The Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS) uses a Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach which acknowledges community members (e.g., faculty members, staff), academic organizational representatives (e.g., Department Chairs, center directors), and administrative leaders (e.g., Deans) as equally important contributors in carrying out all aspects of gender equity work. CBPR values collaborative approaches that empower faculty, promote co-learning and co-creation of initiatives among all university partners, and build upon strengths and resources that already exist in the academic community.
Our CWIMS action groups utilize CBPR principles (e.g., co-creation and co-learning) to implement four initiatives including:
- Retention and Recruitment
- Salary, Resource, Leadership Equity
- Strategic Communications and Collaborations.
Director - Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS)
Jerica M. Berge, Ph.D., MPH, LMFT, CFLE is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Berge is both a behavioral medicine clinician and researcher. Dr. Berge is a licensed mental health therapist and supervisor who specializes in integrated care and community-based partnerships to address family health issues. Her NIH research agenda focuses on women’s health issues and sex-differences in weight-related health behaviors across the lifespan. She is the director of the Healthy Eating and Activity across the Lifespan (HEAL) Center and is the co-program director for the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) study. Additionally, she is the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.
Administrative Associate - Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS)
Kait Macheledt BA, MPH (candidate), has a dual appointment at the Center for Women in Medicine and Science and the NIH funded UMN K12 Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) Program. Through her work as an associate administrator, she supports institutional capacities to eradicate gender-based inequities in the practice and profession of academic medicine and science. She has experience working across disciplines and institutional rank to execute fact-finding projects aimed at developing key, actionable insights. She sees sensitive, complex projects through from conception to realization. She aspires to take on increasingly complex leadership roles and to utilize her administrative skills and equity mindset within a future career as a clinician-researcher.
Action Group Leader - Retention and Recruitment
Sade Spencer, PhD received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where she developed a love for both college football and science. She pursued a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center studying the links between the molecular circadian clock and the mesolimbic reward pathway. She completed postdoctoral training at the Medical University of South Carolina investigating the neurobiological substrates of drug addiction and relapse using rodent models. In 2018, Dr. Spencer joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota as a member of the newly founded Medical Discovery Team on Addiction. Dr. Spencer’s research program is focused on elucidating the trajectory of neuroplasticity, neurochemistry and behavior associated with chronic drug use. These interests extend to investigating the individual differences that influence vulnerability to substance use disorders including an understanding of how sex differences may play a role. Dr. Spencer is also active in diversity, equity, and inclusion work both at the University of Minnesota level and externally. She has been involved with the Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS) since the fall of 2018 where she helps facilitate a peer-mentoring program as part of her work with the Recruitment and Retention Action Group.
Action Group Leader - Mentoring
Snigdhasmrithi Pusalvidyasagar (“Sagar”), MD, FAASM is an Assistant Professor of Sleep Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine within the Department of Medicine. She is a graduate of Osmania Medical College (Hyderbad, India), completed her internal medicine residency at Howard University (Washington, D.C.), and a sleep medicine fellowship at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN). Before her sleep medicine fellowship, she practiced primary care in a medically-underserved rural setting and was a research fellow in cardiovascular physiology at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Sagar joined the Center for Women in Medicine and Science in June 2018 as the Action Group Leader for the Mentoring Action Group and is passionate about the advancement of the CWIMS mission and addressing all forms of inequity.
Action Group Leader - Salary, Resource, and Leadership Equity
Alicia Kunin-Batson, PhD, LP, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. She is both a pediatric neuropsychologist and researcher. Dr. Kunin-Batson joined the Center for Women in Medicine and Science in June 2018 as the Action Group Leader for the Salary, Resource, Leadership Equity Action Group and is passionate about the advancement of the CWIMS mission and addressing all forms of inequity.
Action Group Leader - Strategic Communications and Collaborations
Sara Zimmer, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences- Duluth Campus. Dr. Zimmer is a native of Minnesota. She studies the insect-transmitted protozoan parasites Trypanosoma brucei and Trypanosoma cruzi that cause deadly, neglected tropical diseases in Africa and South America, respectively. Her laboratory focuses on understanding how the changes to gene expression and metabolism which are essential for navigation of these parasites’ complicated dual-host life cycles are executed. Dr. Zimmer is currently funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the American Heart Association. Dr. Zimmer joined the Center for Women in Medicine and Science in June 2018 as the Action Group Leader for the Strategic Communications and Collaborations Action Group and is passionate about the advancement of the CWIMS mission and addressing all forms of inequity.