International Women's Day 2023
ASME Remembers International Women's Day
by Dr. Riya George
International Women’s Day is one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness of women’s equality and reignite our collective call for action in accelerating gender parity. The global campaign for this year is #Embrace Equity. Whilst diversity acknowledges differences in its broadest sense, equity moves beyond this to consider how we engage with these differences to ensure fairness. Collective activism is what drive change. From grass-root actions to wide scale momentum, we can all embrace equity. Whether it’s setting up a discussion forum, hosting an event or helping mentor a junior colleague, there are many ways individuals and groups can support the call to action in helping to spark meaningful conversations about equity. When we embrace equity, we embrace diversity and inclusion.
Last year we created an assortment of resources in honour of International Women’s Day and this year we would like to remember and revisit them as well highlight some new initiatives ASME is planning to help continue the conversations we spark about equity, diversity and inclusion. To begin with, have a look again at the range of top career development tips created by a diverse group of women for women. We hope these career development tips continue to inspire and support you in your day job. Last year’s communication piece also included some examples of successful ASME award applications and a podcast exploring the career journeys of three different women, these can be accessed below.
ASME Gold Medal
The ASME Gold Medal is one of our most prestigious awards, recognising highly experienced scholars who have made an outstanding national and international contribution to medical education research and innovation.
This award is intended to be forward-looking as well as valuing past achievements. In honour of International Women’s Day, we would like to remember and celebrate the inspiring women who have been awarded the Gold Medal. Their achievements are highlighted below.
2023 – Vishna Devi Nadarajah
Vishna is Pro Vice Chancellor (Education) at the International Medical University, Malaysia. As a global leader in medical education her areas of expertise include: Institutional Development and Internationalisation, Faculty Development, Assessment, Teaching and Learning and Educational Frameworks. Vishna has made a significant contribution in the EDI space organising multiple international conferences, particularly supporting the voices of the global south and uses her voice as an Asian woman to support woman and Asian academics.
Vishna has contributed to ASME in many ways but notably through her work for ASME’s journals as Deputy Editor for Medical Education and being on the international advisory group for the Clinical Teacher.
2019 – Annie Cushing
Professor Annie Cushing was presented with the ASME Gold Medal Award in 2019 and presented her work on ‘Communication Skills Education: The Territory and the Journey’.
Annie Cushing qualified at the London Hospital Dental School in the mid-1970’s and worked for almost 20 years as a dental clinician, researcher and teacher. In 1991, prior to publication of the first ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’, she changed career and pioneered innovative spiral communication skills curricula for both the medical and dental schools at Barts and The London. BLSMD was the first medical school to introduce objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) in 1993 as part of MBBS qualifying examinations.
Her career has focused on scholarly activity, strategic support at an Institutional level for curriculum evolution and staff development, the outcome of which was recognized as a major component of the successful CETL Award in 2005 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for clinical and communication skills healthcare education.
2017 – Mei Ling Young
Mei Ling Young was presented the ASME Gold Medal award in 2017 by the then ASME Chair Jen Cleland. Upon presenting the award to Mei Ling, Jen said she had won the medal ‘for her work in creating and developing the IMU’ and shared that Mei Ling’s vision was ‘to produce doctors in a country that had a chronic shortage of doctors at the time and no well-developed medical education set-up’. As Deputy Vice-Chancelor of the International Medical University which she co-founded in 1992, Mei Ling served as the university’s provost, executive director of IMU Education and as Company Director of IMU Health and IMU Healthcare.
Mei Ling Young sadly died in 2021, her significant contributions to medical and health education and scholarship continue to be remembered.
2015 – Val Wass
Val Wass is Emeritus Professor in Medical Education in the Faculty of Health at Keele University. She retired in February 2015 from her appointment as Head of the School of Medicine at Keele which she had led since December 2009.
Val received the RCGP President’s International medal for exceptionally meritorious international work and the 2015 Association for the Study of Medical Education Gold medal for her outstanding contributions. In the 2015 Queen’s New Year’s Honour list she became an Officer of the British Empire for her services to medical education.
Joining ASME in the celebration of International Women’s Day, the Academy of Medical Educators (AoME) have showcased eighteen women who have received an Honorary Fellowship; an award intended for exceptional individuals who have significantly contributed to medical education.
They have also spotlighted the four women who have received the prestigious President’s Silver Medal since its inception in 2009.
Click on the cover image to view the PDF.
Rola Ajjawi is Professor of Educational Research at the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) at Deakin University, Australia. Her international program of research has sought to reveal the taken for granted assumptions about and hidden complexities of educational practice, with a deep interest in theory and methodology. She has been in medical education since 2006 when completing her PhD examining how physiotherapists learn to communicate their clinical reasoning. Her current research spans equity, agency, belonging, and workplace learning.
Rola was awarded a Karolinska Institutet Fellowship for her Research in Medical Education in 2021. She is Deputy Editor of the journal Medical Education, DEI lead for the journal, and chair of the AMEE doctoral award group. She also serves on the editorial board of Teaching in Higher Education.
Duncan Shrewsbury is a general practitioner (family physician) in Brighton and a Reader in Clinical Education and Primary Care at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, where he is deputy lead for curriculum development. His PhD explored dyslexia in doctors and his research centres on work on inclusion in medical education and clinical practice, with specific strands looking at doctors with disabilities, practitioner wellbeing, and inclusive curriculum design.
More recently he has been developing interprofessional education networks in the South East of England. He supervises several doctoral students undertaking a range of projects in clinical education.
We have a range of upcoming diversity related ASME Bitesize sessions happening online which are free to attend, if you have not signed up already, there is still time. For more information, see below:
In all of our communication pieces, we aim to spotlight and support new organisations striving for change. The Association of International Medics (AIM UK) is a new student-led organisation founded by Jean Ling Tan.
In the guest contribution piece below, Jean shares more information about this organisation and the personal importance of International Women’s Day for her.
My name is Jean and I am an MB-PhD in Cancer Sciences candidate at the University of Manchester. I am the Head of the Association of International Medics UK (AIM UK), a non-profit organisation that supports and advocates for international medical students and doctors without a focus on their country of origin or place of prior education. The celebration of the achievements of women for International Women’s Day provides me with role models, something I struggled with especially when I first moved to the United Kingdom for my studies in 2019.
At the time, I did not see anyone who looked like me in the positions I wanted to be in as I progressed in my career, especially as a woman from an ethnic minority. IWD serves as a personal reminder that I deserve to be where I am today and that I have the ability to make a change in the world. AIM UK aims to support students and doctors who find themselves in a similar position to me. If you would like to find out more information about AIM UK, please email on
We hope the different resources and updates in this communication piece have given you food for thought on this subject and inspires you to learn more. On behalf of ASME, I hope you enjoyed International Women’s Day and that you continue to celebrate women in all walks of life!
As part of ASME’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy we actively aim to start and continue meaningful conversations about diversity issues in medicine and healthcare. Throughout the year we will be exploring how we can celebrate and support individuals from culturally diverse, under-represented and marginalised backgrounds. If you would like to find out more, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org