This weekend, I was in Leavenworth, Washington, in the Central Cascades. Leavenworth was initially a small town that was faltering in the early to mid-1960s. Inspired by Solvang, CA, Leavenworth modeled itself on a small Bavarian village and is now one of the most popular vacation spots in Washington State. As we were driving to dinner on Saturday night, the tree in the picture caught my eye. (I apologize as I know it’s a bit blurry, but so it goes when taking pictures at 60 MPH.). As you can see, the tree began growing out of the side of the mountain and then turned upward toward the sun. This was just one of many evergreens like this: all solidly rooted on a rather acute angle but ultimately headed upwards. While the weekend certainly was relaxing, I also enjoyed the visual metaphor of a tree starting out at perhaps a disadvantageous angle, but nonetheless solidly continuing to grow.
Now in its 39th year, the Society of Women in Urology remains an organization dedicated to the mentorship, sponsorship, promotion, and advancement of women in urology. Our Eighth Annual Clinical Mentorship Meeting, with a focus on “Advocacy: For Yourself, Your Patients, and Your Profession,” was held in January of this year in Scottsdale, AZ. This meeting was well received and in addition to clinical and leadership programming, offered ample opportunity for networking. The 2020 meeting, to be held in New Orleans, LA, from January 17-19, is being chaired by Drs. Brook Brown and Anne Pelletier-Cameron, and promises to be equally engaging and inspiring.
While the Clinical Mentoring Meeting and AUA Breakfast meeting are the two most visible events for SWIU each year, SWIU Board Members and delegates work year round to promote the interests of women in urology. Each year, the Board identifies specific time-sensitive goals to be addressed by Task Forces, and SWIU is actively represented at advocacy and educational forums, including the American Association of Clinical Urologists Annual Meeting, AUA Annual Advocacy Summit, and Society of Academic Urologists Annual Meeting. SWIU is increasingly regarded as an organization that needs to have a seat at the table; this is crucial, as Dr Una Lee mentioned at January’s meeting, because “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”
As SWIU continues to grow and expand, the Board is always looking for ways to engage interested and motivated women at every level. Please consider submitting an application to become a Board member, to work on a Task Force, or to speak at an upcoming meeting. Have an idea that we haven’t explored yet? We want to hear from you! Much like the Town of Leavenworth, SWIU is adaptable: rather than offer the same old musty refrains, we are a living organization open to new ideas to advance our organizational mission.
We look forward to seeing you in January in New Orleans!
Kathleen Kieran, MD
SWIU 2019 – 2020 President