American Medical Women’s Association Honors Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, Dr. Felicia Knaul

Two University of Miami leaders were honored with “Local Hero” awards from the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) on Friday, March 11.

Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Dean of the Miller School, received the award for his longstanding commitment to creating career opportunities for women in medicine, and Felicia Knaul, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences and Director of the Miami Institute for the Americas, was recognized for championing the health of women and their families.

More than 350 physicians and researchers attended AMWA’s 101st annual meeting March 10-12 at the Hilton Miami Airport. “We deeply appreciate the support our annual meeting has received from the University of Miami, and the leadership of Dean Goldschmidt,” said AMWA president Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, M.D.

Before the awards ceremony, Rohr-Kirchgraber introduced seven former AMWA presidents, including Farzanna Haffizulla, M.D., a member of the Miller School Class of 2000, who also served as the South Florida AMWA branch president and one of its founding officers.

In his talk, Goldschmidt emphasized the importance of recruiting, educating and training women physicians. “In my view, medicine in the U.S. and the world needs to have as many women as men as physicians and leaders,” he said. “I know that everyone at the Miller School shares my deep commitment to advancing women’s health and educating the next generation of women physicians.”

Goldschmidt noted that two of the school’s largest departments are chaired by women: Omaida C. Velazquez, M.D., is Chair of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, and Judith Schaechter, M.D., M.B.A., is Chair of Pediatrics. He added that Hilit Mechaber, M.D., Associate Dean for Student Services, was giving a presentation on the topic, “Work-Life Balance in Medicine: Can We Get There?” at the AMWA meeting.

“I am committed to making sure that the answer to that question is yes,” he said.

In her talk, Knaul focused on the importance of overcoming gender barriers in the delivery of health care.

“Women provide the majority of paid and unpaid health care around the world,” said Knaul, an international health economist, expert in Latin American health systems, and the wife of University of Miami President Julio Frenk.

Knaul was a member of the 2015 Lancet Commission on Women and Health, which estimated the value of women’s contributions to health care at $3.1 trillion.

“That’s an understatement of the real value, since women typically are paid 20 to 30 percent less than men in similar positions,” she said. “We need to change that structure so that men and women can participate in family life while being rewarded equally for their work, and the Miller School is committed to that cause.”

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