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HISTORY of WFSOM

Maria Bailas, M.D., receives Women Faculty School of Medicine's Service Award

Group recognizes other award winners and those who have served or will serve organization

CLEVELAND (June 22, 2005) - Maria Bailas, M.D., received the Women Faculty School of Medicine's Toyoko S. Yamashita Memorial Service Award at the organization's annual meeting June 13 at the Allen Memorial Medical Library. The award, named for an associate professor of pediatrics who was the group's registrar at the time of her death in 1997, recognizes a faculty member who has given exemplary service, leadership and mentorship to women faculty and students. Bailas helped found and was the first president of WFSOM, has been active on several committees at the school, and taught students in many courses.

Bailas, who joined the medical school faculty in 1963 and left in 1985 as an associate professor of psychiatry, told meeting attendees that the impetus for establishing the organization came with the 1979 announcement that Frederick C. Robbins, M.D., would be stepping down as dean in 1980 to become president of the Institute of Medicine. Bailas wanted to recommend women to serve on the committee searching for his replacement and also sought to suggest women who could serve as dean.

Once the organization was formed, among its early activities were organizing a conference for women in academic medicine in Ohio, conducting research on pay equity at the medical school, and holding an assertiveness training workshop.

Bailas recognized the WFSOM's first officers and steering committee members in attendance, including Helen Evans, Ph.D., who will be professor emerita of radiation oncology as of July 1 and was the group's first vice president; Margaret "Peggy" Egar, Ph.D., who left the medical school in 1985 as an assistant professor in the developmental genetics and anatomy department and was the first treasurer; and original steering committee members Miriam "Mimi" Rosenthal, M.D., associate professor emerita of psychiatry, and Mary Hellerstein, M.D., clinical associate professor emerita of pediatrics.

Evans told the group that in 1979, women faculty at the school totaled 135, or nine percent of the faculty. Two were full professors, 13 were associate professors, 81 were assistant professors, and 39 were instructors. The School of Medicine was ahead of the national average in the latter two categories but lagged in the former two, Evans said. The biochemistry, dermatology, neurological surgery and pharmacology departments had no women faculty members, she said.