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2020 Group on Women in Medicine and Science Leadership Award Winners

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Join us in honoring our award recipients during the GWIMS Virtual Celebration and Business Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET.

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Leadership Award for an Individual

Nancy D. Spector, MD

Nancy D. Spector, MD is a Professor of Pediatrics and serves in dual roles at the Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM): as Executive Director of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM) program, a part-time year long, national leadership fellowship program for women in academic medicine, dentistry, public health, and pharmacy, and as Associate Dean of Faculty Development. Known for her leadership abilities and her facilitation skills, Dr. Spector is sought after as a speaker and a visiting professor. Her contributions to graduate medical education and academic medicine are in leadership skills development, professional development, gender equity, mentoring and sponsorship, and curriculum development and implementation. Dr. Spector has received numerous awards for teaching, mentoring and innovation, including the Robert S. Holm Award for her extraordinary contribution in pediatric program director leadership and mentorship from the Association of Pediatric Program Directors, the Elias Abrutyn Mentoring Award from Drexel University College of Medicine, the Miller Sarkin Mentoring Award from the Academic Pediatric Association, and the John M Eisenberg Award from the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission for the I-PASS Handoff Program. In the past year, she has been invited to join a number of leadership efforts at organizations including the Society of Hospital Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Women Leaders in Global Health conferences. In addition to her roles at DUCOM, she has been the educational leader of the I-PASS Handoff Study Group, and serves as the Chair of the I-PASS Executive Council, and is a co-founder of the I-PASS Safety Institute.

Emerging Leadership Award for an Individual

Heather Christensen, PhD

Heather Christensen, PhD is an Assistant Professor-Educator in the Department of Medical Education at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (UCCOM), where she is a highly effective and beloved educator of both medical and graduate students.  Her leadership has been impactful and she has distinguished herself in many areas, most notably in her leadership and advocacy for advancing women in academic medicine. The work Dr. Christensen does to promote equity in this field resounds in her involvement at UCCOM (with faculty groups,  student organizations, and research) and certainly extends beyond the walls of the institution. As the current co-president for the WIMS group at her institution, she has initiated data collection to measure the success of the group. She led an initiative in which she gathered resources from within WIMS and personally reached out to institutions across the nation in order to learn about how their programs and offices have succeeded in the advancement of women in academic medicine. Coupled with her role as the institutional liaison for gender equity to the AAMC, this work will go beyond growing the WIMS organization; it will help move the entire institution toward gender equity, as she makes recommendations to the Dean’s office on such issues. On an international level, Dr. Christensen founded a subcommittee within the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) to assess and address equity in this established organization. In September, 2019 she assembled a team of seven faculty to form a new group called “Encouraging Growth and Advocacy in Gaining Equity” (EnGAGE) that focuses on the need for programming related to equity, diversity, and inclusion amongst a growing body of medical educators.   

Leadership Award for an Organization

Joint Committee on the Status of Women/Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Established in 1973, the JCSW represents a broad and inclusive constituency of faculty, staff, fellows, residents, and students across Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Harvard-affiliated hospitals and institutions. Situated within the HMS Office for Faculty Affairs, the JCSW provides a centralized infrastructure, staffing, and a budget to undergird community building and programmatic support for women across this network. As an inclusive organization, to date, JCSW’s elected 40 faculty and 22 staff leaders are invited to engage with the Dean and people across our community often early in their careers. The JCSW has made several recommendations over the years that have led to an improved trajectory for women’s careers. At its founding, the JCSW recommended that women serve on all faculty search committees and 10 years later released an analysis of women and minorities advancement through the ranks at HMS.  In 1998, the creation of the Joseph B. Martin Dean’s Leadership Awards for the Advancement of Women brought the efforts of those dedicated to improving women’s career advancement to the forefront. In 2019, the Shirley Driscoll Leadership Award for the Enhancement of Women’s Careers was established in order to honor a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions in the careers of women but who may not be in a position to promote, recruit and retain faculty.  Other notable achievements of JCSW include the Office for the Work and Family, Ombuds Office, Staff Inclusion and JCSW committees which all contribute to the inequity of women in the workforce.

Emerging Leadership Award for an Organization

University of Minnesota Medical School’s Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS)

The University of Minnesota Medical School’s Center for Women in Medicine and Science was established in 2018 under the Office of Faculty Affairs.  Since its inaugural year, the center has served 3,700 faculty across 27 departments and executed an 18-month strategic plan addressing gender equity issues in the UMN medical school.  CWIMS is an emerging organizational leader committed to improving the educational and professional environment for sustained partnerships and promotion of women as leaders in academic medicine and science. Under the executive leadership of Dr. Jerica Berge, the CWIMS utilized a Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) framework in executing organizational strategies to build a shared vision of gender equity across sectors of the University. Four action groups were created to carry out the CWIMS gender equity initiatives including: (1) Retention and Recruitment; (2) Mentoring; (3) Salary, Resource, Leadership Equity and (4) Strategic Collbaborations and Communication. The CBPR framework used by the CWIMS action groups combines evidence-based practices and building partnerships/relationships with key stakeholders to carry out the work. This is evident through the growing list of initiatives spearheaded by CWIMS action groups selected for dissemination or leading to action. For example, CWIMS has created a gender equity dashboard used for tracking key gender equity metrics that the Dean and Department Chairs see regularly to ensure progress is being made.  CWIMS also provides leadership and facilitation of critical conversations to systematically address and ensure the equitable distribution of salary, resources and strategic leadership opportunities across faculty. CWIMS has also developed resources and holds trainings to promote leadership and professional development for faculty. The University of Minnesota Medical School aims to strengthen and sustain an inclusive culture that promotes the life-long career development of faculty, the development of effective leaders and the vitality of a diverse faculty body and CWIMS is a key partner in carrying out this aim.

View past winners

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