March 30, 2021

A Special Dean's Message: Celebrating the accomplishments of women and advocating for gender equity

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Throughout the month of March, we are given the opportunity to celebrate the selfless contributions of women across the world. During Women’s History Month, our nation observes the vast achievements of women by celebrating women in education, medicine, technology, sports, politics, administration, engineering, communications, and so much more.

On UAB’s campus, the extraordinary women across all of our mission areas have contributed to progressive strides and history-making innovation.

There was a time when women weren’t chairs of an esteemed department or running an internationally recognized research laboratory. It wasn’t all that long ago when the first woman graduated with her medical degree from our institution. In fact, the year was 1946. This June, we celebrate with the 82 women who will receive their medical degrees.

Now, women are an integral part of School of Medicine leadership, spanning all areas of our campus and our mission, including the school’s leadership team. Our female chairs are a critical catalyst to innovation on campus. We need more of them. We need their drive, their motivation, and their compassion.

In June, Marie-Carmelle Elie, M.D., will join our faculty as the first Black/African American woman to be named a permanent chair of an academic emergency medicine department at a major American medical school. Boundaries like these need to continue to be pushed. Glass ceilings need to be shattered. Barriers to equity need to be conquered.

Women are increasingly being represented at the highest levels of medicine, but I know there is more work to be done. Although women have made significant gains in the health care field, a substantial gender gap persists, amongst other gender-driven obstacles. Please know the School of Medicine is committed to changing these inequalities.

To those women who are juggling a work and home life balance, especially in the midst of a pandemic, I applaud you. To the women who came before all of us to pave the way for the leaders and visionaries we have today, I thank you.

Women’s History Month is a commitment to celebrating and honoring women who have shaped our educational and medical landscape, but let us also use this momentous month as an opportunity to commit ourselves to celebrating the achievements of women every day of the year.