women faculty forum logoA new organization, the Women Faculty Forum, has been established as part of McGovern Medical School’s Office of Faculty Affairs to provide advocacy, networking, and professional development opportunities for women faculty.

Chaired by Dr. Gurur Biliciler-Denktas, associate professor of pediatrics, and Dr. Vasanthi Jayaraman, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, the organization is supported by council members Drs. Suur Biliciler, assistant professor of neurology; Sheila Coogan, associate professor of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery; Catherine Denicourt, assistant professor of integrative biology and pharmacology; Danielle Garsin, associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics; Carin Hagberg, chair of the Department of Anesthesiology; Ruth Heidelberger, professor of neurobiology and anatomy; LaTanya Love, assistant dean for admissions and student affairs and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion; Amber Luong, associate professor of otorhinolaryngology; and Susan Pacheco, associate professor of pediatrics.

“We had heard from several women faculty at the Medical School who had expressed the need for promoting advocacy and professional development of women faculty,” Jayaraman said. “It was critical to have a smaller group centered in the Medical School in order to be effective and to specifically address the issues related to Medical School women faculty.

“One of the reasons for the success of the New Investigator Development Program, directed by Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Dr. Kevin Morano, is that it focuses specifically on faculty needs. We felt that a similar approach would work.”

The organization will collaborate with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Committee on the Status of Women, and the Faculty Wives and Women Faculty organization.

The Women Faculty Forum is different, yet complementary, to these groups in that its goals are to provide:

  • Advocacy on behalf of the women faculty at UTHealth Medical School;
  • Opportunities for professional development for women faculty at UTHealth Medical School; and
  • Networking among the women faculty, as well as with the leaders in academic science and medicine within and outside of the institution.

The Women Faculty Forum will have its kick-off reception 4:30-5:30 p.m., Aug. 26, at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in the Cullen Pavilion. This networking event will be the introduction of the group’s initiatives and will feature Dr. Elizabeth Travis, associate vice president of Women Faculty Programs at MD Anderson Cancer Center, who will speak about issues faced by women in medicine and her vision of how they can be addressed. Please RSVP by Aug. 17 to Kelley Dowell.

-Darla Brown, Office of Communications, Medical School