GWIM Celebrates Achievements of Female Faculty Members

December 10, 2017 -- The Georgetown Women in Medicine (GWIM) Annual Awards Ceremony and Reception recognized award-winning female faculty members as well as newly appointed and promoted women. Speakers also took the event as an opportunity to discuss plans to promote prominent women in a more visible way. 

Kristi Graves, PhD, associate professor of oncology and GWIM president, encouraged those attending the December 7 event in the Lombardi Atrium to support the Women on the Walls campaign, an effort to increase the number of women represented in portraits displayed in the medical center. 

“We are actively working on our Women on the Walls campaign to celebrate the types of women who are honored here tonight,” Graves said. “As you walk around the Medical-Dental Building or the Pre-Clinical Science Building, you may notice a lot of the pictures look very similar. So in an effort to make a change, we encourage you to visit our Women on the Walls campaign.”

Edward B. Healton, MD, MPH, executive vice president of health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, joined Graves in expressing his support for the campaign. 

“In addition to the specific awards that will be announced tonight, another very important way to celebrate those achievements is the Women on the Walls campaign GWIM has begun and I hope that all of you will support that important mission,” Healton said. “With that in mind, I’m also happy to announce that the Office of the Executive Vice President will be very pleased to contribute to that campaign by financially supporting a portrait of GWIM’s choosing to be placed on the wall over the course of this academic year.” 

Honoring the Importance of Mentors and Role Models

At the award ceremony, Jan LaRocque, PhD, associate professor in the department of human science, received the inaugural School of Nursing and Health Studies Mentorship Award for Women in Health Studies. 

“With this award, we recognize a female SNHS faculty member who has provided outstanding encouragement, support and role modeling to faculty to reach their maximum professional potential,” said Edilma Yearwood, PhD, chair of the department of professional nursing practice. “I am delighted, very delighted, to announce Dr. Jan LaRocque is our inaugural winner of the School of Nursing and Health Studies Mentorship Award for Women in Health Studies.”

Yearwood previously worked in an office near LaRocque, giving her a unique perspective on her colleague’s work. “Every time you see Jan, she has students around her and junior faculty around her and she just cares for everybody,” Yearwood said. “She spends a lot of her time and energy helping everybody around her and she’s got a great heart and she just gives of herself very freely.”

LaRocque spoke about the role that mentoring plays in establishing a sense of community and recognized her own mentors for showing her how to be successful and a strong mentor for others.  

“I don’t think I could have as strong teaching outcomes, research outcomes, or even my service without being motivated by the mentoring role that’s threaded throughout those three,” LaRocque said. “It also is what gets me up in the morning and one of the things I love about my job that and I am lucky to have the opportunity to do that.”

The recipient of the Estelle Ramey Mentorship Award, Princy Kumar, MD, professor in the departments of medicine and microbiology and immunology, shared her philosophy on mentoring.

“Great mentors see more potential in their mentees than their mentees see in themselves,” said Kumar, who previously received the Ramey award in 2011. “To me, good mentorship is like lighting a candle. Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle and happiness and success are only increased by helping others succeed.”

Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, professor in the department of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, received the Karen Gale Outstanding Achievement Award and reflected on the award’s namesake.

“I did know Dr. Gale very well, I did know her but not intimately but I’m acutely aware of her very many scientific accomplishments and more importantly I’m grateful for her passion, for her advocacy efforts to promote women in medicine, especially those who are early career investigators,” Malekzadeh said. “I and many women have either directly or indirectly benefited from all of her work and I hope to live up to her example and to pay this forward to the Georgetown community in the many years to come.”

The complete list of GWIM Annual Award Winners

Karen Gale Outstanding Achievement Award
Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, FACS
Professor, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

Estelle Ramey Mentorship Award
Princy N. Kumar, MD, FACP, MACP
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology

School of Nursing and Health Studies Mentorship Award for Women in Health Studies
Jan LaRocque, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Human Science

John Eisenberg Career Development Awards
(Early Career)

Heng-Hong Li, PhD
Assistant Professor, Departments of Oncology and Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology

Sonal Jagasia, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

(Mid-Career)
Chaitra Ujjani, MD
Associate Professor, Division of Hematology and Oncology

Kat Zambon
GUMC Communications