The Business of Mentoring Future Surgeons

Jessica Kaczmarek
February 27, 2017

The Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) is a chapter of the national organization of the same name, which per their website, is “committed to supporting women surgeons at various stages in their career – from medical school through retirement.” Our Vanderbilt chapter is a co-ed group of Vanderbilt medical students interested in surgical specialties, led by an all-female leadership board with Dr. Kimberly Vinson as our faculty adviser.

AWS hosts a variety of unique and well-attended events and workshops throughout the year. “Suturing Skills Workshop” with Dr. Terhune and Dr. Eskind, “Lumbar Puncture Workshop” with Dr. Eli Zimmerman, and “Tubes, Lines, and Drains Chalk Talk” with Dr. Britney Grayson are examples of the educational events we host. 


“Tubes, Lines, and Drains Chalk Talk” with Dr. Britney Grayson

(from left to right: Jessica Kaczmarek, Co-Chair AWS; Dr. Britney Grayson, Chief Resident of General Surgery; Maria Grigoreva, Co-Vice Chair AWS, Patricia Costacurta, Co-Chair AWS; Kathleeen Gallagher, Treasurer/Secretary AWS)

AWS also hosts social events to connect medical students interested in surgery with current Vanderbilt female surgeons. Our annual “Dinner with Women Surgeons” is an opportunity for students to chat with some of Vanderbilt’s finest surgeons and ask questions about the life, joys, and challenges of being a surgeon.

With its specialty in surgery, AWS also partners with other student organizations to help invite surgical faculty to big schoolwide events. For example, AWS plays a role in inviting surgical residents to Careers in Medicine (CiM)’s annual Specialty Speed Dating event. This event allows first years to find out about a range of specialties from Vanderbilt residents.

Keep on the lookout for emails about any new events this year! If you would like to join our Association of Women Surgeons listserv, or have any suggestions for event ideas for this year, please email Co-Chairs Patricia Costacurta ( or Jessica Kaczmarek ( 


Vanderbilt medical students taking notes at Dr. Britney Grayson’s chalk talk “Tubes, Lines, and Drains.”


Vanderbilt medical students learning how to perform a lumbar puncture with Dr. Eli Zimmerman.