women in high places

Women in High Places is a global network of women leaders in medicine, academic research, government, industry, and consumer or patient advocacy, with a common interest in special diseases. 

Created in 2000 by a group of nine leading women in medicine and industry, WIHP strives for a simple goal: to help the very top women connect with their peers to share, learn from, and support each other. Meetings are organized approximately every three years (each meeting focusing on a different disease or topic). Our next focus will be on identifying and recognizing extraordinary women contributing to the advancement of healthcare in Massachusetts.

Leaders create leaders. 

Through WIHP Internship Awards, WIHP also supports the development of medical mentorship, to encourage and aid young people who show strong leadership potential in their pursuit of a career in academic medicine, research, and related sciences. The awardees are matched to scientific and medical thought leaders and institutions in their fields of interest, who then mentor their chosen interns on an important research project.

who is in wihp?

By invitation only, WIHP is comprised of Chiefs of Medicine, CEOs, and other “C’s” (CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs, etc.), as well as other women who represent the highest-ranking females in their organizations. Members in WIHP mainly come from:

  • Renowned medical research and teaching-based hospitals
  • Government agencies involved in healthcare, as well as payers
  • Major pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and diagnostic companies
  • Leaders of disease advocacy organizations
  • Women leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Others who support the health care sector.

All members support WIHP through their attendance at meetings, sponsorship of awards, and other activities. WIHP is organized and maintained by Innovara, Inc. strictly as a non-commercial program. 100% of the funds raised are used to pay for WIHP meetings and WIHP internships.

why is there a focus on women at the top?

Because there needs to be. Innovara and other organizations such as Catalyst, Deloitte, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Forbes, Scrip, Society for Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (SELAM), the AMA, the US Department of Labor, the WHO, the UN, and ministers of health around the world have collectively documented that women are still a long way from achieving parity in leadership in health care fields.

For example, as of 2015, out of almost 1000 health care companies and 200 leading medical schools and teaching hospitals analyzed by Innovara:

  • Between 50 – 70% of entry level positions in the health care industry, including medicine, are filled by women, but fewer than 15% of the top five levels of any health care organization are headed by women and in medical research and teaching based hospitals, fewer than 10%.
  • Out of the Fortune 100 companies, 8 have female CEOs.
  • Of the 20 top-paid CEOs in the health care industry, only one is a woman.
  • Of the 25 top-grossing nonprofit and research hospitals, only 4 have female CEOs.
    Statistics outside of USA are usually significantly worse.

can men participate in wihp?

At least one person who is male may present at each WIHP meeting. 

WIHP mentors are often male faculty members (as they typically predominate global medical or thought leadership).

when do wihp members meet?

Women in High Places meetings are organized whenever and wherever a forum of at least 10% of the membership is interested to meet, approximately every three years. WIHP meetings usually are held at or near major medical centers of excellence.

how does one join women in high places?

You may inquire by emailing René Meade. You will then be contacted by Innovara to see if WIHP is appropriate for you. There is no membership fee, only possible registration fees to attend a meeting or support WIHP events or internship awards.

Innovara recommends that you also join the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association if you are from an industry in the USA. If you are a leader in academic medicine or research, Innovara recommends that you also join SELAM.

how can i get a list of other wihp members?

You can’t. The list is maintained by Innovara, but is not generally available – even to other WIHP members. However, a list of institutions and companies represented by WIHP membership is available to WIHP members. If any WIHP member needs help locating another WIHP member or needs help to be networked with a WIHP member with specific expertise or background, she may contact Innovara for assistance. This is a courtesy service and may not be used for promotional services. Incidental charges may apply.

what are women in high places internship awards?

These prestigious awards fund research-based internships for undergraduate or soon-to-be graduate female students at medical centers of academic and research excellence. WIHP Interns are selected by the institutions and nominated by faculty who will be their mentors, based upon both academic performance and other demonstrations of leadership qualities of the students. All WIHP members are encouraged to sponsor WIHP Internship Awards. WIHP sponsors are encouraged to make at least a three-year commitment to funding to ensure continuity of the award.

who receives wihp internship awards?

Faculty whose work in specific fields has been recognized nationally and globally are qualified to receive WIHP Internship awards. This is typically a professor who is renowned in his/her field, is actively engaged in research, and is eager to be the mentor to the chosen intern.

Institutions previously nominated for and/or accepting WIHP awards include:

  • Amherst College
  • Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Dana Farber Cancer Center
  • Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Smith College
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota Diabetes Institute
  • Yale University School of Medicine


We welcome any support for Women in High Places leadership meetings and to make WIHP Internship Awards available each year. Any person, company, or organization can sponsor or co-sponsor a meeting or award. There is a waiting list of faculty and institutions that would like to receive awards for qualified mentees. If you wish, you may request an award to go to a specific research field and/or institution. in collaboration with both sending and receiving institutions, Innovara will identify leaders who are potential mentors.


Institutions and faculty members interested in receiving WIHP Internship Awards should contact Innovara directly. (email: innovara@innovara.com)

how can i nominate an intern for a wihp award?

It is up to the institution and faculty members to determine the designee of the Women in High Places Internship Award. Individuals cannot directly request to receive an award.

how can i receive more information on wihp?

WIHP™ and Women in High Places™ are trademarks and intellectual property of Innovara, Inc. All rights reserved, 2000–2018.

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