14th annual Women’s Faculty Awards Luncheon celebrates leadership, mentoring and service

By Ellie Castano

UMass Medical School Communications

May 14, 2014
Honored at the 14th annual Faculty Awards Luncheon were (l to r), Linda Weinreb, Tiffany Moore Simas, Sherry Pagoto, Sonia Chimienti, Sara Shields, Ruthann Rizzi and Amy B. Wachholtz.
Honored at the 14th annual Faculty Awards Luncheon were (l to r), Linda Weinreb, Tiffany Moore Simas, Sherry Pagoto, Sonia Chimienti, Sara Shields, Ruthann Rizzi and Amy Wachholtz.

In the 13 years since the annual Women’s Faculty Awards Luncheon was established, 63 exemplars of their profession have been honored for community and clinical service, excellence in education, achievements in health and science, and mentoring. On May 13, seven more outstanding women faculty members were recognized with Women’s Faculty Awards and a named professorship. The awards were presented by the Women’s Faculty Committee.

Keynote speaker Luanne Thorndyke, MD, vice provost for faculty affairs and professor of medicine, spoke about functional mentoring as one of the keys to women’s success in academic medicine. She cited results of a recent survey of all faculty members at UMMS that revealed a significant number of them who would like to have mentors but don’t know how to go about finding one. Referring to this as a “mentoring gap,” she presented a number of different strategies for finding a mentor and suggested specific language to use in asking.

Before the Women’s Faculty Awards were presented, Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost, dean of the School of Medicine, announced that Tiffany Moore Simas, MD, MPH, associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology and pediatrics, had been named the newest Joy McCann Professor for Women in Medicine, noting that she embodies all of the values that the Joy McCann Foundation wishes to have reflected in its recipients.

“It is particularly notable that Dr. Moore Simas is a graduate of this medical school and our own residency program in obstetrics & gynecology. Her leadership skills and her enthusiasm for supporting her own academic community are excellent examples of our values,” said Dr. Flotte.

Sybil Crawford, PhD, professor of medicine, and Ann Salerno, MD, clinical associate professor of pediatrics, who co-chair the Women’s Faculty Committee, presented the six Women’s Faculty Achievement awards:

  • Sara G. Shields, MD, MS, clinical professor of family medicine & community health, received the Outstanding Community Service Award;
  • Sonia N. Chimienti, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, received the Sarah Stone Excellence in Education Award;
  • Amy B. Wachholtz, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, received the Early Career Achievement in Science and Health Award;
  • Sherry Pagoto, PhD, associate professor of medicine, received the Women in Science and Health Achievement Award;
  • Ruthann Rizzi, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry, received the Excellence in Clinical Service Award; and
  • Linda Weinreb, MD, professor of family medicine & community health and pediatrics, received the Outstanding Mentor Award.

In addressing the large crowd gathered in the Faculty Conference room to see their colleagues honored, Chancellor Michael F. Collins noted the important and growing presence of women leaders at UMass Medical School.

“Of the four faculty members who were most recently invested into named faculty positions, three of them were women—Silvia Corvera, Ellen Gravallese and Catarina Kiefe. Two women recently became department chairs—Mary Lee as chair of pediatrics and Vivian Budnik as intern chair of neurobiology. And Katherine Luzuriaga and Jean King were promoted to senior leadership positions.”

Judith K. Ockene, PhD, associate vice provost for gender and equity and professor of medicine, closed the program by remarking on the need to push harder as a community for women to be promoted to the rank of full professor and to be tenured. Noting that the while the number of women who have achieved those milestones at UMMS was in line with the national average, she said that is not enough.

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Moore Simas named Joy McCann Professor for Women in Medicine
Women’s Faculty Awards honor outstanding contributions (2013)
Women’s Faculty Awards celebrate achievements (2012)
UMMS faculty recognized for service, research and teaching (2011)