Chen claims inaugural Distinguished Faculty Award in DEI

By Roman Petrowski, Office of Communications

Dr. Wendy Chen - DEI Award

Asia McCleary-Gaddy, PhD (left), presents Wendy Chen, MD, MS (right), with the inaugural John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Distinguished Faculty Award in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion selected Wendy Chen, MD, MS, assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Division of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, as its inaugural winner of the John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Distinguished Faculty Award in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

“Receiving the inaugural John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Distinguished Faculty Award in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a tremendous, unexpected honor that affirms the work I (and countless others) have done within the realm of DEI in medicine, and signals to our trainees and colleagues that diversity and inclusion is important and valued here at McGovern Medical School,” Chen said. “I am deeply grateful, humbled, and encouraged.”

The Distinguished Faculty Award in DEI recognizes an individual whose exceptional effort exemplifies the Medical School’s commitment to fostering the recruitment, nurturing, retention, and academic success of a diverse student body, trainees, staff, and faculty that is reflective of the community they serve.

“Promoting diversity and inclusion is a mission all academic physicians should be engaged in,” said Chair of the Review Committee Hashim Zaidi, MD. “Dr. Chen seeks to provide physicians with the tools to accomplish just that mission. Researching, educating, and raising awareness on gender bias and sexual misconduct, she has shown the world the parts of medicine that must change to promote diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion. Dr. Chen is committed to these areas by promoting curricula and institutional programs at a local and national scale.”

Criteria for the award includes, but is not limited to, an overall teaching approach and/or specific teaching practices that amplify diverse perspectives and foster an equitable learning environment; mentorship responsive to the needs of students, trainees, and colleagues; publications or research, conference presentations, and or invited talks focused on DEI; community building, engagement, or external educational initiatives that promote DEI; and meaningful contribution to department or institution.

Chen was honored for the award at the Distinguished Faculty Award in DEI Ceremony via Webex, Feb. 8, and she received a trophy and $2,500 prize.

Chen practices general pediatric plastic surgery with a focus on congenital hand anomalies, brachial plexus, complex extremity microsurgery, trauma, and adult hand trauma and reconstruction. Outside of the operating room, Chen is passionate about medical education and activism for diversity in surgery, for which she is a frequent national speaker.

Chen received her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2013 before completing a residency in plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2020 and a Hand and Microsurgery Fellowship at UCLA in 2021. She joined the faculty at McGovern Medical School as an assistant professor in 2021.