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GWIMS honors women faculty achievements with new awards

Published on Monday, June 26, 2017

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

Honoring women who have forged new paths at the University of Mississippi Medical Center while encouraging the next generation, the Group on Women in Medicine and Science held its first awards program Tuesday.

Presenting the inaugural Helen B. Barnes, M.D. Diversity and Inclusion Award to Dr. Helen Barnes, associate professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology, and the LouAnn Woodward, M.D. Authentic Leadership Award to Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, GWIMS also presented honors to scientists and doctors in the early and middle stages of their careers.

“Our accomplishments,” said Woodward, “are because of those who have gone before us, and it is our responsibility to reach back and bring others along with us.”

Barnes returned to Mississippi to provide care in the Delta after earning her medical degree in 1958 from Howard University. In 1969, she joined the faculty at UMMC and was instrumental in founding UMMC's Primary Care Clinic for Women at the Jackson Medical Mall. “Dr. Helen Barnes is one of our living legends,” said Woodward.

The award in Barnes' name acknowledges the contributions and accomplishments of women faculty who uphold the ideals of diversity and inclusion in academic health care education. The Woodward award recognizes a female faculty member who has demonstrated performance in leadership, mentoring, research or service to UMMC and the community and whose accomplishments have lent themselves to the development, advancement, promotion and support of women on campus, in the community and in the state.

Being honored with the award in her name was humbling, said Woodward. “When I first learned of this, I was beyond words. … I was very touched.”


Dr. Norma Ojeda, incoming president of GWIMS and an associate professor of neonatology, said the awards shine a spotlight on those who are helping level the academic medicine playing field for women at all career stages, “making equality possible for women and making sure there are equal opportunities for advancement.”

Equal opportunities for all, said Ojeda, strengthens organizations and communities. “If women can thrive, then everyone will do well.”

The awards and recipients include:

Innovation Award: Dr. Merry Lindsey, professor of physiology and biophysics, honoring her development of novel, inventive and creative programs, projects or initiatives that contribute to education, research or patient care missions.

Resilient Spirit Award: Dr. Bettina Beech, dean of the School of Population Health, associate vice chancellor for population health and professor of pediatrics and family medicine, for showing indomitable spirit in the face of great challenges and inspiring the larger community as a whole through triumph and perseverance.

Emerging Star Award: Dr. Kristine DeLeon-Pennell, instructor of physiology and biophysics. This award, presented to a student, resident or fellow, honors those who have great potential to significantly impact women as well as the larger community.

Rising Star Award: Dr. Sarah Sterling, assistant professor of emergency medicine. This award acknowledges women in the UMMC schools who, in the early stages of their careers, are showing great potential to significantly impact women, as well as the larger community.

Shining Star Award: Dr. Pia Chatterjee Kirk, associate professor of care plans and restorative science in the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry. This award acknowledges women in UMMC schools who, in the middle phase of their careers, are showing strength in leadership and mentoring.

Trailblazer Award: Dr. Robert Brodell, professor and chair of UMMC's Department of Dermatology. The Trailblazer Award recognizes male allies in the ongoing advancement of women in UMMC schools, honoring their support of women-specific initiatives, contributing to work-life balance improvements, mentoring and promoting women, promoting their retention and developing leadership training opportunities for women.


Group on Women in Science in Medicine

For more information on joining UMMC's GWIMS chapter, call Teresa Clayton at (601) 815-4233 or email GWIMS@umc.edu.