Association of Women Surgeons


Join AWS

AWS members are intelligent, hard-working, energetic women and men committed to be the best they can be in all facets of their lives. With diverse interests and lifestyles, each member shares a commitment to excellence in surgery. These colleagues invite you to join them as a member of the Association of Women Surgeons as well as listen to the AWS Podcast, here.

The virginia chapter of the Association of Women Surgeons


Virginia was the first state to organize and incorporate a state chapter of AWS (2003), with the goal of developing relationships among women surgeons on the local level and providing residents and students with role models and career development opportunities.

Hilary Sanfey, MD, a transplant surgeon at the University of Virginia, served as the state chapter's first president, and is a Past President / ACS Governor for the national organization, which has over 1,400 members.

Past Presidents: Jeannie Savas, MD, Nancy Harthun, MD, Therese M. Duane, MD, Ana Schroen, MD, Rebecca Britt, MD, Amelia Grover, MD,  Paula Ferrada, MD, Sara Rasmussen, MD, and Jyoti Upadhyay, MD. 


more about the aws

Why the Association of Women Surgeons is important.

The definition of success is different for every individual. Family and parenting responsibilities are as important as academic growth for surgeons and surgeons in the making.  

Our chapter mission is to provide with venues of discussion to achieve success in the professional and personal arena. We aim to support the leaders of the future, and fostering a benign work environment in surgery.  

Our Goals: 

  • Promote supportive environment for women in surgical programs at all career stages 
  • Provide opportunities for collaboration and networking 
  • Stimulate discussions about successfully accomplishing goals professionally and personally  


Learn more about AWS | Why AWS is Important | Download  AWS Pocket Mentor and other resources

Through various networking forums, we support the exchange of experiences, advice, and strategies among female surgeons around the world. Many of us remain isolated from our female colleagues in spite of the rising number of women in surgery. AWS addresses the unique challenges faced by women surgeons like:

  • Balancing family issues with the demands of a surgical career, including when to have children;
  • Pay and promotion equity issues; and
  • The lack of women in academic leadership positions.

The Virginia Chapter of AWS hosts a Career Development Symposium each spring in conjunction with the meetings of the American College of Surgeons/Virginia Chapter & Virginia Surgical Society. In the past few years since its inception, membership has grown to over 80 surgeons and future surgeons from Virginia and neighboring states.  

2019 President : Marybeth Hughes, MD FACS  

Engage. Empower. Excel.

The Virginia Chapter of AWS hosts a Career Development Symposium each spring in conjunction with the Annual Conference.