UVA Celebrates 100 Years of Women in Medicine and Science

May 1, 2024 by

COWIMS Women's Center event.

The Committee on Women in Medicine and Science or COWIMS and the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center jointly hosted 100 Years of Women in Medicine and Science at UVA, on April 25, 2024. The event, held at the Colonnade Club on Grounds, was attended by over 50 faculty, staff, and students/trainees.

The evening kicked off with a walking tour that focused on the history of women at UVA. The Claude Moore Health Sciences Library’s Historical Collections provided an exhibit, Women in Medicine at UVA, which was on display for guests to view during the event. Meggan Cashwell, Alvin V. and Nancy Baird Curator of Historical Collections, and Amanda Greenwood, archivist of Historical Collections & Services, answered questions and led the attendees through the archives.

During the event, the co-chairs of the COWIMS Programing and Events Subcommittee, Alyssa Mixon, DO, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, and Kathryn Xixis, MD, assistant professor of neurology and pediatrics, moderated a panel discussion about women in medicine and science.

Four women leaders at UVA COWIMS event spring 2024

left to right: Kathleen McManus, MD, Marquita Taylor, PhD, Melina Kibbe, MD, and Susan Pollart, MD

Panelists included Melina Kibbe, MD, dean of the UVA School of Medicine, James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science, and chief health affairs officer of UVA Health; Kathleen McManus, MD, chair of COWIMS and assistant professor of Medicine; Susan Pollart, MD, senior associate dean for the Office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development and Ruth E. Murdaugh Professor of Family Medicine; and Marquita Taylor, PhD, associate director for diversity, education and inclusion in the UVA Cancer Center and assistant professor of public health sciences.

The panelists provided insightful and inspiring responses to questions submitted by attendees regarding career challenges, overcoming obstacles, and evolution in the healthcare of women and the roles of women as leaders in the School of Medicine.

Themes from the panelists’ responses included the importance of:

  • overcoming stereotypes as a woman in male-dominated fields;
  • knowing one’s own worth and value;
  • understanding and seeking both mentorship and sponsorship;
  • recognizing self-confidence and authenticity as keys to success;
  • finding support, building a network, and establishing a team to achieve goals, whether personally or professionally; and
  • celebrating that UVA is making more progress toward gender equity and inclusivity with a special note regarding the important work being done in gender health services at UVA Health.

In addition to the exhibit and panel discussion, a banner demonstrating the School of Medicine’s progress in women achieving the rank of full professor was displayed. Since 2015, when 43 women held the rank of full professors in the School of Medicine, the number has grown to 111 in 2024, and is projected to reach close to 125 in 2025.

This remarkable achievement is the result of the work of every member of our School of Medicine supporting the advancement of women. Department chairs, the School of Medicine and UVA Health leadership, past and present leadership of the Committee on Women in Medicine and Science, and the women faculty have all worked to call attention to the underrepresentation of women at full professor rank and to make meaningful and impactful change. — Susan Pollart, MD

The event drew the attention of local media, who interviewed Dr. Mixon and Dr. Xixis about women in medicine and science. During her media interview, Dr. Mixon stated, “… in medicine and in science women are becoming more dominant in the field. It’s taken time and a process but having these women commemorated showcases that it can be done and will inspire the next generations to step into these fields.”

COWIMS would like to acknowledge and thank Carol Gilbert, co-interim director and program director of administration of the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center and Lynn McDaniel, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and member of the COWIMS Programing and Events Subcommittee, who helped plan this event.

Learn More

Walking Tour  — Women’s Education at UVA.

The Women in Medicine at UVA exhibit is currently on display in the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library’s Historical Collections reading room. Tours are offered by appointment.

Watch the Media Coverage: CBS news and NBC news.

Photos by Tom Daly.


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