Creating change by engaging communities

Annual WAM conference celebrates leadership, advocacy and community

Feb. 7, 2018

The OHSU Women in Academic Medicine Committee embraced the unmistakable sense of community and momentum for change in today's social climate during its fifth annual conference Jan. 30. Whether looking to affect policy, connect with the public, or tell one's story to stakeholders, conference attendees discussed how to develop the tools and inspiration to make change. As part of the WAM conference tradition, individuals who support the success of women in academic medicine received awards in five categories. Congratulations to the 2018 awardees:

Provost Elena Andersen, Ph.D., applauds the WAM conference 2018 awardees

Katharine Zuckerman, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., associate professor of pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine, received the Excellence in Mentorship award. Dr. Zuckerman, who is also associate professor in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, was recognized for the breadth and depth of her mentorship and her focus on mentorship of under-represented trainees of color. She has demonstrated deep commitment to formal mentorship programs supporting under-represented minority trainees, including NIH's BUILD-EXITO grant, OHSU's Center for Diversity and Inclusion's EQUITY summer internship, and the OHSU's HRSA-funded NW Native American Center of Excellence.

Carmem Pfiefer, D.D.S., Ph.D., associate professor of restorative dentistry, OHSU School of Dentistry, received the discovery award for women in science. Dr. Pfeifer has published more than 65 research articles and five book chapters in dental materials sciences and polymer chemistry, reaching an H factor of 21, according to Scopus. Her research focuses on the development of innovative polymeric materials for restorative dentistry and broader biomaterials and engineering applications. Recently, she received the inventor of the year award from OHSU for the commercial potential of her patented inventions, which have attracted the interest of several potential licensees.

The Emerging Leader Award went to Esther Choo, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine, OHSU School of Medicine. Dr. Choo's clinical work and research focus on substance abuse disorders, women's health and health disparities. She is also an activist for social justice and health equity with growing national recognition in both academic medical and lay public spheres. Dr. Choo's nominators detailed an impressive record of leadership and advocacy within emergency medicine. At OHSU, Dr. Choo's work has inspired multiple forums discussing bias across campus.

Christina Milano, M.D., associate professor of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, received the Clinical Excellence Award. In 2012, Dr. Milano co-founded the OHSU Transgender Health Program – the only academic, interdisciplinary program of its kind in the country. Dr. Milano is also the creator and medical director of the Richmond Engagement and Community Health team, a collaborative endeavor between CareOregon and OHSU Richmond designed to increase the health resiliency of Medicaid members who are struggling to manage advanced illness in the setting of social isolation.

WAM conference 2018, Dean Sharon Anderson, Dr. Elizabeth Steiner HaywardFinally, the Resiliency Award was presented to Maisie Shindo, M.D., F.A.C.S., professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, OHSU School of Medicine. Dr. Shindo is one of the top endocrine surgeons in the country and has adopted minimally invasive high definition surgical techniques to improve outcomes for thyroid and parathyroid surgical cases. Following a tragic accident that left her father and husband severely injured, Dr. Shindo continued in all her roles: as a wife, mother, daughter, surgeon, teacher and mentor. However, this was not enough. Dr. Shindo believed that her experiences could help others overcome their own personal or work-related stress events. She therefore volunteered in a peer support group as part of the OHSU wellness program and she has co-created an internal peer support group in her department.

Oregon State Senator and OHSU family physician Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, M.D. R '94, gave the plenary address. Dr. Steiner, associate professor of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, finished her remarks to rousing applause from the audience and special recognition from Dean Sharon Anderson, M.D., who recognized her as an outstanding communicator and presented her with the celebrated Star Trek communicator pin from her white coat. Watch the video of her talk and the awards presentation.

A panel of OHSU and community leaders discussed "Active Engagement from Different Angles" during the afternoon session. Speakers included Dr. Choo; Alisha Moreland Capuia, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, OHSU School of Medicine; Jennifer Stoll, vice president of government relations, OCHIN; Honora Englander, M.D., associate professor of medicine, OHSU School of Medicine. Jackie Wirz, Ph.D., assistant dean for graduate student affairs, OHSU School of Medicine, moderated. Watch the video of the panel discussion.

WAM conference 2018, panel discussionThis event was made possible with registration donations and the generous support from the following OHSU groups:

  • Center for Diversity and Inclusion
  • School of Medicine Office of the Dean
  • Office of the Provost
  • Center for Women's Health
  • Fund for Advancement of Women's Leadership

Pictured top: OHSU Provost Elena Andresen, Ph.D., applauds the WAM awardees (from left) Dr. Carmem Pfiefer, Dr. Katharine Zuckerman, Dr. Christina Milano and Dr. Maisie Shindo (Dr. Esther Choo not pictured).

Middle: Dean Sharon Anderson, M.D., presents Dr. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward with the Star Trek communicator pin from her white coat.

Bottom: An esteemed panel included (from left) Dr. Honora Englander, Dr. Esther Choo, Jennifer Stoll, Dr. Alisha Moreland Capuia and Dr. Jackie Wirz as moderator.