Volume 1-Fall 1995
Harvard Medical School students have elected Drs. David Potter and Julian Seifter
as the 1995 recipients of the American Medical Women's Association Gender Equity
Award. Established in 1994, the award recognizes faculty members nation-wide who
promote a "gender-fair environment for the education and training of physicians
and assure equal opportunities for women and men to study and practice medicine."
Selections were made by both male and female students, assisted by Brenda
Hoffman, director of academic development and medical students Andrea Marmor '98
and Antonia Stephen '96. Students were asked to select one pre-clinical and one
clinical faculty member who demonstrated commitment to the above in both their
professional demeanor and activities and in their teaching responsibilities.
David Potter, the Robert Winthrop Professor of Neurobiology, has been a member
of the department of neurobiology since 1969, a professor of neurobiology since
1982, and is the former chair of the department of neurobiology at HMS. He teaches
in the human nervous system and behavior course for second year medical students
and gives occasional lectures in other courses. Potter notes that this award could
be promptly retired if, "we put our minds to it and behave ourselves." Furthermore,
he believes that since now more than 50% of the students at the medical school
are women, "the medical school is investing at least half of its training resource
in women, and it is no longer a useful policy question to ask whether gender equity
throughout our professional activities is desirable and urgent." He urges people
to, "Think of the alternatives, its implications and consequences."
Julian Seifter, associate professor of medicine is a renal specialist at BWH and
has been at HMS since 1982. A graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine
in New York, he teaches physiology to the first year students, human systems to
the second year students, and is director of the clinical elective in nephrology
at BWH for the third and fourth year students. Seifter believes that "The Medical
School by having this award recognizes the profound importance of human connections
in the enterprise of medicine. The responsibility of faculty is to demonstrate
to the entire community the value of fairness in doctor-patient, student-teacher
and student-student relationships."
AMWA is the nation's largest organization of women physicians and medical
students. Their goal in developing this award was to "help create an environment
where all future physicians treat each other, staff, colleagues, other health
professionals and their future patients with appropriate respect and sensitivity."
Presentation of the award was made on May 31, 1995 at Faculty Council by William
Silen. A permanent plaque with the names of this year's winners inscribed upon
it has been placed in the Medical Education Center. The names of all future winners
will be added to this plaque.