Our story begins in 2018, when The Canadian Women in Medicine (CWIM) Conference was founded. Its purpose was to bring women physicians together to learn and connect, as well as, improve their personal and professional wellness in a supportive environment. The inaugural event also served to honour the life of our colleague and friend Dr. Elana Fric, by raising funds for her children and charities supporting women struggling with Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).
After a successful first conference in June 2018 that welcomed over 500 attendees, we saw the need for more. The Canadian Women in Medicine (CWIM) Organization was founded, a not-for-profit national membership organization with a mission to connect and support women physicians in all aspects of their lives. To this day, the CWIM Organization serves to provide additional support to women physicians throughout the year by way of advocacy, mentorship, and social/charitable events.
The CWIM Conference continued to grow, welcoming 800 attendees in 2019, 1,200 attendees in 2020 after shifting to a virtual format due to COVID-19, and over 1,500 attendees in 2021. Now coming up on its fifth year, it continues to provide best-in-class education on topics aligned with the CWIM mission to help women physicians thrive in both their personal and professional lives and has grown to be the largest gathering of women physicians in North America. It also continues to be dedicated to honouring the life of Dr. Elana Fric, and all other women affected by IPV, by raising funds for charities that support women and their children.
In the spring of 2021, a longitudinal course was launched that focused specifically on leadership development for women physicians. CWIM Leaders was warmly welcomed, with over 250 physicians earning a certificate in its first offering. It continues to bring both content and community together through the format of live expert speaker sessions and smaller group meetings.
With a growing community and plans for future courses and events, CWIM Gather was announced in October 2021. CWIM Gather, the overarching event producer, was created to simplify and streamline news, announcements and engagement for our incredible community.