Dual awards pay tribute to gender equity trailblazers

MD Anderson Kripke award to Karen Antman; President’s award to Alma Rodriguez

MD Anderson News Release 03/18/13  

HOUSTON -- The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will recognize two leading advocates for women in medicine and research on March 19 at 4 p.m. in MD Anderson’s Onstead Auditorium.

Karen Antman, M.D., provost of the Boston University Medical Campus and dean of its School of Medicine since 2005, is the recipient of the 2013 Margaret L. Kripke Legend Award for Promotion of Women in Cancer Medicine and Cancer Research. She will deliver the Kripke lecture, “Kripke, a Role Model for Today’s Leaders in Cancer Research and an Update on the Progress of Women.”

Maria Alma Rodriguez, M.D., vice president of Medical Affairs and professor of Lymphoma/Myeloma at MD Anderson, is the recipient of the institution’s inaugural President’s Leadership Award for Advancing Women Faculty. Her presentation is titled “Advancement of Women Faculty Matters.”

“I’m delighted that we honor and recognize two people who advocate above and beyond the expected for the career advancement of women faculty,” said MD Anderson President Ronald DePinho,M.D. “Recipients of both awards were chosen based on demonstrating, through their words and actions, a deep personal and professional commitment to this value.”

Antman acts as role model, change agent

Antman, an internationally recognized expert on breast cancer, mesotheliomas and sarcomas, advocates for leadership diversity and leverages her academic position to support faculty development programs and research on women in academic medicine. An inspiration and mentor to many women, she recognizes her opportunity to be a role model, change agent and voice for others.

“The Kripke award is a tremendous honor,” Antman said. “Margaret Kripke is a pioneer who opened doors for me and many other women in medicine and science.  As president of the American Association for Cancer Research, she gave me the first opportunity to be an AACR program chair, and I’ve always regarded her as a role model.”

As a cancer physician scientist, Antman is widely known for developing a standard treatment regimen for sarcomas, as well as for her team’s research on blood growth factors. She fought for insurance coverage of patients involved in clinical trials, which resulted in improved relationships between investigative research and the insurance industry.

“Dr. Antman’s accomplishments set a very high bar that signals to women faculty that leadership positions such as hers are obtainable,” said Elizabeth Travis, Ph.D., MD Anderson associate vice president of Women Faculty Programs. “Walking in Margaret Kripke’s footsteps, she’s an ideal Legend Award recipient.”

The award recognizes scientific and medical leaders who have made extraordinary efforts to hire diverse workforces, promote women to leadership roles, nominate women for awards and otherwise advance their careers. It was established in honor of Professor Emerita Margaret Kripke, Ph.D., a distinguished scientist who achieved many firsts for women at MD Anderson, culminating in her appointment as executive vice president and chief academic officer.

Rodriguez inspires, encourages women faculty

A noted scientist and oncologist, Rodriguez developed and oversees MD Anderson’s Survivorship Program, Quality Officer Program and Psychosocial Council. She also developed the hospital’s Nocturnalist Program. Her clinical expertise is in the treatment of lymphoid malignancies, with a focus on aggressive B-cell lymphomas, and salvage chemotherapy.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this award,” Rodriguez said. “Not only is this the first time this recognition has been given to someone within our institution, but it is also a very meaningful symbol of our commitment to leadership development for women.”

Nominations and support letters for Rodriguez, a strong testament to the scope of her impact and the respect accorded her by colleagues, mention her strong personal and professional commitment to the advancement of women. She inspires and encourages women to fill leadership roles and succeed in these roles through her position of influence and authority.

“Dr. Rodriguez stands out among many for her personal and professional commitment to the advancement of women faculty,” Travis said. “She embodies the intent of this new award through her encouragement, her actions and her words.”

The President’s Leadership Award was established by DePinho to recognize one MD Anderson faculty member each year who has made a significant impact on the career advancement of MD Anderson women faculty. It is also intended to highlight the institution’s desire to be a national leader in advancing the careers of women in academic science and medicine.