Gender Equity Event Features Talk on Dismantling Dominant Culture, Celebrates Awardees

March 1, 2023 by Jennifer Nachbur

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont hosted the fourth annual Celebration of Gender Equity in Medicine and Science on March 2, 2023.

L-R: Page; Carr; Sigmon; Lautenberger; Dougherty; Marroquin; Feinberg; Khadanga.

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont hosted the fourth annual Celebration of Gender Equity in Medicine and Science on March 2, 2023 in the Sullivan Classroom in the Medical Education Center. The event, which was also livestreamed on Zoom, was the first in-person event held since 2020.

The event opened with a welcome from both Larner Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., and remarks from Director of Gender Equity Anne Dougherty, M.D., M.A., who noted that to date, 20 Larner faculty, staff and students have been honored with Gender Equity awards. "Women now make up the majority of the college's senior leadership positions," she reported, noting that the work towards equity goes beyond gender, and includes colleagues of color, members of the LBGTQIA+ community, and persons with disabilities.

Diana Lautenberger, M.A., director of gender equity initiatives for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), presented a keynote address on “The Next Chapter of Gender Equity: Addressing Myths, Power, and Dominant Culture.” 

In her role at the AAMC, Lautenberger works to integrate gender equity approaches across the association’s missions and work. She manages the organization’s gender equity portfolio, which includes research, education, and projects to promote equitable working environments as well as developing resources for marginalized populations in academic medicine, and takes an intersectional and gender expansive approach to addressing gender equity issues in higher education and science, technology, engineering, math, and medical science fields. Current projects include Women of Color and Intersectionality, the Gendered Impact of the Pandemic, Salary Equity, and Sexual Harassment in Academic Medicine.

Lautenberger's talk centered on the role of dominant culture and related gender norms in oppressing not only women, but all marginalized groups. She emphasized the need to identify the intentional dominant forces responsible for perpetuating oppression in order to break down barriers and create a culture of inclusion and belonging.

"We really want gender equity to be about all genders," she said, adding, "It's about anti-oppression; that's the goal."

During the awards ceremony, Joanna Conant, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Gender Equity Steering Committee education and development working group co-leader, described each award, following which 2022 Gender Equity Award recipients introduced each of the 2023 awardees. Presenters included Conant, recipient of the 2022 Rising Star Emerging Professional Award; Beth Kirkpatrick, M.D., chair of microbiology and molecular genetics and 2022 Outstanding Achievement in Medicine and Science Award recipient; and Isabelle Desjardins, M.D., UVM Medical Center chief medical officer, professor of psychiatry, and 2022 recipient of the Polaris Award for Outstanding Mentorship award.

The 2023 awards, recipients, and nominees include:

  • Gender Equity Champion Award – This award honors Larner College of Medicine community members—faculty, staff, or students—who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and service to the advancement of women and those with underrepresented gender identities beyond the scope of their job, area of research, or training. Recipients: Bridget Marroquin, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology, and Nina Feinberg, Class of 2023 medical student. (Nominees: Erin Tsai, M.D.; Transgender Youth Program; Debra Leonard, M.D., Ph.D.)
  • Gender Equity Outstanding Achievement in Medicine and Science Award – This award will be given to a woman or gender minority** faculty member within the Larner College of Medicine who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in medicine and science through research, education or service. Recipient: Stacey Sigmon, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry. (Nominees: Alexandra Potter, Ph.D.; Beth Zigmund, M.D.)
  • The Polaris Award for Outstanding Mentorship – The Polaris Award honors a Larner College of Medicine faculty or staff member who provides outstanding formal or informal mentorship for women or gender minority College community members. Recipient: Frances Carr, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology. (Nominees: Elizabeth Bonney, M.D.; Julie Dumas, Ph.D.; Pamela Gibson, M.D.; Alicia Jacobs, M.D.; Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D.; Rebecca Wilcox, M.D.; Christina Wojewoda, M.D.)
  • The Rising Star Emerging Professional Award – This award recognizes a woman or gender minority** faculty or staff member at the Larner College of Medicine who is in the early stage of their career, and who demonstrates excellence in contributions to students, colleagues, and/or the institution in the areas of gender equity and inclusion through service, program development, teaching, research, or beyond. Recipient: Sherrie Khadanga, M.D., assistant professor of medicine. (Nominee: Anja Jokela, M.D.)

**Gender minority refers to those who identify with a gender outside of the she/her, he/him binary.

Link to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion's Gender Equity Initiative web page.

A video of the March 2 event will be available for viewing in the next week.

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