What inspired you to become a part of ASME, and how have you deepened your involvement over time?

I joined ASME 3 years ago. I had recently relocated to the UK and was keen to connect with local health professions educators. I had attended some ASME events and through these as well as through colleagues who were familiar with ASME, became aware that ASME would be a great place to start building those connections.

Soon after joining as a member, I applied and was selected to the Education Research Committee (ERC). I later joined the ASME EDI working group, as a representative from the ERC. When the working group was recently converted to a committee, I joined as a founding member.

Through these committees, I have been able to contribute to a breadth of ASME activities – organising the Researching Medical Education conference, reviewing award applications, facilitating workshops, engaging in EDI initiatives, and the opportunity to co-author a chapter in the latest ASME publication ‘Starting Research in Clinical Education’. The two main ASME conferences – ASM and RME are key events in my calendar.

Can you tell us more about how you have been involved with EDI work within ASME e.g., your contributions to the working group, and presenting your work on publication at RME?

As a member of the EDI working group, I have had the privilege of engaging in conversations aimed at strengthening EDI in health professions education both locally and beyond. A highlight has been the opportunity to engage with ‘Enrich’, a widening access initiative providing local A-Level students with the opportunity to attend a full day of the ASM conference and network with ASME members.

Involvement with the EDI working group and the ERC simultaneously, has also provided the unique opportunity of conducting activities with a joint focus, for example, workshops on EDI considerations in research, publication and faculty development at ASME and AMEE conferences.

In what ways has being a member of ASME influenced your career or studies in medical education?

Joining ASME has connected me with a host of wonderful people from the HPE community, opening doors to collaboration, research and scholarly work.

Most notable though is the influence it has had on my EDI-focused work. Though I had always been passionate about EDI, I was not aware of how I could channel this passion within the HPE context. Joining the ASME EDI working group, provided that insight and served as a stepping stone for many other EDI-focused involvements, both within ASME and in my workplace (Hull York Medical School), where I have since taken on a number of EDI roles and now lead various initiatives.

Can you share a memorable moment or experience you’ve had within or with ASME?

Too many to choose from! I can’t recall an ASME event that hasn’t been memorable and fun, and that is purely because of the wonderful ASME community!

Apart from your activities with ASME, are there any other initiatives or projects you’re passionate about and would like to share?

I’m currently working on a number of EDI-related projects, focusing on differential attainment in undergraduate/postgraduate training, strengthening cultural sensitivity within the workplace, among others. A project inspired during the internship I completed with the Medical Education journal, is in the pipeline. This will focus on developing accessible and bite-sized peer review guidance. Watch this space!

For someone considering joining ASME, what advice would you offer?

Don’t hesitate! ASME has something for everyone, regardless of career stage or professional background. Membership offers many benefits – a key one being the opportunity to join a broad range of special interest/career groups or committees and shape the field of HPE. Above all, when you join ASME, you become part of an extensive and supportive HPE community, which for me has been the highlight of joining ASME.

Dr. Amaya Ellawala
Dr. Amaya Ellawala