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Our 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 health care disparities 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. 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 will 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, the Emerging Leaders Program accepted five people from a pool of 64 applicants in 2022—its first year. Emerging Leaders meet in-person and online over the course of nine months. Upon completion of the program, Emerging Leaders will 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.

2022 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. For more information and to apply, please click here. Questions? Contact SMFM's Director of Diversity. Equity, and Inclusion, Allison Wainick

Application Process: The application process opens on December 1, 2022 and consists of a few brief essays (250 words or less) and a series of demographic questions. The application process closes on February 18, 2023. Notifications are sent by March 31, 2023.

Program Timeline: June 2023 (2.5-day in-person group workshop); Summer 2023 (individual coaching via phone); Early Fall 2023 (assigned to an SMFM Committee); October 2023 (2.5-day in-person group workshop); Late Fall 2023 (individual coaching follow up); February 2024 (in-person graduation ceremony SMFM Annual Pregnancy Meeting’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Reception).

Questions on the Application, So You Can Prepare Ahead!

  1. What are your career and SMFM aspirational leadership goals? (150 words or less)

  2. Please share an example of a leadership experience of which are most proud. This does not necessarily have to be a formal role or title. (150 words or less).

  3. What skills do you hope to acquire from the program? (150 words or less)

  4. Please share examples of your involvement or interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion. (150 words or less)

 We hosted a Zoom informational session in 2021. To view the recorded webinar, click here. 

SMFM is currently seeking 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; the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Reception at the Annual Pregnancy Meeting; and the Special Interest Group on Anti-Racism at the Annual Pregnancy Meeting. 

If you, your organization, or your corporation is interested in supporting this impactful and inspiring program, Emerging Leaders Program sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Allison Wainick, SMFM Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, at today to learn more.

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