Recent News

For University of Vermont-related news, see below. For MaineHealth news, click here.

Empowering Voices: Gender Equity Event Highlights Intersectionality and Honors Awardees

March 11, 2024 by Angela Ferrante

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont hosted the fifth annual Celebration of Gender Equity in Medicine and Science on March 7, 2024. Debora Kamin Mukaz, Ph.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine and co-founder of #BlackInCardio, presented a keynote address on “Why Intersectionality Matters for Life Sciences and Medicine.”

Empowering Voices: Gender Equity Event Highlights Intersectionality and Honors Awardees

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont hosted the fifth annual Celebration of Gender Equity in Medicine and Science on March 7, 2024, in the Sullivan Classroom in the Medical Education Center. The event opened with a welcome from both Larner Senior Associate Dean for Research Kate Tracy, Ph.D., and remarks from Director of Gender Equity Anne Dougherty, M.D., M.A., who noted that to date, 30 Larner faculty, staff, and students have been honored with Gender Equity awards. “In a world striving for excellence, it’s critical that gender inclusivity be part of that conversation,” said Dougherty, setting the tone for the event.

Debora Kamin Mukaz, Ph.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine and co-founder of #BlackInCardio, presented a keynote address on “Why Intersectionality Matters for Life Sciences and Medicine.” Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kamin Mukaz’s interest in STEM was stoked by her family, who deeply valued formal education—however, like many young women, Kamin Mukaz quickly realized the pervasiveness of sexism in education, both in her home province of Katanga, as well as abroad, in the U.S.

Intersectionality, the topic of Kamin Mukaz’s lecture, is defined as the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. “I exist at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, each shaped by systems that determine what rights and resources I have access to,” stated Kamin Mukaz, noting how her identities as an immigrant and a Black woman intertwine, and how experiences stemming from those identities have affected her path through academia, as well as in health care.

Lecturer speaking at podium

“What creates inequalities and injustices isn’t marginalized identities, or intersectionality, but systems of oppression. Racism, sexism, classism—can be categorized … Structural oppression is the main culprit, shaping the others, as well as the culture and norms of the society we live in,” Kamin Mukaz said in closing, emphasizing 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.

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 2023 Gender Equity Award recipients introduced each of the 2024 awardees. Presenters included Sherrie Khadanga, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, recipient of the 2023 Rising Star Emerging Professional Award; and Frances Carr, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, 2023 recipient of the Polaris Award for Outstanding Mentorship award.

The 2024 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. RecipientsJennifer Hall, D.O., assistant professor of psychiatry, and Class of 2025 medical student Neeki Parsa (Nominees: Marissa Coleman, Psy.D.; Mariah McNamara, M.D., M.P.H.; Evan Eyler, M.D., M.P.H.; Krystal Ramos Barrera, Class of 2026; Daniela Zambrano, M.D.; Laura Merriam, M.S.)
  • Gender Equity Outstanding Achievement in Medicine and Science Award – This award is given to a woman or gender diverse** faculty member within the Larner College of Medicine who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in medicine and science through research, education, or service. RecipientSarah Schlein, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine (Nominees: Evan Eyler, M.D., M.P.H.; Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D.; Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.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: Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., associate dean for faculty affairs and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine (Nominees: Andrea Green, M.D.; Julie Dumas, Ph.D.; Alexandra Kalof, M.D.; L. E. Faricy, M.D.)
  • The Rising Star Emerging Professional Award – This award recognizes a woman or gender diverse** 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. RecipientsAnja Jokela, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine, and Karine Sahakyan, M.D., assistant professor of radiology (Nominees: Nimrat Chatterjee, Ph.D., M.Sc.; Sakshi Jasra, M.D.; Katie Menson, D.O.)

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

Watch the event here.

Want to be our next news story?

Have you started a cool new project? Published a paper? Won an award? We want to hear from you! Contact us to be highlighted on our website, in our newsletters, and/or in our press releases.

Check out our newsletter archive:

December 2021

March 2022

August 2022

SpecialEditionAug2022

June 2023

Fall 2023

Winter 2024

Spring 2024

Questions?

Please email us with any questions or for assistance accessing services.

Become a Member

All NNE-CTR members have access to our services and support. Learn more about the free benefits of membership, and join today!