March 06, 2020 1:42 PM

Michigan Medicine Celebrates Women in Medicine for International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Michigan Health Lab asked some of U-M's women in medicine how they're empowering the next generation of women. Read their responses.

Photo of Reshma Jagsi
Reshma Jagsi M.D., D.Phil, (left) is the Newman Family Professor and deputy chair of radiation oncology, and director of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences with faculty colleague Christina Chapman, M.D., M.Sc.

Friend. Spouse. Mother. Sister. Daughter. Confidant. Nurse. Administrator. Researcher. Resident. Doctor.

Women at Michigan Medicine hold many titles in their personal and professional lives. But for some, being represented in medicine hasn’t always been easy.

“Orthopaedics has a very low percentage of women in any specialty in medicine,” says Michelle Caird, M.D., interim chair and an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Michigan Medicine. “I want orthopaedic surgery to serve more patients and help more people, and we can do that if our surgeons are more diverse and look more like the population we serve.”

Kelly Malloy, M.D., an associate professor of otolaryngology and associate chief clinical officer of the surgical sub-segment at University Hospital and Frankel Cardiovascular Center, notes the power of mentorship and working with fellow women to help them reach their goals and be represented in medicine.

“Now that I am in a leadership position, I try to use the relationships that I have built to connect younger women to opportunities and to other leaders that might help them develop their careers.”

International Women’s Day serves as reminder to celebrate the many women that lead Michigan Medicine into the future of medicine. The Michigan Health Lab asked a few female leaders how they’re each empowering the next generation of women.

Carol Bradford, M.D., M.S.

Photo of Carol Bradford
Carol Bradford

“We strive to build a supportive and inclusive culture that values our women leaders and enables them to thrive. We do this through mentorship, sponsorship, coaching, programmatic support, professional development, and identification of leadership opportunities. By investing in our workforce, we are filling the pipeline with exceptional women who are empowered to make a lasting impact at Michigan Medicine and beyond.”

Bradford is the executive vice dean for academic affairs at University of Michigan Medical School, and chief academic officer and a professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery at Michigan Medicine.

Michelle Caird, M.D.

Photo of Michelle Caird
Michelle Caird, M.D.

“Orthopaedics has a very low percentage of women in any specialty in medicine. I want orthopaedic surgery to reach more patients and help more people, and we can do that if our surgeons are more diverse and look more like the population we serve.

We are working hard to get the word out to young girls and young women and other minority students through outreach programs about how exciting orthopaedics is and how great it is to help people back to healthy comfortable movement. We want to make sure they all see us as women fixing fractures and ACL tears, and straightening scoliosis with rods, and that they think about themselves as an orthopaedic surgeon.”

Caird is the Larry S. Matthews Collegiate Professor of Orthopaedics and the interim chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Michigan Medicine.

Megan Curtis, APRN-BC

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Megan Curtis, APRN-BC

“I believe I am empowering the next generation of women (including my own teenage daughter) by setting the example that a woman is not defined by one single role. We can be wives, mothers, career women, and even students! I have recently gone back to school for my Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. As a Michigan Medicine nurse practitioner, I am always looking for ways to advance my practice, and now I will be able to practice at an expert level to provide the highest quality of care possible.”

Curtis is an advanced practice nurse in neurosurgery at Michigan Medicine and an adjunct clinical instructor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing.

Dee Fenner, M.D.

Photo of Dee Fenner with older woman
Dee Fenner, M.D.

“Inspiring the next generation of women is not only a pleasure but a duty I take very seriously. I am indebted to all of the women leaders that came before me and I want to be sure the opportunities are expanded and barriers reduced for the next generation. 

First and foremost, being a positive role model for younger women is key. I hope they can visualize themselves being a department chair or leading an academic medical center because they see it being done successfully today by amazing female leaders at Michigan Medicine. The opportunities are expanding and there are new positions that women can choose every day.

Formally, I mentor and sponsor women at all stages of their professional development. A key is trying to listen to their goals so that they can be supported along their leadership pathway. I try to prepare them for the opportunity and encourage them to push past their comfort zone. All too often women are afraid of being told no. Good mentorship opens the doors, helps the young women realize their potential and to have courage to dare, and to always be there when needed.”

Fenner is the Bates Professor of Diseases of Women and Children and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Michigan Medicine.

Lana Garmire, Ph.D.

Photo of Lana Garmire
Lana Garmire, Ph.D.

"First, I try to make myself a role model for the next generation of women to see what it’s like to be successful as a female STEM scientist in a male dominated field.

I work hard, with discipline. I set up deadlines and meet them no matter what. The trainees are very motivated when they see I strive. I also use the opportunities of meetings to show to the young female scientists that family and career are not exclusive. They are challenging to balance, but definitely not exclusive. For example, I take both my daughter and son to some meetings, and I see the junior female researchers' faces literally light up and tell me how much they were inspired by my actions.

I also use other channels, such as Twitter, workshop and journals, to speak for women and give them suggestions on how to manage their careers and family lives based on my own experience. In my own research group, I try to give my female trainees as much support as possible, by being their coach and cheerleader.”

Garmire is an associate professor in the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Cathy Goldstein, M.D.

Photo of Cathy Goldstein
Cathy Goldstein, M.D.

“As we work to successfully close the well-recognized gender gap in STEM, I am hopeful that our successors also close the leadership gap that remains present in academic medicine. We have to keep in mind that not only is this gap problematic in the fact that it exists at all, but also in the message it sends, which was highlighted by work done right here at the University of Michigan by Jennifer Lukela, M.D., and colleagues that showed these discrepancies were clearly perceived by our trainees. I urge the next generation of women to expect and demand equality, at work and in the home.”

Goldstein is an associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center.

Julie Grunawalt, M.S., R.N., CNML

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Julie Grunawalt, M.S., R.N., CNML

“I believe it is a primary responsibility of all women leaders to empower, advocate, coach, mentor and sponsor individuals no matter their status, profession or career path. I am fortunate to have many women mentors in my life who guided and advised me as I advanced in my career.

I always knew I would commit to doing the same for others. One of my guiding principles is to always look for opportunities to help other women by never closing a door. I try to look past the superficial and see the strengths and potential in others. Being a mentor, sponsor and coach brings me much satisfaction and joy. I measure my success as a leader by how well women I have mentored succeed. Women are collectively powerful.”

Grunawalt is the associate chief nursing officer for the medical sub-segment at University Hospital and Frankel Cardiovascular Center. 

Maya Hammoud, M.D.

Photo of Maya Hammound
Maya Hammound, M.D.

“Whether in a defined leadership role or not, it has always been my priority to help mentor and advance the career of others. I’m dedicated to advancing health care for women and inspiring students to pursue a career in women's health. I talk about developing leadership skills to women of all age groups and professions. I hope to be a role model for all physicians, especially women, about the importance of physician engagement in changing the system. I’m also a loving wife and mother of three wonderful daughters.”

Hammoud is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Michigan Medicine.

Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil.

Photo of Reshma Jagsi
Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil (left)

"I benefited from outstanding mentorship in my own career. Then I studied career development in medicine, and it opened my eyes to the importance of ensuring that all promising investigators have that sort of mentorship from the very beginning. There is immense benefit from helping someone articulate their goals and what skills they need to build."

Jagsi is the Newman Family Professor and deputy chair of radiation oncology, and director of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan.

J. Michelle Kahlenberg, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Michelle Kahlenberg
J. Michelle Kahlenberg, M.D. Ph.D.

“Empowerment of women in medicine needs to occur at many levels, but the way I think I have my biggest impact is through mentoring. I was fortunate to have an inspirational mentor in Mariana Kaplan when I was beginning my career here, and I am trying hard to pay it forward. I have been fortunate to have had outstanding female students, fellows and junior faculty to work with in the clinic and in the lab.

As a mentor, I try to model a balanced approach to career, wellness and family, but it isn’t always possible. I think it is helpful for mentees to see that life and one’s career have ups and downs, and that it is your response to these situations that is most important. In addition, I try to stress that each person has to define what success means to them, and that their career path should follow that direction and not what others have decided a successful career looks like. To have control over your path is true empowerment!”

Kahlenberg is the Giles Bole and Dorothy Mulkey Research Professor of Rheumatology, and an associate professor and associate chief of basic and translational research in the Division of Rheumatology at Michigan Medicine.

Claire Kalpakjian, Ph.D., M.S.

Photo of Claire Kalpakjian, Ph.D., M.S.
Claire Kalpakjian, Ph.D., M.S.

“I’m empowering the next generation of women through my work. It focuses on reducing barriers and improving access to and quality of reproductive health care for women with disabilities by empowering them with the knowledge and skills for achieving optimal health and pursuit of their goals.”

Kalpakjian is an associate professor and associate chair for research in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine.

Lisa Kane Low Ph.D., CNM, FACNM, FAAN

Photo of Lisa Kane
Lisa Kane Low, Ph.D.

“I am working on two fronts: my national leadership roles and my U-M leadership role. I am working to serve as a role model by actively listening and seeking input from the future generation of women in all of the projects or programs I am engaged in. I try to keep a key mantra in my mind: what would my daughter or son think about this project or opportunity, and what would the young people in the communities I serve think about this initiative? Ideally I am able to seek input but when I cannot, taking this pause in my thinking is very helpful.

This is a hard question to answer overall, not because I am not intentional in my interactions, but because you hope to inspire but are never sure you are.

One thing I am intentional about is that I work hard to be approachable in any of the classrooms, lectures or presentations that I do so that if there is any sense of interest or someone takes that step to come forward and ask a question, I can transition that interaction into being a support to them. These conversations often start with I am interested in the work you are doing or am thinking about the career you have and want to know more about it. My hope is that these everyday interactions can transition into one-on-one opportunities to have further conversations. I find the primary role I may play in these interactions is to serve as a voice of support and encouragement that the person can do it, they can move into that educational program, they can pursue the fellowship or they can balance the demands of home, family and career. Then in our individual conversations we can move into strategies and ideas to make it all happen in a way they can envision for themselves.”

Kane Low is an associate dean and professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing.

Elizabeth Lawlor, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Elizabeth Lawlor
Elizabeth Lawlor, M.D., Ph.D.

“The best time for cancer researchers to learn how to communicate with one another is during their training. As mentors, it is critical that we impart not only knowledge in our own specific area of research, but also how to collaborate across disciplines to move science forward. Mentoring is inherent in what we do every day. Young investigators need to have the opportunity to learn from established women scientists – gender-matched role models can really help young women identify their own paths to success.”

Lawlor is the Russell G. Adderley Professor of Pediatric Oncology, professor of pediatrics and pathology, and associate director for education and training at the Rogel Cancer Center.

Njira Lugogo, M.D.

Photo of Njira Lugogo
Photo of Njira Lugogo, M.D.

“Severe asthma disproportionately affects women and many of my patients have severe asthma. During my career in pulmonary and critical care medicine I have seen a significant shift from a specialty that was predominantly attracting male physicians to one that has experienced a significant increase in gender diversity.

I participate in the pulmonary division’s recruitment committee where I have the great privilege of interviewing and recruiting talented applicants. During the interview season I have the opportunity to engage with female applicants and address any gender diversity questions, encouraging them to strongly consider Michigan Medicine. Our current first year class has a majority of female fellows and I continue to engage in opportunities to mentor them with a goal of fostering a successful career in pulmonary medicine.

Over the years I have participated in women’s leadership groups, women in medicine forums and mentorship programs. I believe it is essential for patients to have a diverse pool of talented physicians providing care to them as gender diversity brings diverse perspectives that result in improved patient outcomes.”

Lugogo is an associate professor of pulmonary diseases and internal medicine at Michigan Medicine.

Kelly Malloy, M.D.

Photo of Kelly Malloy
Kelly Malloy, M.D.

“I focus heavily on asking women: asking them to apply for a leadership position, asking them to consider an area of professional development and asking them how I can help them achieve their goals.

In my early career I found that I was not always asked to consider certain opportunities, and that definitely impacted my tendency to apply for a new role or raise my hand for a project. Sometimes I just did not feel seen, and it was hard to change that on my own.

Now that I am in a leadership position, I try to use the relationships that I have built to connect younger women to opportunities and to other leaders that might help them develop their careers. It is a balance of asking women what they are interested in and always being on the lookout for opportunities for them. Asking someone to consider a new opportunity conveys to them that you think they are capable and talented, and might just be the first step to developing a future leader.”

Malloy is an associate professor of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery, and associate chief clinical officer of the surgical sub-segment at University Hospital and Frankel Cardiovascular Center at Michigan Medicine.

Erin McKean, M.D.

Image of Erin McKean
Erin McKean, M.D.

“I was mentored by Carol Bradford, M.D., who modeled commitment, availability, openness, high expectations and collaboration. I try to do the same for my mentees. I believe not just in mentorship but also sponsorship, which means actively identifying opportunities, growing capabilities and building the reputations of my mentees. I believe in lifting up these upcoming leaders in medicine.”

McKean is the division chief for Rhinology and Skull Base Surgery, as well as an associate professor of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery and the program director for the Skull Base Surgery Fellowship at Michigan Medicine.

Erika Newman, M.D.

Photo of Erika Newman
Erika Newman, M.D.

“I have benefited from invaluable growth opportunities at the University of Michigan. I am now eager to leverage all of my experiences to prepare and cultivate the next generation of leaders and changemakers in the tripartite missions of excellence in clinical care, discovery and medical education.

My purpose is to serve and advance a creative academic learning environment in which diverse learners, faculty and staff are valued and excel. I believe we are poised to set a new standard of excellence in faculty and resident development in American surgery.”

Newman is a pediatric surgeon at Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Marina Pasca Di Magliano, Ph.D.

Photo of Marina Pasca Di Magliano
Marina Pasca Di Magliano, Ph.D.

“I mentor junior faculty, graduate students, undergrads and postdocs. If people have mentorship they will do well. It is much more efficient if you don’t make the mistakes others before you have made.”

Pasca Di Magliano is an associate professor of general surgery and cell and developmental biology, and vice chair of research for surgery at Michigan Medicine.

Stefanie Peters, FACHE, MPA, LMSW

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Stefanie Peters, FACHE, MPA, LMSW

“I empower the next generation of women by creating opportunities within the CVC and across Michigan Medicine that aim to accelerate the leadership journey and career progression of women by engaging in networking, mentoring, coaching and sponsorship. Specifically, by creating programs such as the Transformational Leadership Program and supporting the continuation and planning of the annual Leadership Summit for Women that focus on the leadership development and training in the areas unique to women.”

Peters is the chief administrative officer at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center and co-chair of the Advancing Inclusive Leadership for Women and Underrepresented Minorities Committee at Michigan Medicine.

Megan Riehl, PsyD

Photo of Megan Riehl
Megan Riehl, PsyD

“I hope to empower the next generation of women by living my personal and professional life with enthusiasm, positivity and transparency. Of course, there are challenges early in your career, and I’m a working mother in a fast-paced academic environment who doesn’t hide that. Hello, exhaustion after two babies in three years!

I talk about my harder days so that others know that it’s okay to talk about the tough points in their lives, too. By having an open door for communication, I hope to be with my colleagues during both the successes and challenges in their lives. I frequently remind myself that seasons of life will often look different, and that helps me embrace where I’m at. I hope others see value in this approach, as well.”

Riehl is an assistant professor of clinical psychology in the Michigan Medicine Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Jennifer Romano, M.D.

Photo of Jennifer Romano with her family
Jennifer Romano, M.D.

“I am empowering the next generation by being a role model as a voice for change. I am often invited to speak at national meetings regarding balancing family life and career and family planning for trainees. I think by creating an open forum where these important topics can be discussed empowers the next generation to speak up for equity and a tolerant work place. By making these topics part of our dialogue, especially in mixed forums of men and women of all levels, it brings everyone to a common ground for rational discussion and progress forward for all. I am surprised by the number of both young men and women who say thank you for making these issues important.”

Romano is a pediatric cardiac surgeon at Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Kristen Schuyten, P.T.

Photo of Kirsten Schuyten
Kristen Schuyten, P.T.

“I’m empowering the next generation of women by promoting educational opportunities that highlight the talents of our sports medicine leaders, giving the platform to represent Michigan Medicine and stake their place as leaders in the field. Through initiatives such as our first ever “Women in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation: Caring for the Female Athlete” Symposium this month, I am hoping to not only showcase our all-female panel of speakers, but also motivate future female sports medicine leaders in the audience. Offering the female perspective for women’s health issues allows for greater understanding of the assessment, treatment and prevention of those specific concerns.

As a physical therapist specializing in performing arts rehabilitation, I am an advocate for women’s health concerns, as a majority of my patients are females. I aim to educate families, the performing arts community and allied health providers. Bringing their health concerns to the forefront is my mission and assisting them in becoming their own advocate is my goal. Leading by example and inspiring future female leaders in our field, including my daughter, is how I empower the next generation of women.”

Schuyten is a physical therapy clinical specialist and performing arts rehabilitation coordinator at MedSport at Michigan Medicine.

Sarah Shubeck, M.D., M.S.

Photo of Sarah Shubeck, M.D., M.S.
Sarah Shubeck, M.D., M.S.

“I'm so proud to be working hard alongside so many great women to empower ourselves and the next generation. By working to achieve our personal goals and career aspirations, supporting one another, and fighting for changes that improve workplace equity and support, we're honoring our trailblazers and paving the way for those that follow us!”

Shubeck is a general surgery resident at Michigan Medicine.

Luanne Thomas Ewald

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Luanne Thomas Ewald

“It has been a personal mission of mine to develop female talent. It is important as female leaders that we empower and inspire, and help set the path for future generations of leaders.

I mentor high school, college and graduate students who are interested in health administration. You can routinely find a student shadowing me and members of my team to understand the healthcare environment and the important role health care administrators serve in the community. I speak regularly to early female careerists on the art of negotiation, developing their personal brand and networking. I link high potential leaders with existing leaders to make sure we are consistently providing personal and professional growth opportunities. It is our responsibility to help and elevate those female leaders.”

Thomas Ewald is the chief operating officer for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital at Michigan Medicine.