February 11: United Nation’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital spotlights women scientists helping find cures and treatments for catastrophic diseases

On the United Nation’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science todaySt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital marks this important recognition today by highlighting a series on women in science and medicine at St. Jude.

The online feature highlights women scientists, doctors and experts whose contributions to the field are leading to advancements in cures and prevention strategies for catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Launched in advance of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the series aims to tell the stories of these extraordinary women and inspire girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and medicine.

“The contributions by women to the field of science and medicine is immeasurable,” said Martine Roussel, Ph.D., a molecular oncologist at St. Jude who has devoted nearly 50 years to scientific exploration. “The extraordinary women who work tirelessly at St. Jude, some of whom are featured in this series, have made groundbreaking and lifelong impacts on advancing treatments and potential cures for some of the world’s most difficult diseases. Too often, women in science and medicine face obstacles in their careers, but nevertheless they persevere and the entire world is better because of their determination. We hope these stories are an inspiration to girls across the globe and help them see that they, too, can choose a career in STEM.”

Roussel, who was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2019 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011, has long been an advocate for women in science. In 2019 she was among several female scientists who were part of a groundbreaking “Women in Cancer Research” article in Nature discussing the prevalence of gender inequality in science and the work necessary to level the playing field.

“Female and male scientists have the same drive and passion, but women are subject to implicit bias,” wrote Roussel for Nature. “Although there are now more women scientists, with or without children, who are recognized for career achievements, gender equality has not yet been achieved.” 

St. Jude recognizes contributions of women in science and medicine

Through a one-on-one “question and answer” interview format, the women in science and medicine series will feature every Monday, through the end of March, a story telling the journey of a female St. Jude scientist, doctor or expert via the online St. Jude award-winning magazine, St. Jude ProgressSt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will also promote these features through social media participation with the #womeninscience hashtag.

Already posted features include:

For Erica Kaye, MD, the privilege of caring for a patient and family is sacred

  • Erica Kaye, MDshares her family’s journey to becoming physicians and how meaningful connections have deepened her understanding of her role in caring for patients.

Life-changing experience forged Niki Jurbergs’ career in pediatric oncology

  • Niki Jurbergs, PhD, credits a hematology/oncology rotation as a psychology intern as a pivotal moment that shaped how she cares for patients today.

Robin Mutz’s childhood dream to be a nurse led to becoming the chief nurse executive at St. Jude

  • Robin Mutz, RN, never forgot the compassionate leadership she encountered early in her career.

Deanna Tremblay credits mother with inspiration to pursue scientific career

  • Deanna Tremblay, MSc, credits her mother’s decision to return to school as a key event in shaping a career path in science.

The St. Jude Progress blog will shine the light on the critical work and the personal stories of how these accomplished women are advancing life-saving preventions, treatments and cures for the world’s most challenging diseases. The women scientists, doctors and experts at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital continue to be critical in the development of treatments that have helped increase the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. Each of these profiles – ranging from personal reflections to professional development – aim to profile the journeys of the women of St. Jude helping the hospital achieve its mission of finding cures and saving children.

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