Women in Medicine in 2021

Earlier this year, for Women’s History Month, we asked faculty members to tell us about a woman in medicine who inspired them. With Women in Medicine month drawing to a close, we recognize several inspiring women faculty members within our own institution and their recent achievements.

Martha Carvour, MD, PhD, assistant professor in Infectious Diseases, and Kimberly Dukes, PhD, research assistant professor in General Internal Medicine, received a three-year, $758K grant from the University of Iowa’s Strategic Initiatives Fund (UISIF) for an equity in health science and practice (E-HSP) project. Carvour and Dukes’ E-HSP project aims to alleviate systemic imbalances in health care affecting people who identify as members of a marginalized racial or ethnic group and/or live-in rural settings. For their initial E-HSP project, Carvour and Dukes are working with Ebonee Johnson, PhD, CRC, assistant professor in the College of Public Health, to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in frontline, non-healthcare workers and community-based diabetes care in Iowa.

Earlier this year, Dukes also began working with Claudia Corwin, MD, MPH, assistant professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Occupational Medicine, to ensure Iowa’s migrant and seasonal agricultural workers had access to the COVID-19 vaccine. In collaboration with the non-profit Proteus, Corwin and Dukes’ project seeks to understand vaccine hesitancy in migrant workers and develop effective communication methods. Corwin is first or senior author on five publications accepted or forthcoming in just the last five months.

These projects are only a few of the capstones women in our department have achieved this year. Several faculty members have been elected for collegial and national leadership roles. Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD, professor in Cardiovascular Mediicne and Vice Chair for Research, was nominated and elected to the Association of University Cardiologists (AUC), a prestigious national organization for the country’s leaders in academic cardiology. Most recently, Grumbach was appointed to the Kate Daum Professorship, which recognizes outstanding women scientists at the University of Iowa.

Julia Klesney-Tait, MD, PhD, associate professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine was appointed to the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Lung Transplantation Committee. In this appointment, Klesney-Tait and the other committee members are working to create a new, more equitable organ allocation system.

Amy Dowden, MD, clinical associate professor in Immunology and associate program director for Allergy/Immunology Fellowship Program, was elected as the Internal Medicine Councilor for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) Program Directors Assembly in February. Dowden joins Mary Beth Fasano, MD, clinical professor of Immunology and current AAAI president in a leadership role in this national organization.

In August, Amal Shibli-Rahhal, MD, MS, MME, clinical professor in Endocrinology and Endocrinology and Metabolism Fellowship Program Director, was promoted to Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Curriculum in the Carver College of Medicine. Previously, Shibli-Rahhal served as the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Curriculum. In a letter notifying Shibli-Rahhal of the promotion, Patricia Winokur, MD, Executive Dean for Carver College of Medicine and professor in Infectious Diseases, praised Shibli-Rahhal’s ability to challenge and improve the quality of medical curriculum while simultaneously connecting with her students.

Josalyn Cho, MD, assistant professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care, & Occupational Medicine, was named the director of the University of Iowa’s Inflammation Program. Cho builds off years of groundbreaking immunodeficiency and biological pathway discoveries. Not only will she lead this long-standing and productive research team, but she will also contribute to its success with her own research, which focuses on the role of immune regulatory protein, Tim3, in promoting viral clearance of influenza without lung injury.

Judy Streit, MD, clinical professor of Infectious Diseases, was named Interim Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases. Streit added the directorship to her long list of leadership roles, which includes her roles as the director of the Travel Clinic and as the Infectious Disease fellowship program director.

Finally, just about a year ago, the department launched a monthly Women in Medicine series, which includes presentations,  discussions, networking, and career support for our women faculty, fellows, and residents.  This series has welcomed internal and external speakers, who covered topics including time management strategies, the promotions process, taking on leadership roles, and negotiation skills. The Women In Medicine series is organized by Nicole Nisly, MD, professor of General Medicine and Associate Chair for Diversity, Kim Staffey, MD, clinical associate professor in Cardiovascular Medicine and Vice Chair for Clinical Programs, and Isabella Grumbach.

Thank you to all the women faculty, staff, and students who lead and excel within our department, blazing a trail for all those who will follow!

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