ELAM Fellows Discuss Women in Science and Medicine

Six of the nation’s most successful women faculty gathered at the Miller School last month to share enlightening and uplifting stories of the varied paths that propelled each of them to the heights of scientific research and administration, as well as their views on the current status of women in science and medicine.

The faculty members from Vanderbilt University, Wayne State University, University of Texas, University of North Carolina and Meharry Medical College spoke on a panel on January 26 at the invitation of Sylvia Daunert, Ph.D., Pharm.D., professor and Lucille P. Markey Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Miller School, who moderated the discussion.

Daunert and the panelists are all current fellows of Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM), a core program of the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. The one-year program provides women extensive coaching, networking and mentoring opportunities aimed at expanding the national pool of qualified women candidates for leadership in academic medicine, dentistry and public health. Nearly 700 senior women leaders have participated in the program since 1995. Twenty-five percent of the women in executive positions in academic medicine and dentistry are ELAM alumnae.

In addition to presenting “Celebrating You! Women Leaders in Science and Medicine” to a room of students and faculty, the panelists interviewed Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., as part of their fellowship training. Dr. Goldschmidt discussed his vision regarding the future of academic medicine and the leadership opportunities that it holds for women. They also met with one of the most notable women in academia, UM President Donna E. Shalala, who graciously shared her experiences and gave career advice to the ELAM fellows.

Daunert said she organized the forum to open a dialogue within the University of Miami community about barriers that impede the advancement of women to leadership positions in medicine and science.

“Our students – male and female – need to have a forum to discuss career planning and advancement,” said Daunert. “ELAM is an incredible program that provides women leaders a truly unique training experience. The network and support we provide for each other is invaluable, and the connections we made will last a lifetime.”

Joining Daunert on the panel were Z. Leah Harris, M.D., vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics and medical director of the Vanderbilt Fellowship in Inter-professional Learning at Vanderbilt University; Tsveti Markova, M.D., associate dean of Graduate Medical Education at Wayne State University; Nancy E. Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., the Irene and Robert Alan Briggaman Distinguished Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of North Carolina; Joan Nichols, Ph.D., associate professor of internal medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and associate director for research and operations at Galveston National Biocontainment Laboratory, University of Texas Medical Branch; and Marquetta L. Faulkner, M.D., M.B.A., the Joy McCann Endowed Professor of Medicine, associate dean of Graduate Medicine Education, and Designated Institutional Official at Meharry Medical College.

In addition to Daunert, the Miller School has sponsored four other women for the highly competitive ELAM program. They are Anne E. Burdick, M.D., M.P.H., professor of dermatology and associate dean for telehealth and clinical outreach (Class of 2003); Diana D. Cardenas, M.D., M.H.A., professor and chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine (Class of 2008); Norma Kenyon, Ph.D., Martin Kleiman Professor of Surgery, Microbiology and Immunology and Biomedical Engineering, executive director of the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research, and senior associate dean for translational research (Class of 2010); and Omaida Velazquez, M.D., professor of surgery, chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery and David Kimmelman Endowed Chair in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery (Class of 2011). Daunert’s class will graduate in April.

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