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Spring 2018
Published quarterly by the Faculty Development and Diversity Program


  • Bauman: It's everyone's WIMHS - Former mentee becomes leader of women's advocacy program
  • The rewards of academic medicine - A conversation with Mary Lou de Leon Siantz
  • Profile of Shannon Suo - WIMHS leadership development mentee initiates pilot projects
  • Villablanca's national platform builds on efficacy of WIMHS
  • New Faculty Welcome - A welcome to new faculty colleagues
  • A concept for reimagining education - by Sandhya Venugopal, ELAM fellow

Bauman: It's everyone's WIMHS

Former mentee becomes leader of women's advocacy program

Spotlight IconThe UC Davis Women in Medicine and Health Sciences (WIMHS) program is undergoing an evolution that is a testament to its ideals as well as to the vision of its founders – and its new program director, Melissa D. Bauman, Ph.D. Established in 2000, WIMHS has consistently advocated for mentorship and leadership opportunities for women, sponsored networking and continuing education programs, promoted career advising, and induced inclusion of women in national professional organizations.

Melissa Bauman and Rebecca MoncadaMelissa Bauman and Rebecca Moncada

Throughout its first 15 years, WIMHS was administered on a volunteer basis by its cofounders, Amparo Villablanca, M.D., professor and Frances Lazda Endowed Chair of cardiovascular medicine, and Lydia P. Howell, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. They conceived WIMHS as their Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) fellowship project. When WIMHS inaugurated a faculty mentee program in 2012, Melissa Bauman was selected among a field of candidates. Bauman, who received her Ph.D. degree in neuroscience from UC Davis in 2003, completed postdoctoral training through the MIND Institute’s Interdisciplinary Autism Research Training Program, and in 2008 joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, where she investigates neurodevelopmental disorders. She immediately began participating in WIMHS activities.

With institutional support in 2015 from then-Vice Chancellor and Dean Julie Freischlag, Villablanca was named WIMHS director, and a staff assistant and space were allocated to WIMHS within the Faculty Development and Diversity Program office. Then able to step aside, Howell has remained a senior advisor to WIMHS. When Villablanca discussed relinquishing her WIMHS administrative post to devote more time to other initiatives, Bauman became co-director during a six-month transition that began last July.

Melissa Bauman’s priorities

“My areas of interest focus on work-life balance, supporting trainees and collaboration with the main campus,” Bauman said. “Mentorship for junior faculty and trainees will continue to be a strength and focus of WIMHS, and we anticipate working closely with the Mentoring Academy.

WIMHS will review its strategic plan this year to determine how to strengthen support for recruitment, retention and leadership training for female faculty members. Bauman plans to poll faculty members and trainees about subjects of importance to them and how WIMHS can better support their careers.

“This is everyone’s WIMHS program, and program analyst Rebecca Moncada and I welcome suggestions on how to better support women in science and medicine,” Bauman said. “Becca is always a step ahead of me. She does a fabulous job.”

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