Dual Awards Pay Tribute to Gender Equity Trailblazers

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The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston recently recognized two leading advocates for women in medicine and research.

Karen Antman, MD, Provost of the Boston University Medical Campus and Dean of its School of Medicine since 2005, was the recipient of the 2013 Margaret L. Kripke Legend Award for Promotion of Women in Cancer Medicine and Cancer Research. At the MD Anderson award ceremony in March, she delivered a lecture titled, “Kripke, a Role Model for Today’s Leaders in Cancer Research and an Update on the Progress of Women.”

Maria Alma Rodriguez, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Professor of Lymphoma/Myeloma at MD Anderson, received the institution’s inaugural President’s Leadership Award for Advancing Women Faculty. Her presentation was titled “Advancement of Women Faculty Matters.”

“I’m delighted that we honor and recognize two people who advocate above and beyond the expected for the career advancement of women faculty,” said MD Anderson President Ronald DePinho, MD. “Recipients of both awards were chosen based on demonstrating, through their words and actions, a deep personal and professional commitment to this value.”

Role Model and Change Agent

Dr. Antman, an internationally recognized expert on breast cancer, mesotheliomas, and sarcomas, advocates for leadership diversity and leverages her academic position to support faculty development programs and research on women in academic medicine. An inspiration and mentor to many women, she recognizes her opportunity to be a role model, change agent, and voice for others.

“The Kripke award is a tremendous honor,” Dr. Antman said. “Margaret Kripke is a pioneer who opened doors for me and many other women in medicine and science. As President of the American Association for Cancer Research, she gave me the first opportunity to be an AACR program chair, and I’ve always regarded her as a role model.”

Inspiring and Encouraging Women Faculty

A noted scientist and oncologist, Dr. Rodriguez developed and oversees MD Anderson’s Survivorship Program, Quality Officer Program, and Psychosocial Council. She also developed the hospital’s Nocturnalist Program. Her clinical expertise is in the treatment of lymphoid malignancies, with a focus on aggressive B-cell lymphomas and salvage chemotherapy.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this award,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “Not only is this the first time this recognition has been given to someone within our institution, but it is also a very meaningful symbol of our commitment to leadership development for women.” ■