I am certain this would be another excellent opportunity to develop skills that will allow me to become a leader in surgical education.

Lindsey Haga – hagalm2@upmc.edu

Professional Title: Chief of Vascular Surgery McKeesport Hospital

Academic Title: Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery

Company or Organization’s Address:
Attention: Karen Janosko, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
200 Lothrop St, E361.1 South Tower PUH Pittsburgh, PA 15213 Phone ( 412) 802- 6834
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

EVS Membership Status: Candidate Member

Ethnicity: Asian

Date of Birth: December 26, 1984

Gender: Female

Practice type: Academic

Years in Practice: 2

Candidate Graduation: 2019


Having children during surgical residency is difficult, causing women to delay childbearing or prevent talented women from considering a career as a surgeon due to lifestyle constraints. Issues include lack of adequate leave policies, lack of mentorship, lactation support, and perceptions of negative stigma associated with having a child. While there has been research confirming these challenges and complications for general surgeons, there is a paucity of data specific to vascular surgery training, which may have its own unique circumstances including radiation exposure and long cases. While the number of women entering into vascular surgery is increasing, it remains just a fraction of the trainees entering the field. Our goal is to investigate female resident and attending vascular surgeon perspectives on barriers and facilitators to having children during vascular surgery training and practice, with the hopes that our findings will direct efforts to improve the culture for women.

Design: Single center, qualitative study of vascular surgery female residents and attendings with and without children. We will perform semi-structured interviews based on the theoretical frameworks domains to understand the barriers and facilitators of having children during residency. Our outcome will be a needs assessment for interventions that will improve the culture at our institution to encourage choice of having children during residency or practice when desired.

Statistical analysis: We will interview female vascular surgery trainees and junior faculty from the division of vascular surgery at UPMC, and thus will be limited to the number of participants we have at our institution. Currently this study would include 8 residents and fellows, and 6 faculty members.

Significance: Ultimately, we will be able to use our results to propose interventions that may be able to improve equity in the vascular surgery environment with regard to family planning. Our aim is to change the culture, and apply our findings broadly across the field of vascular surgery to promote women in vascular surgery.

Nicole Ilonzo – nicole.ilonzo@gmail.com

Professional Title: Attending Surgeon

Academic Title: Assistant Professor

Company or Organization’s Address:
506 6th St
Brooklyn, New York 11215

EVS Membership Status: Candidate Member

Ethnicity: Black or African American

Date of Birth: August 5, 1988

Gender: Female

Practice type: Academic

Years in Practice: 0

Candidate Graduation: 2021


“Mini Vascular Surgery Bootcamp: Widening the Pipeline”

When discussing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in Vascular Surgery, one goal is to increase the number of diverse applicants applying into the field. This will potentially lead to a more diverse workforce to educate and treat patients from under-represented communities.

Much of the outreach focuses on medical students, fellows, and surgeons, but many studies show that minority groups (e.g. black, Hispanic, etc.) are underrepresented as early as medical school. Therefore, it is important to widen the pipeline. In order to continue to expand outreach to under-represented students and patients alike, many gains will be achieved by targeting younger populations. The pipeline begins as early as middle school and high school in many cases (this is when many students consider a career in medicine). Several programs, such as Health Profession Recruitment/Exposure Program (HPREP), exist to prepare high school students for careers in the medical profession. Just the exposure to the health professions at an early stage may increase the likelihood of students in underrepresented groups to consider medical professions and possibly surgical specialties such as Vascular surgery. Furthermore, the knowledge of early symptoms of vascular disease that can be gained as early as middle school or high school may influence a grandparent, for instance, to seek treatment for vascular-related issues.

This project will focus on a population of 15-20 high school students from underrepresented communities in New York City. The students will be exposed to a 3-day course in vascular surgery. Day 1 involves an Introduction to Vascular Surgery didactic, which includes symptoms of vascular disease, a general overview of vascular anatomy, and the pathway to becoming a vascular surgeon. Day 2 involves a skills lab including wound care, suture workshop, simple endovascular simulation (e.g. loading an angioplasty balloon onto a wire, deploying stents). Day 3 will involve a day of shadowing a Vascular Surgeon. This may involve observing office-based procedures or shadowing in the operating room (depending on hospital policy). In the present pandemic climate, many of the didactics can be performed utilizing Zoom. The skills lab will be compliant with social distancing policies.

Outcomes of the project will be measured utilizing pre- and post-surveys. The pre-survey will evaluate the students’ initial understandings of Vascular surgery and disease. The post-survey will evaluate how knowledge improved after the course.

We hypothesize there will be an increase in the students’ understanding of Vascular surgery and disease. Additionally, there will be more interest (albeit possibly short term) in pursuing a career in Vascular surgery and/or medicine. In the conclusion of the project, we will report the survey outcomes. Furthermore, there will be additional qualitative data in the form of video and photography footage of real-time events such as students with Vascular mentors during didactics, skills labs, or shadowing.

Julia Glaser – julia.glaser@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Professional Title: MD FACS

Academic Title: Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery

Company or Organization’s Address:
University of Pennsylvania Health System
3400 Spruce Street
Philadephia, Pennsylvania 19104

EVS Membership Status: Active Member

Ethnicity: White

Date of Birth: October 22, 1983

Gender: Female

Practice type: Academic

Years in Practice: 3

Candidate Graduation: 2018


In medicine, leadership is not often formally taught, but is instead learned from both positive and negative examples over the course of a long career. As a still junior vascular surgeon, my ability to lead a team both in the operating room and within my organization involves skills that I am in the process of developing. While I feel fortunate that I have had many positive examples over the course of my training, I think that some structured curriculum would be beneficial for my continued growth. My goals within the next 5-10 years include developing a comprehensive critical limb program at my institution, and strengthening the inpatient, outpatient and operative vascular surgery teams. Formal coursework in both leadership skills and the economics of healthcare would help me achieve these goals.

I would plan to use the DEI grant along with a small amount of educational funds from my university to take two courses that would increase my fund of knowledge in separate but equally important areas within healthcare.

The first is a course offered through Columbia Business School – Leadership Essentials. A four-day live online course, this covers a range of basic topics: understanding different leadership styles, learning about emotional intelligence and how it pertains to leadership, fundamentals of team dynamics, and most importantly, identifying your own strengths and opportunities for improvement as a leader. A set of foundational skills is the first step in building my ability to lead both in small settings such as the operating room, and bigger settings such as within the organization as a whole.

The second course is on Healthcare Management, offered by the Yale School of Management. This is an eight-week online course that covers healthcare from a business perspective. It is a broad overview of a set of topics that are important to physicians as a whole and specifically those who want to lead within a healthcare organization. It covers fundamentals of the economics of healthcare, financial resources that underpin health care, and an overview of operations management and healthcare delivery. The course covers a broad swath of information that is also not discussed within medical school or residency, but information that I need to have a good understanding of to develop programs within a healthcare institution.

Each of these courses represents a concept crucial to achieving my goals. Developing any new program within a healthcare institution requires an understanding of the underlying finances. Team building as I try to get these efforts off the ground requires that I personally have excellent leadership skills in order to bring together a group of individuals towards a common objective.

I am in the minority as a female surgeon within my division here at Penn, and within vascular surgery as a whole. I am even further in the minority as one of only two openly LGBTQ+ faculty within the department of surgery. Representation is important; diversity helps organizations succeed. Furthermore, diversity inspires future diversity, as “it’s hard to be what you can’t see.” In a way, situations that I’ve faced due to being both female and openly gay have given me a unique set of interpersonal and leadership skills that I would not have otherwise. The EVS DEI grant would provide the opportunity to expand my knowledge base to leverage and develop my skills, advance within leadership, and hopefully encourage increasing diversity within vascular surgery.

Asad Choudhry – choudhra@upstate.edu

Professional Title: MBBS

Academic Title: Vascular Fellow

Company or Organization’s Address:
750 E. Adams St. Syracuse, N.Y. 13210
Asad Choudhry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 750 E. Adams St. Syracuse, N.Y. 13210 Ph no: 315-464-3673
Syracuse, New York 13210

EVS Membership Status: Candidate Member

Ethnicity: Asian

Date of Birth: February 8, 1989

Gender: Male

Practice type: Academic

Years in Practice: 1

Candidate Graduation: 0723


Statement of Intent, has been attached and uploaded along with the Budget sheet.

Please note additional letter of recommendation by Dr. Palma Shaw has been directly emailed to Dr. Caitlin Hicks.