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M. D. Anderson's Head of Women Faculty Programs, Elizabeth Travis, Receives 2009 AAMC Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award

Honor recognizes contributions to the advancement of women leaders in academic medicine

M. D. Anderson News Release 11/10/09

Elizabeth Travis, Ph.D., associate vice president for Women Faculty Programs and professor in the Departments of Experimental Radiation Oncology and Pulmonary Medicine at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, has received the 2009 Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award.

The honor was presented today during a luncheon at the AAMC annual meeting in Boston. This distinction recognizes organizations and individuals who encourage academic women leaders through professional development and individual accomplishments, as well as create an environment conducive to their success. Travis is one of 17 people to receive this honor since 1993.

"I have really enjoyed working with Dr. Travis over the past two years and admire her dedication to promote the careers of women faculty at M. D. Anderson," said Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., provost and executive vice president at M. D. Anderson. "She works very hard on multiple fronts to support and advance the careers of our faculty in a number of ways."

After earning a doctorate in experimental radiation from the Medical University of South Carolina, Travis completed post-graduate training at the Mount Vernon Hospital Gray Laboratory in the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979. She returned to the United States and served at the National Cancer Institute in 1979, and joined M. D. Anderson faculty in 1982 as associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Experimental Radiotherapy. She was appointed professor in 1988. In 1997, she was named the Mattie Allen Fair Professor in Cancer Research - a position she still holds today. In 2003, Travis received a joint appointment as professor in the Department of Pulmonary Medicine.

Her advocacy for the advancement of women began in the early 1990s, when Travis helped establish M. D. Anderson's Women and Faculty Administrators Organization, a group committed to pursuing gender equity for women and minority faculty members. Her leadership for female faculty began eight years later, when she served as director for Women Faculty Initiatives in 1998. She was named advisor to the vice president for institutional diversity on women's issues from 2000 to 2001, then associate vice president for academic affairs in 2004. Travis has served in her current role since 2006.

"It's a great honor to be recognized for my contributions to improve the careers of women in cancer research and medicine," Travis said. "Although we've made great strides to further advance this group, I will continue to pursue my vision for an organization committed to developing women physicians and scientists who will emerge as strong leaders in this field and examples for future generations."

As head of Women Faculty Programs at M. D. Anderson, Travis has developed programs to bring high-profile leaders to the institution, mentored numerous women faculty, and identified opportunities to nominate women for awards outside and within the institution.

To improve retention of women faculty, Travis spearheaded a policy change that extends the tenure clock for faculty members who are affected by a debilitating illness or expecting or adopting a child. She also established an annual salary review process to ensure equal compensation for women and minorities.

To inspire future generations of women scientists, Travis created the book, Legends and Legacies: Personal Journeys of Women Physicians and Scientists at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Published in 2008, it features the personal journeys of 26 women faculty while in pursuit of their careers.

Also, Travis established and secured an endowment for the Margaret L. Kripke Legend Award that recognizes an individual for his or her contributions to the advancement of women in cancer science and medicine; the inaugural award was presented this year.

Over her career, Travis has served on more than 65 M. D. Anderson committees, received numerous awards that recognize her contributions to cancer research and authored more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is a member of eight professional societies and was recently appointed to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements and named chair of the AACR Women in Cancer Research Council.

"Dr. Travis has been a strong advocate for the advancement of women in academic medicine, both at M. D. Anderson and nationally," said Margaret Kripke, Ph.D., special advisor to the provost at M. D. Anderson. "I can think of no one who has brought more energy and dedication to promoting career opportunities for women in academic medicine and provided more enduring contributions." 11/10/09

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