Women's Leadership Initiative


Now accepting nominations for the 2021 Women's Leadership Initiative Awards! Download the application to nominate yourself or a colleague.

The Women's Leadership Initiative supports and encourages women in foot and ankle orthopaedic surgery. As part of the initiative, the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation established the Women's Leadership Awards, recognizing outstanding female leaders in foot and ankle orthopaedics. Two awards will be presented this year:

  • The Career Impact Award, recognizing women who have made exceptional contributions to the field of orthopaedic foot and ankle surgery

  • The Career Development Award, supporting the professional aspirations of early- and mid-career female orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons

Each award winner will serve as a podium speaker at AOFAS Annual Meeting 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and receive complimentary meeting registration, a ticket to attend Celebrate Vancouver, and a travel stipend.* The winners will also speak during the Women’s Leadership Reception at the meeting. 

You may nominate yourself or a colleague for the awards. Nominations are due Monday, January 18, 2021.

Start Your Nomination

* If AOFAS Annual Meeting 2021 is virtual, the award winners will receive complimentary registration and give virtual presentations.


If You Can See It, You Can Be It

Women in orthopaedics share how their mentors, family, and role models inspired and supported their careers.

Thank you to Treace Medical Concepts, Inc. for their support of this video.

The Women's Leadership Initiative is funded through individual and corporate gifts to the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation.

Give to the Women's Leadership Initiative

Women's Leadership Tribute Gifts

Thank you to the following individuals and companies for their contributions to the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation to support the Women's Leadership Initiative since it began in 2017 (updated December 31, 2020)

Stephanie P. Adam, DO
Su-Young Bae, MD, PhD
Judith F. Baumhauer, MD, MPH
Laura M. Bruse, MD
John T. Campbell, MD
Rebecca A. Cerrato, MD
Stephanie Chen, NP
Loretta B. Chou, MD
Natalie R. Danna, MD
Laura K. Dawson, DO
Lisa T. DeGnore, MD
Jessica Dornfeld
Patrick B. Ebeling, MD
Sandra A. Eisele, MD, MBA
Scott J. Ellis, MD
Shelly Encher
Emily L. Exten, MD
Alena Frey, CMP
Katherine Gavin, MD
Lauren E. Geaney, MD
Emily C. Harnden, MD
Jeannie Huh, MD
Casey J. Humbyrd, MD
In2Bones LLC
Susan N. Ishikawa, MD
Gillian E. Jackson, MBChB

A. Holly Johnson, MD
Julie M. Johnson, MD
Harold B. Kitaoka, MD
Melissa D. Koenig, MD
Thomas H. Lee, MD
Elaine M. Leighton, MPH, CAE
Margaret J. Lobo, MD
Pamela C. Luk, MD
Peter G. Mangone, MD
Elizabeth D. Martin, MD
Sara Lyn Miniaci-Coxhead, MD
Julie A. Neumann, MD
Hazel Oreluk, MA
Alexandra E. Page, MD
Christie Petrucci
Jon Simon
Syndie B. Singer, MD
Kelly C. Stéfani, MD, PhD
Krista Stewart 
Raymond J. Sullivan, MD
M. Chris Testerman, MD
Ruth L. Thomas, MD
J. Turner Vosseller, MD
James D. Walwark
Kathryn L. Williams, MD
Wright Medical Group N.V.

2020 Award Recipients

Career Impact Award
Naomi N. Shields, MD

Naomi Shields, MD

Naomi N. Shields, MD, of San Antonio, Texas, is a highly regarded orthopaedic surgeon and humanitarian. Dr. Shields served in the military as a general medical officer at Rhein Main AFB in Germany. Upon her return, she was the first woman in the orthopaedic surgery residency program at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in Texas and went on to complete a foot and ankle orthopaedic fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Shields is a role model in the orthopaedic community and continues to give back by participating in the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation's Overseas Outreach Project to Vietnam almost every year. In addition, she served as president of the Foundation, a member-at-large on both the AOFAS and AAOS Boards of Directors, and a member of several committees.


Career Development Award
Laura K. Dawson, DO

Laura K. Dawson, DO,

Laura K. Dawson, DO, exemplifies dedication, leadership, and strength. Dr. Dawson completed her orthopaedic surgery residency at Texas Tech University Health Service Center and a foot and ankle orthopaedic fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Currently, she serves as the United States Corps of Cadets Senior Medical Officer and an orthopaedic surgeon at Keller Army Community Hospital in West Point, New York. Prior to her career in the medical field, Dr. Dawson had more than 15 years of experience in the military and received five awards for exemplary service. In addition to serving on the AOFAS Research Committee, she is a member of the AAOS Limb Salvage Clinical Practice Guideline Team, the AOA Emerging Leaders Program, and the Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons.