WESH started as SELAM (Society for Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine) in 1998 when the organization was founded as a 501 (c) 3 corporation by Drs. Ponjola Coney, Nancy Hardt, and Deborah German. Originally the organizational was … committed to the advancement and promotion of women to executive positions in academic medicine and allied health professions through programs that enhance professional and career development and provide networking and mentoring opportunities. The society will support programs designed and dedicated to developing leadership and management skills for individuals interested in careers in academic medicine and allied health professions and will promote collaboration and networking among its members and other organizations that share common goals (articles of incorporation, 1998).
Many of the original members were graduates of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program. Similarity in names SELAM and ELAM and overlap in membership between SELAM and ELAM led to confusion by nonmembers and members regarding the differences between the 2 organizations. WESH wanted to better delineate what we do from other leadership programs and organizations and we wanted to make our resources more widely available to women in leadership positions in healthcare and the sciences. We welcomed women in leadership and the men who support them to join our ranks. WESH wanted the message was to get out to a wider audience.
In July, 2011, the Board of Directors met as a part of Strategic Planning effort. New name choices included words that we thought were important and relevant to our members: Executive, Leadership, Women, Healthcare, Science, Medicine, Network, Advancing, and others. We used scrabble tiles to come up with new name choices and new acronyms. After many acronyms and web searches, WESH (Women Executives in Science and Healthcare) was born. Rebranding ourselves began shortly thereafter and here we are today.
Mission Statement: WESH is a professional organization dedicated to the advancement and promotion of women executives in academic medicine, healthcare and the sciences.
Tag Line: Women Executive Leaders in Academic Medicine, Healthcare and the Sciences
Vision Statement: Changing the face of healthcare leadership.