In 2015, several women of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), including Dr.Fatima Fahs and Dr. Karen Poirier-Brode, decided to introduce arts to the realm of medicine and medical training. They created Studio AMWA, a committee dedicated to celebrating women physicians and medical students in the arts. With it started a residency program to illuminate the capacity of arts to impact medicine. The first resident-artist was Dr. Kathryn Ko, an Attending Neurosurgeon at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn New York and a multi media artist. The residency selected Aseemkala’s Shilpa Darivemula as the second recipient for the 2016-2017 residency.
Shilpa created three dance pieces during the course of her residency with AMWA. During her time as AMWA’s Artist-in-Residence, she published an article on using art in waiting rooms to decrease wait time perception, performed at the International Human Rights Arts Festival in NYC, and was selected to perform at the Fertile Ground Showcase. Shilpa collaborated with the Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer (GIAHC) to create a dance piece promoting cervical cancer screening which was shared by Dr. Shobha Krishnan at the 31st International Papilloma Virus Conference. Shilpa created the White Coat dance piece and directed the White Coat project with Studio AMWA as student chair of Studio AMWA to explore the meaning of being a physician. She also created Sati’s Surgery based on an experience as a third year student starting on her surgical rotation. Shilpa continues as Founder of the Aseemkala Initiative, a project aimed at transforming medicine through traditional dance. Shilpa plans to continue melding traditional dance, indigenous arts, and medicine to improve women’s healthcare as an OB/GYN.