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:

  1. Retention and Recruitment
  2. Mentoring
  3. Salary, Resource, Leadership Equity
  4. Promotion.

Find out more about our Action Groups.

CWIMS works to:


  • Advance policies and collaborations that support the recruitment and retention of a thriving, diverse faculty community.
  • Build mentoring resources, networks, and role modeling opportunities for both new and established faculty.
  • Systematically address and ensure the equitable distribution of salary, resources, and strategic leadership opportunities across all faculty.
  • Strategically communicate and collaborate across the University system, locally, regionally and nationally to disseminate best practices regarding gender equity in academic medicine and science.
  • Support collaborative action initiatives to ensure safety, equity and dignity for all.
  • Carry out pioneering research on gender equity and women’s health issues.

CWIMS is the direct result of the University of Minnesota’s recognition of the importance for gender-equitable and diverse academic and clinical environments. It also promotes the attainment of gender equity competencies required of future physicians to be successful in our exceedingly diverse healthcare systems.



Director - Center for Women in Medcine and Science - Dr. Michelle Rheault, MD

Dr. Michelle Rheault is a board certified pediatric nephrologist and Professor of Pediatrics. She completed her Pediatric Nephrology fellowship at the University of Minnesota in 2006 followed by a research fellowship at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2008 and is currently the Director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology and medical director of the pediatric dialysis unit. She is on the steering committee of the Pediatric Nephrology Research Consortium, a clinical research network that aims to facilitate collaboration in pediatric nephrology. Her clinical and research interests include Alport syndrome and other genetic kidney diseases, pediatric glomerular disease, and pediatric end stage kidney disease.

 "Administrator - Center for Women in Medicine and Science - Vanessa Hemmingsen"



Action Group Leader - Retention and Recruitment - Dr. Deanna Teoh, MD, MS

Dr. Deanna Teoh, MD, MS  is an Associate Professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women’s Health. She graduated summa cum laude from Macalester College (2000) with a Bachelor’s degree in Music. She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin (2004). She completed residency training in Obstetrics & Gynecology at University of California San Francisco (2008) and subsequently complete subspecialty fellowship training in Gynecologic Oncology at Duke University (2011). Dr. Teoh joined the faculty at University of Minnesota in 2011. Her research focuses on prevention of cervical and other HPV-associated cancers through development of evidence-based practice guidelines, and optimization of guideline communication using novel methods to the general population. Dr. Teoh has established an HPV clinic dedicated to evaluation and management of pre invasive cervical and lower genital tract pre-invasive disease. She is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of healthcare providers and researchers, especially women and individuals with identities that are underrepresented in Medicine. Dr. Teoh has been the Action Group leader for the Retention & Recruitment Action Group since May 2023.

Headshot of An Church, MD

Action Group Leader - Mentoring 

An Church, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology. Dr. Church has been the Action Group Leader for the Mentoring Action Group since July 2021.


Action Group Leader - Salary, Resource, and Leadership Equity

Sima I. Patel, MD, is an Assistant Professor in Neurology at the University of Minnesota. Since 2012, she has been a full-time clinician focusing on complex epilepsy management with surgical interventions and pharmacological treatments at the University of Minnesota Physicians/MINCEP Epilepsy Care. She earned her undergraduate degree in community health and health administration from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago. She completed her neurology residency training at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and a 2-year epilepsy fellowship at Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. She is passionate about resident education, female physician empowerment, epilepsy research pertaining to women with epilepsy, and epilepsy clinical drug trials. Dr. Patel has been the Action Group Leader for the Salary, Resource, Leadership Equity Action Group since June 2022.

Action Group Leader - - Promotion - Dr. Ariela Marshall, MD

Ariela Marshall, MD  is a hematologist specializing in disorders of thrombosis (clotting) and hemostasis (bleeding). She practices in the inpatient consultative setting, where she helps teams manage disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis in hospitalized patients. Dr. Marshall has a specific interest in women's health and how clotting and bleeding disorders are impact and are impacted by issues including menorrhagia, pregnancy, menopause, and gender-affirming hormonal therapy. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Marshall is an advocate for women (physicians and patients) and focuses her advocacy efforts on gender equity in medicine as well as leadership development for women physicians. She has been the Action Group leader for the Promotion Action Group since September 2023.