|Dr. Deepa Jhaveri, left, and Dr. Manju Sheth of the Women’s Forum. Photo by BINITA PATEL PHOTOGRAPHY
Women doctors have played a big role in the Indian Medical Association of New England, from the early founding members to many presidents over the years, including the last several presidents and currently a majority of the executive committee is comprised of women. The organization has had some sort of women’s group or forum often in its history, but a re-launch of the specific Women’s Forum in late 2008 has triggered a particularly successful period.
The Women’s Forum was re-launched with the goals of helping with social causes related to women, linking with organizations working with women in this area, fundraising, networking with other women physicians, promoting Indian culture, developing a support system and empowering women to be achievers.
Current IMANE President Dr. Manju Sheth and Dr. Deepa Jhaveri are co-chairs of the forum. Dr. Mohani Malhotra is the moderator of the forum. Other doctors, including Manorama Mathur and Prema Ramdey, are credited with help reignite interest in the Women’s Forum.
According to Jhaveri, who is a podiatrist at Beverly Hospital in Danvers, Mass., as well as in her own practice in Winthrop, informal gatherings of women doctors several years ago led to the decision to reestablish a more formal Women’s Forum.
“We decided that it kind of made sense to reform and restructure it and have a more focused plan for meetings,” Jhaveri said.
This has led to the Women’s Forum having several large meetings a year with guest speakers covering health and professional topics. The next big meeting is targeted for June and will feature a talk from a noted nutritionist.
However, the Women’s Forum also has smaller, more frequent meetings that bring together women doctors to network and socialize.
“It has been great over the last three or four years, people have become friends, had great networking and people have found jobs,” said Jhaveri.
While Jhaveri acknowledged IMANE’s openness to women, including as president, she said there is something nice and different about having a venue only for women doctors. She described the gatherings of the Women’s Forum as welcoming, warm and cozy.
“IMANE Women’s Forum is only for women and it kind of gives us a chance to talk or discuss things that are not really possible to talk about at IMANE meetings,” she said.
Women’s Forum meetings are also not restricted to IMANE members only, which she believes is a good entry point to the group for younger doctors getting their feet wet in the idea of being part of a large professional organization. “We cater more to the younger physicians who can’t be a president of a big organization,” she said. “I think the women’s forum is to their benefit.”
Even though Jhaveri is an IMANE member she admits that she has found more of a home with the Women’s Forum than she has with the group as a whole.
“If I had to pick and choose, I would rather go to a smaller group where I can get to know people she said.