“I wanted to see more women in academic medicine and, as a geriatrician I was concerned that the health and health care needs of the older women were being neglected in the growing dialogue around women's health.”
“...CREATING A SYMPHONY OF HEALTHY CHANGES”
Thanks to her work as a waitress in the early 1970s, Molly Carnes has become a leader in transforming the medical academic culture to be more welcoming of women and supportive of their career advancement. "I was a college drop-out, waiting on tables and all of sudden I realized that after eight hours, all I had were sore feet and a pocketful of change. But after eight hours of studying, I would be eight hours smarter. So I chose medicine!" she explains.
Trained in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the University of Wisconsin, where she also earned a Masters of Science degree in population health, Carnes has used women's health as a venue for advancing the progress of women in medical academia. A professor in the departments of medicine and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, she directs the Center for Women's Health Research, the Women's Health Fellowship, a National Institutes of Health training grant in women's health and aging, and the Women Veterans Health Program.
"There was a time when women's voices were not heard," says Carnes. "But we have reached a critical mass of women in leadership positions, so that if we work together, not only will we be heard, but we will create a symphony of positive, healthy changes throughout the world."
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI-2), who nominated Carnes as a Local Legend, lauds Carnes and her approach. "She is a valued member of our community. Not only has she been a shining example of what women physicians in academia can accomplish, but she actively works to make the academic culture more accessible to, and accepting of, the women physicians of the future." Given that only 10 percent of the tenured faculty physicians at the nation's 125 academic medical centers are women, there is an obvious need for Carnes' leadership.
Her commitment to advancing women extends beyond medicine and led her to co-found the Women In Science & Engineering Leadership Institute, a centralized, visible administrative structure with a mission to bring the issues of women scientists and engineers from obscurity to visibility. The Institute provides an effective, legitimate means of networking women faculty across departments, decreasing isolation, advocating for and mentoring women faculty, and linking women postdoctoral fellows in predominantly male environments with a variety of women faculty.
In 1999, Carnes was honored by being appointed the first Jean Manchester Biddick Professor of Women's Health Research. She received the 2001 Addis Costello Internist of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Physicians- American Society of Internal Medicine and, in 2002, was honored with the Madison YWCA's Woman of Distinction Award.
Becomes first director of the University of Wisconsin- Madison Center for Women's Health Research, one of thirteen National Centers of Excellence in Women's Health designated by the U.S. Public Health Service's Office on Women's Health. The centers were formed to provide integrated, comprehensive health services for women across the country.
Co-founds and co-directs the University of Wisconsin Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute.
State University of New York at Buffalo