Susan Girdler, PhD, professor of psychiatry and psychology, and the director of the Stress & Health Research Program at the UNC School of Medicine, was honored as the faculty winner. Awards were also given to an outstanding undergraduate student, graduate student, and staff member at a ceremony held on March 7.
Girdler was honored for her work to create strong mentorship connections among female faculty at the School of Medicine and beyond.
A few years ago, Girdler heard from women early in their academic careers who felt overly stressed and isolated from their male colleagues. As a way to foster connections, she helped create the organization Women in Science Deserve Opportunities and Mentoring (WISDOM). What started as a series of monthly lunch discussions surrounding Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller Lean In has grown into an organization with members from across the SOM that sponsors events and professional development opportunities. Girdler is also current President of the Association for Professional Women in Medical Sciences, which she says includes many more senior faculty members who are willing to discuss how they got to their current positions and help support younger faculty members on the way up.
Along with Amelia Drake, MD, Girdler leads the Caregivers at Carolina program. The program – supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation – helps early-career physician-scientists, both men and women, continue their patient-centered research amid extraprofessional caregiving demands.