medical scientist training program

Association of Women Student MD-PhDs

Nationally, women are underrepresented among physician-scientists, MD-PhD students and MD-PhD applicants. Our program is committed to organizing and promoting events, activities and resources that support women MD-PhD students around issues that are often important to women and/or that tend to uniquely affect women, or affect women differently than men. We also help women students and applicants connect with female role models among physician-scientist faculty at Penn.In addition, the program recognizes that “women’s issues” often affect men as well, and that both men and women are invested in working to change gender inequality.

The Association of Women Student MD-PhDs (AWSM) is a student-driven organization that seeks to connect students across different classes with both social events and educational activities centering on these goals. All women MSTP students are invited to attend our planning meetings which are led by student co-chairs (elected annually). If you’re interested in learning more about AWSM please contact one of us:

Johanna Busch, Co-Chair (
Liz Traxler, Co-Chair (
Dr. Aimee Payne, Faculty Advisor to AWSM and MD-PhD Program Associate Director (
Maggie Krall, Director of Administration for the MD-PhD Program (

A few examples of topics that have been covered at past events include:

  • Gender differences related to career building skills, such as communication styles, negotiating skills, presentation skills
  • Challenges of training and career advancement
  • Balancing family/personal life with career
  • Overview of the state of women in academic medicine and discussion of the underrepresentation of women
  • Coping with and confronting sexism
  • Importance of mentorship and how to find it

For more details, check out the events tab on this site or go to: