Volume 8, No. 3: Section 2, Autumn 2006

Event Reports

Inspiring Mentors: The Changing Face of Medicine Exhibit

Primary web site for The Changing Face of Medicine Exhibit: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/index.html

Mentors facilitate growth and professional development. They emerge at different times, in different ways, and in different settings to guide, to challenge and to nurture a less experienced person. A mentor may guide, provide feedback, privileged information and support, and expand professional experiences and relationships of the novice in weekly or monthly meetings. Group mentors with a diversity of skills and experience may help at regular intervals to provide support, reframe perceptions, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. The distant-mentor who never interacts directly with a mentee may be a keynote speaker at a national meeting, or a historical leader from the pages of a biography whose stories target the questions or struggles of the listener or reader and point out potential paths toward fulfillment.

Historical mentors, national mentor-leaders, and local present-day mentors abound in the exhibition of American women physicians who tell their story in The Changing Face of Medicine Exhibit. This exhibit, which honors more than 330 such women physicians, is now traveling throughout the US. A must-see, it has hundreds of photographs, and short videos of stellar women physicians. Some of these exceptional figures include: Vivian W. Pinn, MD (pathologist and Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health); Tenley E. Albright, MD (surgeon and Olympic Figure skater), Donna M. Christian-Christensen, MD (family medicine physician and Congresswoman from the Virgin Islands); Nancy E. Jasso, MD (dermatologist and founder of the Tattoo Clinic for the removal of tattoos); and Nancy L. Snyderman, MD (surgeon and broadcast journalist). The stories of these women physicians are an antidote for professional frustration, burnout, and feeling unappreciated and hindered. Their stories provide lessons of courage and a template for other women to use as a model for their own life path. Above all, they and their stories are inspiring.

Many women in medicine were pioneers in their settings. Many had no mentors; they had to break through multiple barriers and discouragement to pursue their longing and dreams to fulfill their life purpose, the study of medicine. Many women physicians overcame restrictions by creating their own hospitals, schools and professional organizations. They changed policies, expanded public health care, and raised standards of care for all members of a family unit or the underserved. Health measures and programs often were developed in local communities and then expanded to the national level. The women who share their tales in The Changing Face of Medicine Exhibit excelled in science and medical practice. Slowly and gradually they gained recognition, built careers, were awarded grants, and were appointed to leadership positions. Activities in America in the 1950s and 1960s bringing space technology, civil rights, equal opportunity issues including women’s rights, and international conflict to the attention of the general public contributed greatly to the increase in opportunities for women and minorities to study and enter careers in medicine and science.

Though women have been healers, shamans, etc. throughout time and throughout the world, this exhibit highlights the stories of women who overcame hurdles to earn medical degrees in the US and make a difference in the lives of others. The journey begins with Elizabeth Blackwell, MD, the first woman physician to earn an MD in 1849. In frustration, she applied to Harvard University as E. Blackwell, trying once again to get accepted into medical school. This time she was successful. This first-name-initial technique continues to work for other women today. It was not until 1919, however, that Harvard University appointed its first woman faculty member, Alice Hamilton, MD.

There are so many other “first women” highlighted in the exhibit. In 1862 Marie E. Zakrzewska, MD, founded the New England Hospital for Women and Children, the first hospital in Boston and the second in the US to be founded and run by women. In 1901, surgeon Matilda A. Evans, MD, the first African American licensed physician in South Carolina, founded Taylor Lane Hospital. When a fire destroyed that hospital, she started a larger hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital and Training School for Nurses.

After starting up a women’s medical hospital in 1861 to provide clinical experiences for women medical students and a nursing school in 1863, Ann Preston, MD, became the first woman dean of the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia (1866).

Dr. Eliza Ann Grier was the first African American woman licensed physician in Georgia. In December 1890, Dr. Grier wrote to the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, "I have no money and no source from which to get it." She asked the dean if there was “any possible way for an emancipated slave to receive any help into so lofty a profession." She was admitted. To pay tuition, she alternated each year of study with a year of picking cotton, finally became a physician in 1897, when she returned to Atlanta to practice.

In 1902 Emily D. Barringer, MD, became the first woman medical resident and first ambulance physician at Gouverneur Hospital in New York City. Later in 1941, as President of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), she chaired a special AMWA committee that lobbied Congress for military (office) commissions for women physicians. In April 1943, the Sparkman Act provided such commissions, which carried the military benefits already available to men.

The first American woman to receive a Nobel Prize was Gerty Cori, MD, who received the Nobel Prize in 1947 along with her husband for work on the carbohydrate cycle in humans. The first African-American woman dean of an American medical school was Barbara Ross-Lee, MA, DO, appointed Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University in 1993.

The exhibition reveals accomplishments of courageous women that continue to the present day. The first woman director of the NIH (1991-1993) was cardiologist and health administrator Bernadine P. Healy, MD. Dr. Healy was President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross (1999-2001). Currently, she is the Director at the National City Corporation in Cleveland OH.

Nancy W. Dickey, MD, a family physician, became the first woman to serve as President of the American Medical Association (1998-1999). Currently she serves as President of the Health Science Center and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the Texas A & M System.

Advocates of change in the exhibit include persistent women such as Helen Rodriquez-Trias, MD, a vigorous supporter of reproductive rights and neonatal care, especially to the underserved. Another advocate of change is Laura Ann Williams, MD, the first American Indian woman physician faculty in the University of California system. Dr. Williams established and directs the Association of American Indian Physicians California Office, which developed the Native American Research Center for Community Health for urban American Indians. The Center serves people of the Juaneno-Acjachemen, Gabrielino-Tongva, and Chumash Nations, as well as the Navajo, Sioux, and Choctaw. In 1999, Dr. Williams received the American Cancer Society Primary Care Development Award. In 2000, she was named the Orange County Business Woman of the Year.

Other great women who are truly inspirational, to name just a few, are featured in the exhibit.

Current pioneers in addressing cancer are Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, with a holistic art-science approach who cofounded and serves as Medical Director of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, and Marilyn A. Roubidoux, MD, an academic radiologist with a passion to serve American Indians and Alaska Natives because her “ancestors and relatives had cancer” and she wants to “be helping all my relations.”

Pediatrician Mary Ellen Avery, MD, received the 1991 National Medal of Science Award for her work on the role of surface tension in respiratory distress syndrome. Her work in 1959 discovered premature newborns’ lack of surfactant, the foamy coating that helps lungs expand.

One of the noteworthy women practitioners is Rebekah May Wang-Cheng, MD, who transitioned from being a professor to being a “solo” community practitioner in Deer Park CA. She now focuses on teaching and empowering patients and nurses.

In 1978 Mary H. Roessel, MD, inspired by her shaman grandfather, became the first Navajo (Dine) from her community to attend medical school and the first woman Navajo psychiatrist in New Mexico’s Indian Health Service system.

Ruth L. Kirschstein, MD, as Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (1974-1993), was the first woman institute director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She led the search for a safer alternative to the Salk vaccine, and advocated the Sabin oral vaccine, which was then used worldwide. In 1971 she received the Department of Health, Education and Welfare's Superior Service Award for her promotion of the Sabin vaccine. In the 1980s, Dr. Kirschstein led the public health response to the emerging AIDS epidemic by organizing funding and mobilizing a team of NIH researchers to take on the task, despite strong opposition to spending money to investigate the disease and possible treatments.

Carol A. Aschenbrener, MD, was the first woman to chair the Iowa Medical Society Board, and the first woman to chair the National Board of Medical Examiners. Recently she was appointed as the Senior Vice President for Medical Education at the Association for American Medical Colleges (AAMC). She is a regular contributor of wisdom to SELAM News International.

Jeannette E. South-Paul, MD, received the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Distinguished Service Award. She is the first woman and African American to serve as Chair (Family Medicine) at the University of Pittsburgh.

Susan M. Love, MD, cofounded the National Breast Cancer Coalition and coauthored with Karen Lindsey two outstanding books, Dr. Susan Love’s Menopause and Hormone Book (1993) and Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, 4th edition (2005).

Sharon M. Malotte, MD, the first native Nevadan to become a physician, is a member of the TeMoak Band of Western Shoshones of the South Fork Indian Reservation. She started her undergraduate studies at the University of Nevada-Reno, completed pre-medicine courses at the University of North Dakota-Grand Forks, and earned her BS in human biology at Stanford University. In 1989, she finished medical school at the University of North Dakota and served as an internal medicine resident at the University of Nevada-Reno and the University of San Francisco-Fresno. After serving at the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Health Clinic in Schurz NV, and a rural Indian Health Service clinic and urban clinic in California, she moved back to Nevada in 1998 to take up the post of 'Rite of Passage Medical Consultant' at an adolescent treatment facility. Currently an internist and emergency staff physician at the Battle Mountain General Hospital (NV), she is also medical director of the Long Term Care Facility there. Since 2001, she has volunteered as the Lander County Health Officer.

Access to Traveling Exhibits
The traveling exhibit is based upon a major display established during 2003-2005 at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda MD. In January 2006 two itinerant exhibits from that display started 6-week visits to academic and community libraries throughout the US. The travel schedule (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/index.html) shows bookings through November 2010.

The exhibit celebrates American women physicians from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and continues to add to its repertoire stories of extraordinary women physicians. Visitors to the web site may add their stories to “Share Your Story.”

Members of Congress continue to nominate Local Legends to the exhibit. Local Legends are outstanding local women physicians who have made significant contributions in any of the following categories:
1. Public health and/or military service
2. Health policy making
3. Research and education or
4. Patient care.

The growing list of Local Legends is available at www.nlm.nih.gov/locallegends.

The History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda MD, and the Public Programs office of the American Library Association in Chicago IL organized the traveling exhibits. The NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health worked with the National Library of Medicine to make the traveling exhibits possible. Additional support came from the American Medical Women’s Association. Libraries throughout the US submitted proposals with commitments for special showings and programs for the privilege of housing the exhibit for six weeks.

The Changing Face of Medicine Exhibit at University of Florida
Recently, the University of Florida Health Science Center Libraries and the UF Office of the Senior Vice President of Health Affairs celebrated women in all areas of health science and health care with the exhibit (August 23–October 6, 2006) and featured programs. One series of programs and receptions featured speakers Byllye Avery, MEd, PhD, the founder of the National Black Women’s Health Project (now known as the Black Women’s Health Imperative) and Betsy Randall David, RN, PhD, cofounder of Gainesville Women’s Health Center, designer of the Pelvic Teaching Program, in an overview of the Women’s Health Movement from 1920–2006.

A special lecture on the controversial physician “...Dr. Mary Dixon-Jones on trial, 1892” was provided by Regina Morantz-Sanchez, PhD, professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan. Dr. Morantz-Sanchez described Dr. Dixon-Jones as a woman physician who ignored the gender scripts of her day (1880s and 1890s), became a surgeon and a pathologist, lectured on surgical procedures and women’s health, published 45 papers in Europe and the US, and won a libel case against The Eagle, a New York City newspaper that portrayed her as having “resorted to a surgeon’s knife,” having “monetary greed,” wanting “samples for laboratory research or to deprive women of their childbearing ability,” and being a “difficult woman” because, when shown a tissue specimen during her libel trial, “she reached into her purse….(for) pincers….took up the specimen to show the jury” and discussed the specimen, thus reinforcing her unfeminine behavior. As a result of Dr. Morantz-Sanchez’s research, Dr. Dixon-Jones was included as a significant leader in the exhibit, accessible through the web site.

The Changing Face of Medicine Exhibit of real women who faced hurdles, some with supportive families and communities, many with traditions and environments that contested their dreams, provides an impressive lineage and wide range of human stories of passion, caring, and commitment to improve the lives and health of people. As more faces of inspiring women are nominated and added to the exhibit, the possibilities for advancing science, pushing discoveries for health care and cure and educating the young generations of women will impact change in the lives of so many people within and outside the borders of the US. In a way The Changing Face of Medicine Exhibit is a change agent, providing mentorship and inspiration to all it touches.

Leilani Doty, PhD
University of Florida
© SELAM International

ELAM 2005-2006 REPORT
Highlights of the Last Week of Class

In the previous issue of SELAM News International (June 2006, Vol. 8, No. 2), our Learning Community (Archigia Divas) shared “Lessons Learned from ELAM (So Far),” reflecting the collective wisdom of the class, and “What Is to Be Done,” namely, ways to sustain ongoing learning from the fellowship. That theme-based summary was a product of a class discussion, developed early in the 15-month Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Fellowship. After its initial compilation, we circulated the summary for additional comments from the entire ELAM Class. This plus impressions of our final week of ELAM Class in mid-April 2006 follows.

Lessons Learned from ELAM and What Is to Be Done
The Big Picture:
• Creation of a foundation for broader institutional outlook and leadership opportunities
• Opportunity to see deans from around the country interact with ELAM Fellows and with each other and to compare skill levels and capabilities of both fellows and deans
• It may be hard to know the benefits of the program until long after the event.

• Chance to reconnect with, learn from, and build relationships with all of the ELAM Fellows face-to-face, especially within each Learning Community.
o Informative, stimulating group discussions
o A sense of collective wisdom, wide perspectives and a total, supportive “safety net”
• Time to interact with one’s dean for an extended period of time
o The opportunity to have a meaningful exchange with deans and to learn others’ visions regarding the future of women and medical education

Mentoring (Teaching and Learning):
• Career coaching sessions
• Frank discussion of diversity/racism (Brown-eyes/Blue-eyes discussion; experiencing how a remark can blossom into racially-charged implications)
• Session on interviewing, preparing a CV and executive summary, and making legislative connections was useful on a pragmatic level.
• The Meet-the-Leaders session with Darrel Kirch worked well.

• Fundraising session

Work/Life Balance:
• Spring trees/flowers and daffodil hill
• Gershwin talk and recital
• Sense of trust and support of the ELAM Fellows

Opportunities and Recommendations for Improving the Final Session
• The final week of the Fellowship was somewhat “learning community-centric.” While enjoyable, this diminished contact with other ELAM Fellows. Recommendation: increase time for contact with other Fellows.

Mentoring (Teaching and Learning):
• Didactic sessions were often less valuable than moderated class discussions. Recommendation: increase moderated class discussion formats.
• The Meet-the-Leaders session format did not work especially well.
• SELAM discussion groups were inexpertly facilitated. Recommendation: more direction for facilitators and strategies to strengthen the discussions.
• Sessions on diversity would benefit from increased focus, e.g., faculty issues, student issues, and development of cultural competency.

• Better feedback on action projects. Verbal presentations would have been interesting and inspiring. Recommendation: structure better group feedback during these sessions.

Work/Life Balance:
• This could be a more central theme for this group.
• There was inadequate time for out-of-session work and play. Recommendation:
o Unstructured time
o Physical exercise
o Reflection

Kathryn Reed, MD
University of Arizona

Submitted on behalf of the Archigia Divas:
Mary Beckerle, PhD
University of Utah
Kathryn Reed, MD
University of Arizona
Mary-Ann Shafer, MD
University of California, San Francisco
Rosalyn Scott, MD
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Dena Towner, MD
University of California, Davis
Hannah Valantine, MD
Stanford University
Nancy Zahniser, PhD
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

© SELAM International

Summary of the SELAM International Board Retreat

• What is the purpose of SELAM going forward?
• How do we go beyond its original mission?
• What is unique about SELAM? What kinds of things does the organization do now?
• Are there things SELAM could do better?

These were some of the questions addressed at the most recent SELAM International Board retreat held in Chicago IL, July 15–16, 2006. SELAM President Chris Abrass organized the retreat, and Dave Danner facilitated it. (Dave is a longtime ELAM faculty and Alliance member and currently with Organizational Effectiveness Partners.) Participants included Board members Lindsey Grossman, Kathleen Kim, Elisa-beth Kunkel, Joan Lakoski, Karen Novielli, Rosalyn Richman, Mary Lou Voytko, and Pamela Zarkowski; SELAM Administrator Victoria Odhner; and Sally Rosen, ELAM 2006 Senior Scholar and invited guest.

Founded in 1997, SELAM’s original goals were to sustain the gains of the ELAM program and to de-velop an organization that would support ELAM. The organization has grown to 274 members, 30% of whom are non-ELAM graduates. Retreat participants acknowledged that, after 10 years, SELAM has an expanded membership with different goals and needs. The retreat’s main objective was to plan for the next 10 years. Specifically, the objective was to develop a long-term vision for SELAM and to set priori-ties to develop that vision.

The group discussed the current functions of SELAM and divided them into three top categories: net-working, support, and skill building. Current networking activities occur through the annual SELAM Continuing Education meeting in April, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) workshop (co-sponsored with AAMC Women in Medicine), and receptions at annual meetings of the AAMC and American Dental Education Association (ADEA). Possible future activities would be to enhance web resources for members; establish a database for networking; and develop regional networking opportunities. SELAM acknowledges that women with high aspirations need support. SELAM engages persons from all levels in meaningful ways, and helps women to advance and maintain those levels successfully.

New support activities would include customized coaching or mentoring, establishing a Speakers’ Bureau, fundraising for scholarships to attend SELAM CE meetings, and supporting research on women in leadership positions. Current skill building activities include professional development opportunities with the unofficial motto of “keep coming back to SELAM and build on what you learned.” Future skill building activities would be to develop a Harvard Business Review-type publication, and sponsor scholarly articles or a book.

Participants discussed many ideas and generated a plan for the next steps. Each participant volunteered for a work group to develop the SELAM vision. One group will develop definitions for the mission, membership, and value of the organization. Another group will define and set up objectives for networking, support, and skill building. Other groups will develop plans to celebrate SELAM’s 10-year anniversary, refine the infrastructure, and improve our marketing.

Part II of the retreat will occur at the AAMC meeting in Seattle WA (October 27-November 1, 2006). Next year’s retreat is tentatively scheduled for June 23-24, 2007. If you’re interested in joining one of the work groups or attending next year’s retreat, please contact Chris Abrass ([email protected]) or Pam Zarkowski ([email protected]).

Kathleen Kim, MD, MPH

© SELAM International