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Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) strongly supports diversity and inclusion within physician leadership as both an ethical imperative and a mechanism to optimize perinatal outcomes for all people who desire or experience pregnancy. SMFM’s mission, vision, and strategic direction recognize that success is dependent upon reflecting the diversity of the communities that maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) subspecialists serve. SMFM’s advocacy agenda prioritizes health equity and supports policies aimed at eliminating racial inequities for all high-risk pregnant people. To foster a more equitable leadership structure within SMFM and the institutions in which MFM subspecialists work each day, SMFM launched the Emerging Leaders Program.

Program Overview
The Emerging Leaders Program is a pipeline program that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion within SMFM and the field of maternal-fetal medicine. The upcoming Class of 2024 is generously supported by Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Systems.

Skills building includes leadership best practices, understanding one’s personal leadership style, and addressing the lived experience of Emerging Leaders who, as minoritized people, may often be and feel like “the only one” in their institution. Participants learn about the importance of physician engagement in federal legislative advocacy, how to speak to the media, and best practices for social media. Emerging Leaders also receive no-cost access to MFM educational and research content. This program cultivates physicians who can advocate for and raise awareness of the unique needs of their patients.

Intentionally designed to be a small, no-cost program for participants, in 2022, the Emerging Leaders Program accepted five people from a pool of 64 applicants in its first year. Emerging Leaders meet in-person and online over the course of nine months. The Emerging Leaders also received personalized career coaching, networking opportunities, and mentorship from luminaries in the field of MFM. Upon completion of the program, Emerging Leaders matriculate on to SMFM committees. SMFM’s committees drive the development of position statements, clinical guidance, scientific meeting content, health policy initiatives, and future research directions. This is what defines Emerging Leaders as a leadership pipeline program. Committee service within SMFM provides further opportunities for these leaders within their own institutions, as well. The alumni potential to the field of MFM and beyond is significant.

Inaugural Class of Emerging Leaders (From Left to Right): Drs. Olaide Ashimi Balogun (TX), Terri-Ann Bennett (FL), Betsy Encarnacion O'Donnell (CA), Omar Young (NC), and Niraj Chavan (MO) 


Eligibility: To be eligible for consideration, a physician must: 1.) be a current member of SMFM, 2.) three to seven years post-MFM fellowship, 3) complete a brief application, 4.) be someone who has NOT already received an SMFM or Foundation for SMFM award, and 5.) be someone who is not a current SMFM committee member.

Cost: The program is free to participants, and all travel and accommodations for in-person meetings are covered. 

Application Process: Application Information for the next cohort of Emerging Leaders will be available in mid-fall of 2023! 

SMFM welcomes additional sponsors for the Emerging Leaders Program! Sponsoring the Emerging Leaders Program demonstrates a commitment to addressing disparities in maternal care, while empowering diverse future leaders in the MFM subspecialty. Your generous support will offset the costs of Emerging Leaders’ and faculty travel; speaker fees; personal career coaching; leadership style survey and assessment; the development of marketing materials. Learn more about the sponsorship options

Questions about the Emerging Leaders Program or Sponsorship? Contact SMFM's Senior Director of DEI & Engagement, Allison Wainick

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