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AMWA Leaders at the 3rd Annual NIH Vivian W. Pinn Symposium

The 3rd Annual NIH Vivian W. Pinn Symposium Leveraging the Network to Advance Women in Science was held May 16, 2018 at the National Library of Medicine, Lister Hill C

L-R: Dr. Suzanne Harrison, Dr. Eliza Lo Chin, Dr. Vivian Pinn, Dr. Connie Newman, Dr. Janine Clayton

enter. The symposium was hosted by Janine Austin Clayton, MD, Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health and Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health. AMWA Leaders, Dr. Connie Newman, Dr. Suzanne Harrison and Dr. Eliza Lo Chin represented AMWA.

The agenda featured outstanding presentations by

Vivian W. Pinn, MD
Senior Scientist Emerita, Fogarty International Center
Former Director, NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health

Kay Lund, PhD
Director, Division of Biomedical Research Workforce Programs Office of Extramural Research
Co-Chair, Working Group on Strengthening the Biomedical Workforce

Daniel E. Ford, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine; Director, Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
BIRCHWH Principal Investigator, Johns Hopkins University

Rachel Heller, PhD
Professor of Computer Science
The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science

A moderated panel discussion was led by Janet Bandows Koster, MBA, Executive Director and CEO of Association for Women in Science.

Highlights from the symposium included discussions about strategies for a successful research career, mentorship, and Catalytic Connections, a professional development and networking session.

Some take home points included the following:

  • In scientific disciplines, women have less opportunity for advancement. For example, 25% of deans and department heads in the U.S. are women.  However, in science, women account for only 5% of deans.
  • Data suggest that diversity, including gender diversity (eg, more women), in research teams leads to better research and more scientific discoveries. Such diversity expands not only expertise, but also opinions, questions, and topics investigated.  (Nielsen MW, et al PNAS 2017: 1740-42)
  • Key factors in resiliency include social competence, a problem solving mindset, autonomy or self-awareness, a sense of purpose, and a belief in a bright future, strong relationships, mindfulness, and support.
  • Mentoring is not a one-size fits all. Key elements in a successful mentoring program include structure, training for mentors and mentees, appropriate matching, confidential communication, program monitoring, and temporal parameters for the mentoring relationship.

“The NIH Vivian W. Pinn Symposium was established in recognition of Dr. Vivian Pinn’s longstanding leadership in women’s health research. Dr. Pinn was the first full-time director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), from 1991 to 2011, and the first permanent NIH Associate Director of Research on Women’s Health. Throughout her 20-year career as director of ORWH, Dr. Pinn led NIH efforts to implement and monitor the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research funded by NIH. The annual symposium is held during National Women’s Health Week, and features key topics and speakers that are relevant to scientific audiences or the public.” (NIH-ORWH)

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