September 06, 2023

Women in Medicine month, Part 1: Moving forward together

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Women in Medicine 3Women in Medicine Month, observed throughout September, serves as a timely reminder of the invaluable contributions that women physicians, biomedical scientists, educators, and health care professionals have made to the field of medicine.

The Heersink School of Medicine, along with the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, is excited to celebrate the groundbreaking accomplishments of women health care professionals this month. From Melson Barfield-Carter, M.D., who became the first chair of the UAB Department of Radiology in 1945, to contemporary figures like Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., who will succeed national figure and leader Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., as the director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases this fall, women have played pivotal roles in medical research, patient care, education, and leadership positions—locally and internationally.

The significance of celebration

This year’s month-long observance theme is “Moving forward together.” Telling our health care professionals’ stories, including those of women in medicine, fuels inspiration and innovation in future health care professionals. Seeing accomplished women and hearing the stories of their journeys and why they chose medical careers adds to the greater mission of moving medicine forward together.

Recognizing Women in Medicine month underscores the importance of several perspectives in medical research, diagnosis, and treatment plans. As an institution, we work daily to provide the best quality of care and outcomes for our patients. Women in medicine working at all levels at Heersink is crucial to being able to accomplish this.

From breaking barriers to excelling and shaping the health care landscape in every corner of science and medicine, uplifting women’s contributions is imperative.

Here is a list of a few stories we have published recently showcasing our women in medicine at UAB.

Colón-López, Ph.D., first postdoctoral scholar in Department of Medical Education’s history, receives a MERIT award from NIH/NIGMS
Hurst named 2023 Brewer-Heslin Award winner
Locke and team make another xenotransplant research breakthrough
Porrett and team celebrate birth of healthy baby by first uterus transplant recipient
Two female UAB executives recognized for their leadership in health care

Honoring Women in Medicine

Heersink School of Medicine, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, and key partners value and encourage programs that recognize and support women in their crucial contributions to medicine.

UAB’s AMWA chapter supports women in medicine and biomedical science and aspiring female health care and research professionals. The local AMWA chapter meets regularly with speaker sessions and discussions, and any role within Heersink School of Medicine is welcome to join the community independent of gender. AMWA's long-time president, Marisa Marques, M.D., recently retired, and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion is excited to announce the next president the last week of September.

Another unique offering provided by the Office for Diversity and Inclusion is Transforming Success, a 3-month small-group coaching workshop for new and emerging women faculty at Heersink. Over 100 women have completed this popular program, which addresses recurring challenges that professionals face that can inhibit their development as leaders and contribute to dissatisfaction with their careers and their lives.

To recognize the amazing accomplishments and achievements of women in medicine, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion hosts a program and reception that recognizes and celebrates the women faculty promoted to associate professor and professor each year. The Heersink School of Medicine’s leadership, including the department chairs, join the Office for Diversity and Inclusion in congratulating them in the remarkable work they’ve performed to reach this new milestone in their careers.

Stay tuned for a Q&A with Heersink’s women chairs

This month, we sat down to talk to five women who serve as department chairs to discuss their journey of moving medicine forward, and throughout September, we will highlight these women.

Women in Medicine Month is a vital observance that shines a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of female healthcare professionals. By celebrating their accomplishments, we can honor the past, empower the present, and inspire future generations of women in medicine. Check out more ways to celebrate with the resources by the American Medical Association.