APRIL 3, 2006 | About 50 women faculty members of the College of Medicine gathered at Trio’s restaurant March 16 to honor one of their own at the sixth annual Women’s Faculty Development Caucus awards dinner.
Cynthia Kane, Ph.D., associate professor of neurobiology and developmental sciences, was selected by a caucus vote from among five nominees for the Outstanding Woman Faculty Award, which honors mentorship, leadership, scholarship and achievement.
You guys are the pride of my heart,” Kane said as she accepted the award. She challenged each of the women to try to help another in her career development. Kane is a past president of the Women’s Caucus and remains active on the research committee and its mentoring efforts.
Before the winner was announced, last year’s winner Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., professor and executive vice chairman, Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics, read the full nominations as roses were presented to each nominee.
“This is one of the most rewarding inspirational and meaningful evenings. We are here among some of the strongest women pioneers and women trailblazers,” Wei said.
The evening began with appetizers and dinner, after which Caucus President Kathleen Gilbert, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology, invited several faculty members to talk about the joys and benefits of mentoring their junior colleagues.
Debra Fiser, M.D., chairwoman of the Department of Pediatrics, said the group began on St. Patrick’s Day in 1985 when several women faculty members gathered to start a mentoring group and talk about how they could help each other attain their professional goals.
“There were junior faculty scientists who didn’t have someone to help then learn what it takes to be competitive as a scientist,” she said.
Lee Lee Doyle, Ph.D., assistant dean for faculty development in the Office of Faculty Affairs, said, “Mentoring does make a difference in promotion. By mentoring we gain by giving.”
Debra Simmons, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine, said Paula Anderson, M.D., professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine, was her mentor for two years and helped her move from assistant professor to associate professor. Without
Then Simmons was tagged to be a mentor. “It was really quite fun meeting with my protégés and helping direct them to get promoted,” she said
Anissa Buckner, Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology, spoke from the perspective of a protégé. She said her mentor, Gwen Childs, Ph.D., professor and chairwoman of the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, “helped me get on track with my professional development.”
She said mentoring doesn’t have to be over lunch or dinner, “but it can be a phone call or an e-mail.” The relationship helped Buckner develop contacts for collaborating on projects. “It helps to have an unbiased opinion, a fresh set of eye,” she said, noting the unintentional pun.
Tamara T. Perry, M.D., instructor in the Department of Pediatrics, said she e-mails or talks to her mentor at least once a week. “It helps to keep my goals in perspective and make me accountable for my time,” she said. “My mentor also gives me advice on how to juggle being a mom, wife and academician.”
Kane was nominated by Margaret Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition; Diana Lindquist, Ph.D., research assistant professor of radiology; and Judith Weber, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics; who were all mentored by Kane.
The three said Kane is “an exceptional local, national and international leader” and “an incredible mentor to three junior women faculty and numerous students.”
Some of her accomplishments include recently chairing an international symposium on alcohol abuse and neuroinflammation, serving on the board of an international journal and chairing the Arkansas Academy of Sciences meeting. She has more than $1 million in National Institutes of Health funding and was the first researcher to show that microglial cells are direct targets of alcohol-induced pathology.
“Despite being a scientific giant, she is a very warm, caring and exceptional person who always finds time to help,” the nominators wrote.
The other nominees were
- Kathleen Gilbert, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology
- Joan Cramner, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and pharmacology and toxicology
- Carmelita Pablo, M.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology
- Jeannette M. Shorey II, M.D., associate dean for continuing medical education and faculty affairs
Other Caucus officers are: Mary Aitken, M.D., M.P.H., and Dana Gaddy, Ph.D.
The dinner and Outstanding Woman Faculty award has been sponsored by Arvest Bank for six years.