The Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS) at the University of Minnesota Medical School recently earned national recognition. The Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group on Women in Medicine and Science awarded the group with the “Emerging Leadership Award for an Organization” — just one of four leadership awards given annually to recognize individuals and organizations that demonstrate a significant impact in the advancement of women’s roles in academic medicine and science.

Established in 2018 under the Office of Faculty Affairs at the Medical School, the CWIMS has executed on an 18-month strategic plan addressing gender equity issues. A unique aspect of the CWIMS is that it aims to be an “incubator for leadership” by creating opportunities to elevate current women leaders and opportunities for emerging women leaders to build leadership skills and experiences while doing the work of CWIMS.

Under the executive leadership of Jerica Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CFLE, a professor and the vice chair of research in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and administrative leadership of Kait Macheledt, BA, the CWIMS utilized a Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) framework to build a shared vision of gender equity across all sectors of the University of Minnesota. Four action groups were created to carry out the CWIMS gender equity initiatives — retention and recruitment; mentoring; salary, resource and leadership equity; and strategic collaborations and communication led by Rebekah Pratt, PhD, Snigdha Pusalavidyasagar, MD, Alicia Kunin-Batson, PhD, and Sara Zimmer, PhD, respectively. 

“This is a very prestigious award that CWIMS is honored to receive,” Dr. Berge said. “What is especially notable is that the award is for an organization. It highlights the teamwork and partnerships that have made this work possible and highly successful.”   

Since 2018, the CWIMS has created a gender equity dashboard used for tracking key gender equity metrics. CWIMS is not only committed to elevating the movement for gender equity but also in creating the science to support it through evidence-based practices and by publishing/presenting the CWIMS work nationally. The organization also provides leadership and facilitation of critical conversations to systematically address and ensure the equitable distribution of salary, resources and strategic leadership opportunities across faculty. The CWIMS has also developed programming and resources and hosts trainings to promote leadership and professional development for faculty.

CWIMS receives this award alongside Harvard Medical School and School of Dental Medicine, the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Drexel University College of Medicine. All four recipients will be formally honored at the GWIMS Virtual Celebration and Business Meeting on Nov. 5, 2020.