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Woman Leading the Way

Elizabeth L. Travis, Ph.D., FASTRO, was elected chair of Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) Steering Committee at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is the 2014 recipient of The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award by The American Association for Women Radiologists (AAWR).

Dr. Elizabeth TravisDr. Travis is the Associate Vice President for Women Faculty Programs, Mattie Allen Fair Professor in Cancer Research and Professor in the Departments of Experimental Radiation Oncology and Pulmonary Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  

Dr. Travis, an internationally recognized scientist, has made significant contributions to our understanding of the effects of radiation on normal tissues in her 25 years in the field.  She is best known for her pioneering work in developing a non-invasive method for measuring breathing rate in mice as an indicator of radiation damage, which remains the standard technique for assessing lung injury not only in the radiation field but in the pulmonary research community as well. She is past President of the Radiation Research Society and the first radiobiologist to be elected to the Board of the American Society of Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Travis has demonstrated a lifelong dedication to advancing faculty in academic medicine and science. She served as chair of the Faculty Senate at MD Anderson Cancer Center where she was instrumental in the initial policy to extend the tenure clock for personal reasons. Over time, her mission to promote and sustain an inclusive faculty became specifically focused on women faculty, and in 2007 was appointed Associate Vice President for Women Faculty Programs at MDACC, an office that she has built from scratch. In her leadership role, she is a consummate advocate for women faculty and is committed to furthering their academic careers by ensuring they are appointed to high profile committees and leadership positions, by leading institutional policy change to address obstacles that interfere with women’s success, and by providing career guidance to countless women faculty. In addition, she serves as a role model, not only for young women but for leaders in academic medicine.

Dr. Travis is a principal investigator on two NIH grants, a U54 partnership grant with Puerto Rico, “Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research” where she also is co-leader of the training and education program, and an R01 grant “Gatekeepers and Gender Schemas,” which seeks to understand the role that gender plays in choosing faculty for tenure track positions.

Her many honors include election as a fellow of the American Society of Radiation Oncology (FASTRO). She is the recipient of the Association of American Medical College Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) Leadership Development Award in 2009 (for an individual) and in 2012 (for an organization). She is the immediate past President of Women Executives in Science and Healthcare. Dr. Travis was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2012 that honors women who have contributed significantly to the advancement of women and improved the quality of life for future generations of Houstonians and was elected a member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber in 2013. In 2014, Dr. Travis was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association for Women in Science and recognized at the Houston Italian Cultural and Community Center’s 12th annual gala honoring the Italian Influence in Medicine.

Most recently she was elected chair of Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) Steering Committee at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). As the incoming chair of GWIMS, Dr. Travis is the first non-physician to hold this position. GWIMS advances the full and successful participation and inclusion of women within academic medicine by addressing gender equity, recruitment and retention, awards and recognition, and career advancement. As chair of the GWIMS steering committee, Dr. Travis will work with the group to plan and participate in the GWIMS Annual Meeting program, to advise staff on development of professional development activities for faculty, and to recommend AAMC policy and program directions relative to women in medicine.

Dr. Travis is the recipient of the 2014 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award by The American Association for Women Radiologists (AAWR), a professional organization for women radiologists established in 1981 with focus on providing a forum for issues unique to women in radiology, radiation oncology and related professions; sponsoring programs that promote opportunities for women; and facilitating networking among members and other professionals. The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award is presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of women in radiology/radiation oncology. Dr. Travis will receive her award at the RSNA Annual Meeting on December 1, 2014.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center