Celebrating our Distinguished Medical School Colleagues: Women’s History Month

For Women’s History Month, we are highlighting the extraordinary work of some of our Medical School staff, faculty-physicians and researchers who are advancing medicine through their passion for research, clinical care and training of the next generation of healthcare leaders.

adamsMeredith Adams, MD, MS
Associate Professor
Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery
Celebrating 9.5 years at the Medical School 

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “As a surgeon and clinician-investigator in the field of neurotology, I have the great privilege of contributing to several highly collaborative and multidisciplinary research endeavors, all targeting disorders of the human ear and brain. For example, using a team science approach, we’re working with biomedical engineers, neuroscientists and medical device companies to develop and surgically place a novel implant for the auditory nerve to treat deafness. What is most exciting about this work is that the outcomes of these projects will be directly applied to my patients to improve their health and wellness.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “As you pursue this path, it is vitally important to have support from people who truly believe in you and who want to see you succeed. People from many different fields and spheres of your life may play the roles of encouragers, mentors and sponsors. Be sure to look for opportunities to enthusiastically play these roles in the lives of others as well.”

allenSharon Allen, MD, PhD
Professor
Department of Family Medicine & Community Health
Celebrating 39 years at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I have taught many medical students about interviewing and learning the physical exam in addition to conducting my research with students in the summer. My research has focused on the role of sex hormones in smoking cessation for women. Currently, I have a new R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health that is supporting my research looking at postpartum relapse using bupropion. Outside of research, I see patients and specialize in osteoporosis.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “This is a great profession. Stay focused and find a mentor to help you navigate your course.”

birosMichelle Biros, MD, MS, FACEP
Research Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
Celebrating 28 years at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “Over the last 10 years, I have developed a research coordinator pool consisting of nurses, paramedics and other clinicians, which assists in enrolling potential research participants into several clinical research trials. Our clinical research pool has filled a research need for clinicians who encounter barriers to initiating or continuing complex clinical research trials. I'm proud of what we have been able to offer the Medical School with our research coordinating pool.” 

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: My advice stems from over 30 years as a woman academic physician in the male-dominated field of emergency medicine. Ignore what happens to others and concentrate on what you can do. Work within your own clock and don't compare yourself to others for advancing faster, higher or sooner in the career path you have chosen. Let yourself live a full life that includes attention to family and friends, but do not minimize the time and effort it will take to achieve clinical and academic success.”

camellChristina Camell, PhD
Assistant Professor
Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics
Celebrating 7 months at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I'm struck by the number of collaborations I have developed and that none of these were planned prior to working here. My colleagues are interested and excited to work together. I am also excited that the research we are performing is highly relevant to the general public and focuses on age-related and metabolic-related inflammation. There is a lot of ambition to continue to keep ‘real world' problems at our forefront.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “Be persistent. It may look like a failure or refusal initially, but if you revisit the problem after a few days, there may be a solution. Find good mentors and talk with them to find a solution.”

hatsukamiDorothy Hatsukami, PhD
Professor 
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Celebrating 40 years at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am most proud of my research that has characterized tobacco dependence, sought pharmacological ways to facilitate tobacco cessation and is now focused on regulations that would establish nationwide standards on tobacco products—like reducing nicotine in cigarettes—to decrease its use and harm. Tobacco use results in about 500,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone, and what has been the most enjoyable for me is working with a team of multidisciplinary investigators who are passionate about reducing tobacco-related death and disease.” 

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “Set goals that are meaningful and significant for you, pursue them with passion, embrace opportunities that relate to your goals and remain confident in yourself and your capabilities.”

hordinskyMaria Hordinsky, MD
Department Chair, Professor
Department of Dermatology
Celebrating 40 years at the Medical School 

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am very proud of the growth of the Department of Dermatology since taking over the department when there were only three full-time faculty. Today, we are a department of 17 full-time faculty at the University site, 23 residents, 10 in a five-year internal medicine/dermatology program, 13 in the categorical program and three fellowships. I am also very proud of our expertise and growth in clinical research as well as our innovative faculty and their passion for outstanding clinical care, research and publishing.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “I believe it is an obligation of leaders to insure that women entering medicine have all the tools and resources needed to offer the best patient care possible, run efficient practices and have an excellent quality of life.”

jonesCresta Jones, MD, FACOG
Associate Professor
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women's Health
Celebrating 2.5 years at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am most proud of the work we are doing with the only inpatient program in the state currently caring for pregnant individuals with substance use disorders as well as my recent board certification in addiction medicine. I would never have had these opportunities without joining the faculty here at the University of Minnesota Medical School.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “Always be open to new opportunities. You never know where your career path will lead you.”

leeAnna Lee, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology
Celebrating 5.5 years at the Medical School 

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I'm proud of being able to lead my own research program, to identify interesting scientific questions and to fill something unknown with something known. My work specializes in understanding how genetic and molecular factors influence alcohol and nicotine addiction. I have mostly women in my laboratory, and I'm proud to be able to show them that you can do great science while supporting and uplifting those around you.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “There is no one-size-fits-all path to success, but all paths require persistence and optimism. Don't worry about what others think, and make sure you know who your advocates are.”

nordgrenKendra Nordgren, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Celebrating 6.5 years at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “Being in the classroom, facilitating knowledge discovery for our students, really excites and drives me to continually develop new, creative ways to help students access challenging material. My biggest educational project, done in collaboration with a close colleague, has been to develop a new format for large-group case-based learning. Our method, called Guided Discovery Learning, marries simulated patient experiences with problem-based learning concepts in order to provide a cohesive experience for students where they truly must work together to solve the case mystery, develop a treatment plan and explain, at the molecular level, what is happening with the disease process.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine:Pursue the path that brings you joy and incites passion in you. The road is long and challenging, but when the destination holds deep meaning for you, the journey can be fun too. Make sure to take care of yourself and to seek out mentors who demonstrate the work-life balance you’d like in your future—finding that balance is as much of a skill as the work you’ll do in your career. Lastly, don’t forget to promote yourself; be proud and unapologetic of your strengths and accomplishments.”

owenMary Owen, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Family Medicine & Biobehavioral Health
Celebrating 5.5 years at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am most happy about the community that we, at the Center of American Indian and Minority Health, are building to support Native American students throughout their educational pathway. We are now connected with students and faculty across the disciplines of pharmacy, dentistry and science and engineering, as well as with students and staff from a local high school. We are also connected with the broader Native American community locally, statewide and nationally. All of these connections are critically important in building a network of support for Native students that brings us closer together in this increasingly polarized world.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine:Medicine is a team sport. Patients do better when we work together. Always remember that it is not a weakness to turn to and work with others to solve problems—that is a strength. The different lived and learned experiences of others brings different ideas and solutions to every problem, and this is how we find the best answers for our patients.”

ozGülin Öz , PhD
Professor
Department of Radiology, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research
Celebrating 17 years at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am most proud of the collaborative work we have done. I have wonderful collaborators, like Elizabeth Seaquist and Harry Orr, with whom we applied high-end magnetic resonance imaging technology to longstanding biomedical questions. Such local collaborations then led to multi-institutional collaborations and global initiatives to develop non-invasive imaging biomarkers to be used in upcoming clinical trials.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “Choose a field or research topic that you are passionate about, even if that is not a popular area at the moment. In other words, choose your own path, rather than following the crowd, since passion and curiosity will lead to the drive and diligent hard work that is needed for excellence. While pursuing your passion, treat yourself kindly, do not hesitate to ask for help and use your support network as much as you can. It is our close friends, colleagues and families that keep us going.”

powellDeborah Powell, MD
Professor
Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology
Celebrating 17.5 years at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am proud of many things that I accomplished as the first female dean of the Medical School (2002-2009), such as instituting the Flexible MD Program for medicals students, starting the Minnesota Future Doctors pipeline program at the suggestion of two students and recruiting a large number of department chairs. Since 2009, I have worked to conceive and help launch a national time-variable, competency-based education program—EPAC—which made the Medical School one of four participating schools. Additionally, I have directed the first and second-year pathology teaching programs and won a teaching award from the second-year medical students.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “Medicine is a wonderfully stimulating career. There are still issues for women in medicine, including gender equity in pay and promotion, and there are still far too few women at the higher administrative ranks in medicine, such as department chairs and deans. However, progress is being made, and I cannot think of a better career.”

richtsfeldMartina Richtsfeld, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Anesthesiology
Celebrating 6.5 years at the Medical School

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am most proud of helping build a dedicated team of anesthesiologists who take care of pediatric patients with congenital heart disease. This team has improved and advanced the care of our patients by implementing new approaches in anesthetic care, as well as improved communication with all members of the pediatric cardiac care team.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “I would advise young women interested in pursuing medicine to follow their dream and to not be concerned about the potential hardship they might endure during their training. The field of medicine offers many ways of making a difference aside from patient care, which I thought would be the most rewarding aspect of my career.”

salehiParisa Salehi, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Celebrating 4 years at the Medical School 

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am most proud of the excellent care that we deliver for our medically-complex patients at the U. I work with many patients that cannot be managed anywhere else in the Twin Cities, including patients with LVAD (an implanted device for patients with severe heart failure), solid organ or bone marrow transplants or who have suffered from stroke or spinal cord injuries post-surgery. We have the luxury of being at a university full of consultants and subspecialty physicians who can help provide this special care, and it makes me very confident in delivering care for this patient population.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “Research your choices well, plan your professional and social life as much as possible and then, when it's time to pursue medicine, stay driven and goal-oriented all the time.”

sandovalCarolina Sandoval-Garcia, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Neurosurgery 
Celebrating 1.5 years at the Medical School 

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am very proud of the team we have assembled and the opportunities we have created for the continued growth of pediatric neurosurgery in our system. I was selected as assistant residency director recently, so I am excited to adopt a leading role in the education of our residents and students and combine this with my research interests in novel neuroimaging techniques and their application to neurosurgical conditions.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “Identify good mentors and partners in work and in life. Set up clear goals that closely align with your interests and passions and work hard to get there.”

seaquistElizabeth Seaquist, MD
Professor
Department of Medicine
Celebrating 31 years at the Medical School 

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I am most proud of being able to support the career development of others. It is incredibly rewarding to see my mentees succeed in academic medicine. I am also proud of contributing to the growth of two teams that support different aspects of clinical investigation; one uses high-field magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging to examine the impact of diabetes and insulin-induced hypoglycemia in the brain, and the other has participated in three of the most important multicenter trials addressing diabetes treatment issues in the last 20 years.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “Follow your passion. Be persistent. Learn from your mistakes. Keep the needs of the patient front and center.”

terezakisStephanie Terezakis, MD
Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology 
Celebrating 1 year at the Medical School 

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “I have a particular interest in trying to improve the cure rate for children with pediatric sarcomas by using a more advanced form of radiation therapy to treat all sites of disease. Given that children are also very sensitive to radiation, I also have a research interest in utilizing functional imaging to evaluate the effects of radiation on normal tissues like the brain. Ultimately, our goal is to increase the cure rate for children with cancer, while we simultaneously decrease the long-term effects of treatment, to improve the lives of childhood cancer survivors.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “It’s important to work hard and pursue excellence. Attention to detail is so critical when patients are entrusting you with their care. It’s also critical to remember that being true to yourself and your values is important to perform at your best. Embrace your unique identity.”

wangSonya Wang, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
Celebrating 2.5 years at the Medical School 

Accomplishments at the Medical School: “After practicing as a full-time pediatric neurologist for 10 years, while balancing motherhood with four kids, I decided to challenge myself with a research career. Frustrated with the limitations of treatments available in my field of pediatric neurology, I felt the best impact I might have on these children was to dedicate myself to research and push the envelope in the field of pediatric neurodevelopment. Despite all those who tried to persuade me to reconsider a life of research, I found amazing mentors at the University of Minnesota and was able to obtain NIH grant funding on my first try to research the effects of music-based intervention (MBI) on neurodevelopment and pain response in preterm infants.”

Advice to Women Interested in Medicine: “Don't ever give up. Spend some time to find your true passion, and make sure that your true passion is what makes you happy. That happiness will fuel your perseverance.”

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