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Awards Provide Crucial Support to Female Investigators

Pictured, from left, are Nancy Rigotti, MD, director of the Center for Faculty Development; Kori Zachrison, MD, MSc; Laura Dichtel, MD, MHS; Kimberly Blumenthal, MD, MSc; Anne Klibanski, MD, chief of Neuroendicrinology and Partners HealthCare chief academic officer; Jenna Galloway, PhD; Karen Nanji, MD, MPH; and Emily Hyle, MD, MSc.

Innovation Story

Awards Provide Crucial Support to Female Investigators

To help address gender disparities in science and medicine, Mass General’s Claflin Distinguished Scholars Awards provide financial support to help women scientists maintain research productivity during child-rearing years.

Joelle Zaslow
August 14, 2018

Despite progress, gender disparities still exist in science and medicine. Recent research has found that women are often offered lower pay and do not receive equal opportunities to advance to leadership positions. Mothers are also at a disadvantage in trying to balance their professional and personal lives.

Now in its 21st year, the award continues to be … an important pipeline for women leaders in science and medicine.

To help address this disparity, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Claflin Distinguished Scholars Awards provide financial support to help maintain research productivity during child-rearing years for junior faculty. The annual scholarship is named in honor of Jane Claflin, a Mass General Board of Trustees member from 1973 to 1989 and a leading supporter of the creation of the Office for Women’s Careers within the Center for Faculty Development. Now in its 21st year, the award continues to be not only a fitting tribute to its namesake, but an important pipeline for women leaders in science and medicine.

We asked the 2018 recipients to tell us what this award means to them and their research. Here’s what they said:

Kimberly Blumenthal, MD, MSc, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Unit

Receiving the Claflin award this year is meaningful on many levels. First, there is direct meaning from the support that the Claflin funding provides. Because of the Claflin, I now have a research team that can help support my work and help me as I apply for R01 level funding in the coming year while maintaining a household with three young children. Second, having been chosen for this award will remind me that MGH believes in my future as an investigator. I imagine that I might rely on this sense of accomplishment to invigorate me during busy and challenging times. Finally, I am simply honored to join the network of prior Claflin awardees, and hope that my research career might be as bright as theirs.

Read more about Mass General’s efforts to encourage diversity:
Podcast Showcases Mass General Female Leaders
Transgender Care Undergoing a Transformation
Researchers Gather Data Aiming to Reflect Diversity

Laura Dichtel, MD, MHS, Neuroendocrine and Pituitary Tumor Clinical Center

I learned that I was a recipient of a 2018 Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award just a few months prior to the birth of my third child, so needless to say, the award was ideally timed! I’m so appreciative of this award that will help support my research program and career development during a period when caring for my children is particularly time and resource-intensive. Additionally, it is an honor to be included among the ranks of such an inspiring group of women in the Claflin community.

Jenna Galloway, PhD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Center for Regenerative Medicine

I was very happy to hear that I had received the Claflin award. The research in my lab is focused on tendon regenerative biology, and this award will allow me to pursue a new exciting direction focused on understanding the molecular pathways regulating how tendons adapt to changes in physical activity. I also am delighted to become a part of the Claflin community and am grateful that Mrs. Claflin, her family, and MGH recognize the importance of supporting women at this critical time in their careers.

Emily Hyle, MD, MSc, Infectious Disease Associates

I am incredibly grateful to receive a Claflin Award this year! I have been collaborating with the Global TravEpiNet (GTEN) Consortium to use simulation modeling to examine the cost-effectiveness of specific components of the pretravel health encounter – so far, we have been focused on reducing measles importations among US international travelers. Thanks to the Claflin Award, I’ll be able to pursue a new dimension to this existing collaboration: traveler’s diarrhea. I will be designing a novel simulation model to investigate the benefits and downsides to prescribing empiric antibiotics to all departing travelers.

I appreciate the support and the acknowledgment of the particular challenges of this career stage and stage of life.
— Kori Zachrison

Karen Nanji, MD, MPH, Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine

I am honored and grateful to receive the MGH Claflin Award. The funds will provide the resources necessary to advance our work in medication safety. In particular, the award will allow us to further refine and test a novel electronic clinical decision support system that we developed to help prevent medication errors in the operating room.

Kori Zachrison, MD, MSc, Emergency Medicine

I am honored to have received the Claflin Award. I am grateful for this vote of confidence from the institution, and I appreciate the support and the acknowledgment of the particular challenges of this career stage and stage of life.

The impact of the Claflin Award is highlighted in a Proto magazine interview Mothers in Medicine featuring pediatric radiation oncologist Nancy Tarbell, MD, the first director of the Mass General Office for Women’s Careers, and now dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs at Harvard Medical School, and Daphne Holt, MD, a Mass General neurobiologist, psychiatrist, MGH Research Scholar, and 2014 Claflin Award recipient.

The Research Institute: Saving Lives Through Science

mghri_220aThe Massachusetts General Hospital Research Institute is the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with a community of more than 8,500 people working across more than 30 institutes, centers and departments.

Our researchers work side-by-side with physicians to pioneer the latest scientific advancements for curing disease and healing patients in Boston, across the United States and around the world.

To learn more about the Research Institute, please visit our website.