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March 28, 2002

Three Honored for Advancing Women

Chancellor Mike Bishop presented this year's Chancellor's Award for the Advancement of Women to Irene Agnos, assistant vice chancellor of University Relations; Katie Barnes, a fourth-year student in the School of Pharmacy and Nancy Milliken, associate clinical professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.

At a ceremony last week, the recipients thanked their families, friends and colleagues for helping them achieve success.

Agnos said her brother former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos prompted her interest in sports and politics and passion for public service. "My favorite lesson from Art was his way of describing the role of an assertive public servant. He said that you have to have a linebacker's eyes with a Peace Corps heart," she told the audience in a crowded Toland Hall.

Agnos is credited with overseeing the expansion and development of the UCSF Center for Gender Equity, which recently created the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resources Program. Outside UCSF, she is recognized for helping women and children whose lives are devastated by abuse through her work with San Francisco's nonprofit Family Violence Prevention Program. Agnos hopes the Center for Gender Equity will be empowered to tackle this social ill by offering training on campus.

"We know domestic violence doesn't stop when a victim leaves home and comes to work," Agnos said. "UCSF needs to join other large employers that recognize that providing training programs for managers and supportive policies for victims is good for both the institution and the employee. I know this campus can be a role model for the UC system and in doing so we can positively influence the lives of women who work for our institution."

Agnos said UCSF has come a long way in advancing women, but that there is still room for improvement.

"From my view the climate for women staff at UCSF is a good one. But an institution like UCSF, which is great in so many ways, needs to continue to strive to create a great working environment for women that is free from discrimination and inequities. I know Chancellor Bishop and his executive team have the commitment to make that a priority and strive to achieve that goal for our campus."

Barnes is recognized in part as the founder of the Women's Health Organization (WHO), a registered campus organization dedicated to providing women's health information, promoting awareness and serving as a resource on campus and in the community.

Milliken, director of UCSF's National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, is recognized for developing women-focused clinical, educational, and research programs at UCSF. She also is credited for mentoring and promoting faculty and staff women into leadership positions. She has been instrumental in public outreach and education through her participation and leadership in the annual women's health symposium, which this year drew more than 500 to the campus.

"What began as a grassroots effort at UCSF has emerged as a powerful force for change in women's health," Milliken said of the nationally-recognized center. "This would not have been possible without the collaboration, hard work and passion of the folks in the trenches. It would not have happened without our community collaborators: Jackie Speier, Mount Zion Health Fund, advocacy groups and many individuals, some of whom are in the audience today. Nor would it have happened without the support of the leadership of the institution, Mark Laret, Haile Debas and Mike Bishop."

Milliken agrees that more must be done to help women succeed in academic medicine. "The future is bright for women's health at UCSF, but there remain challenges for the advancement of women at UCSF. Under the leadership of Diane Wara and others, we have a history at UCSF of measuring the status of women and finding solutions for the identified problems."

Milliken also mentioned the vital work of the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women (CACSW) and quoted from its most recent annual report.

"Half of all professional school graduates in the western world are women. Women graduates of medical schools are more likely than men to pursue academic careers. However, women have not progressed up the career ladder proportionately to men; women account for only 15 percent of tenured medical faculty and only 6 percent of department chairs. The term 'leaky pipeline' has been applied to describe the attrition of women in science and scientific leadership.'"

Milliken added that UCSF is "fortunate to have a chancellor who listens and has commissioned a climate survey to get beyond the numbers to the faculty perceptions of the work environment, which can promote their success and contributions. Under the leadership of Ruth Greenblatt, CACSW has advanced a comprehensive plan for addressing some of these remaining problems."

She encouraged Chancellor Bishop to adopt CACSW's recommendations and embrace its mission statement, which is, "For UCSF to be a workplace that is especially desirable for women, one that appears in lists of great places for women to work."

"UCSF should not be satisfied with meeting the standard of other academic health centers for the benchmarks are low," Milliken said. "We should be defining the standard of excellence."

Source: Lisa Cisneros


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