September is Women in Medicine month. The Archives for Women in Medicine celebrated by featuring women leaders in medicine on our Twitter account with the hashtag #WomeninMedicine. Joan Ilacqua, Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine, also attended Women in Medicine month events in the Longwood community and beyond.
Harvard Medical School’s Joint Committee on the Status of Women (JCSW) celebrated Women in Medicine month by holding a panel of women leaders in medicine on September 17, 2015. Panelists included Nancy Tarbell, Dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs and the C.C. Wang Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School (the finding aid for Dr. Tarbell’s papers is available here), Joan Brugge, Louise Foote Pfeiffer Professor of Cell Biology, Chair of the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard, and Katrina A. Armstrong, Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief of Massachusetts General Hospital. Each shared the stories of their careers and the challenges of being a woman and a leader in medicine, as well as how they’ve tried to strike a balance between work and life. The JCSW facilitated a conversation between the panelists and audience that highlighted the importance of finding mentors and other supporters, and the ability to self-advocate to advance one’s career in academic medicine.
The Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine held its 16th Annual Alma Dea Morani, M.D. Renaissance Woman Award ceremony in New York City on September 24, 2015. The Foundation celebrated Mary-Claire King, PhD, American Cancer Research Professor of Genetics and Medicine (Medical Genetics) at the University of Washington. The Renaissance Woman award recognizes an outstanding woman physician or scientist who has demonstrated excellence and service in her field. Dr. King, who is still working, has had an incredible scientific career that includes discovering that humans and chimpanzees share 99% of the same genetics, discovering the breast cancer gene BRCA1, and creating genetic tests to identify kidnapped grandchildren of the Argentinian Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. At the award ceremony, Dr. King spoke candidly about her scientific career and bias against women in the workplace. The ceremony was also an opportunity to speak with like-minded people about the importance of women in medicine and the history of women in medicine, including former Alma Dei Morani Award winners Carol C. Nadelson and Rita Charon.
The Archives for Women in Medicine and the Foundation have been partners for several years, and supporting the Foundation at its Awards ceremony was an honor. The Center for the History of Medicine is the repository for the Foundation’s oral history collection , and the Foundation sponsors a yearly fellowship at the Countway Library.
The archivist also attended the 4th annual Brigham and Women’s Hospital Women in Medicine and Science Symposium on September 28, 2015. The symposium celebrated the achievements of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s women faculty and trainees, and featured a keynote shared by two inspirational women leaders in medicine: Paula A. Johnson, Executive Director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology, Chief of the Division of Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Ingrid T. Katz, Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an associate physician in the Division of Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a research scientist at the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Faculty Chair of Harvard Medical School’s Joint Committee on the Status of Women. Four oral presentations, ranging in topics from research in endocrinology to pulmonology and pathology, were given, and a poster session featuring the research of six women was held. The full program and photographs of the symposium are available here.
September’s events highlight the importance and innovation of women leaders in medicine, celebrate the achievements of women in medicine and science, and inspire women to become leaders in medicine and science. The Archives for Women in Medicine actively acquires, preserves, promotes, and provides access to the professional and personal records of outstanding women leaders, and celebrates women in medicine year round.