In conjunction with September’s “Women in Medicine Month” created by the American Medical Association (AMA), the UICOMP Women in Medicine and Science Council solicited nominations of faculty members who work to support gender equality and the advancement of women in medicine. The Council recognizes these women:
Lisa Barker, MD – Emergency Medicine
Dr. Barker is an exemplary Emergency Medicine practitioner who advocates for women in medicine through her excellence in a variety of leadership positions, clinical care, and service activities including role modeling, educating, and mentoring. She constantly innovates and strives to improve education, research, and patient care through her role as the Chief Medical Director at the JUMP Trading Simulation & Education Center and the multitude of physician communication and leadership initiatives she pursues and delivers.
Michele Beekman, MD – Pediatrics
Dr. Beekman is an outstanding leader and superstar in multiple facets of medicine. As the Pediatrics Residency Associate Program Director, she positively influences the career paths of countless medical students, residents, and faculty and is heavily involved with recruitment efforts. In her roles as the Director of Pediatric Inpatient Education and the Pediatric Sedation Medicine Rotation, she revised, implemented, and oversaw the educational curriculum, mentorship, and feedback for residents in these rotations. All the while leading with grace and poise despite what obstacles come her way. Dr. Beekman is a faculty person who “walks the walk” when it comes to working hard and balancing her career with prioritizing family and personal care.
Amber D’Souza, MD – Pediatric Oncology
Dr. D’Souza is amongst only a handful of pediatric oncologists serving the clinical needs of the Central Illinois community. Impressively, she simultaneously holds the leadership role of principal investigator of several clinical research trials in affiliation with St. Jude, making scientific contributions beyond her clinical care. She values ongoing quality improvement and has contributed to several projects including the development of Standardized Oncology Practice Guidelines and SMART Communication for St. Jude. Dr. D’Souza is recognized for her outstanding contributions to pediatric cancer clinical care and pediatric oncology research.
Harleena Kendhari, MD – Pediatrics
In addition to her roles as pediatric hospitalist and the Pediatric Hospital Medicine (PHM) Fellowship Director, Dr. Kendhari serves on the executive board as the co-chair of the PHM sub-committee focusing on women in PHM and recently received a national award for her contribution. She leads the mentorship manors and provides professional and person support for women physicians across the country. She has been an outstanding leader in her field.
Annia Martial, MD – Internal Medicine
Dr. Martial has demonstrated her commitment to education and training time and time again. She is actively involved with medical student and resident education and recruitment, and was the recipient of the 2022 UICOMP Outstanding Diversity Equity and Inclusion Faculty Award. She also serves as a national educator through her work with the American College of Physicians. Dr. Martial is well respected and recognized for her excellent clinical and procedural care as well as for her practice of inclusivity and respect in all of her interactions.
Jenna Regan, PhD – Health Sciences Education & Pathology
Dr. Regan plays an integral leadership role within the preclinical Phase 1 curriculum as the college-wide Medical Genetics discipline lead and Digestion and Homeostasis Course Director. She participates regularly in University DEI initiatives which includes supporting equity within our campus and our curriculum. She mentors students through her roles as the faculty liaison for the Hematology and Oncology Student Interest Group, faculty advisor for Academic Advising, and student research and is an exemplary role model for others pursuing their goals.
Elsa Vazquez-Melendez, MD – Internal Medicine/Med-Peds and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
In addition to providing outstanding clinical care and education as a faculty member in the Internal Medicine Department, Dr. Vazquez-Melendez serves as the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. In this role, she has dedicated countless hours to the development of new curriculum, faculty trainings, and committees. She is relentless in her pursuit to educate herself and her colleagues on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is thoughtful, respectful, kind and humble in every interaction – personal and professional – making her the perfect woman for the job. She ensures every voice is heard and that their words and thoughts matter. Her passion for education is second only to providing excellent clinical care.