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Institute for Women's Health and Leadership Woman One

The Woman One Award annually honors an outstanding woman for her leadership in the Philadelphia community and raises scholarship funds for talented, underrepresented women in medicine studying at the College of Medicine.

Molly Shepard Honored As Woman One

2017 Woman One Honoree Molly Shepard with IWHL Director Lynn Yeakel

The Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership of Drexel University College honored Molly D. Shepard as Woman One at the 15th annual Woman One Award ceremony at the Rittenhouse Hotel on Monday, April 24, 2017.

See photos from the event

Funds raised from the annual Woman One Award event support scholarships for talented underrepresented women in Drexel’s medical school. Since the program began in 2003, 21 Woman One Scholars have graduated and are working as physicians across the United States and eight Scholars are currently in all four classes at Drexel’s medical school. Read the news release to learn more about Molly Shepard and Woman One.

Learn About Woman One Sponsorship Opportunities [PDF]

Molly D. Shepard is the president and CEO of The Leader’s Edge/Leaders By Design, a company dedicated to the advancement of executive and high potential leaders. She is a sought-after thought leader and speaker in the field of women’s leadership development and is the author of four books including Breaking Into the Boys’ Club (2015). Her fifth book, The Bully-Proof Workplace, has recently been published.

Woman One Publications/Media

Molly is actively involved in the community and has served as co-chair for Women Against MS for the past five years and is a member of the board of directors for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Greater Delaware Valley Chapter. She is founder of the Women’s Initiative for The United Way of Southeastern PA and is chairman emeritus of the United Way. She is also currently active as director and chairman emeritus of WHYY Inc., president emeritus of the Pennsylvania Women’s Forum, and is a member of the board of directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. She has previously served on many public and non-profit boards.

Honorees and attendees at the 2017 Woman One Award Ceremony

For information about Woman One, contact Janine Barber at 215.991.8194 or

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Past Woman One Honorees

Since the Woman One program was initiated by the IWHL in 2003, honorees have been:

  • Community leader and innovator Renee Amoore (2016) | Learn more
  • Philanthropist and civic activist Lynne Honickman (2015) | Learn more
  • Founder of the Russell Byers Charter School Laurada Byers (2014) | Learn more
  • Journalist Lisa Thomas-Laury (2013) | Learn more
  • Community leader Dianne Semingson (2012) | Learn more
  • Director of the Women's Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor Sara Manzano-Díaz (2011) | Learn more
  • Former first lady of Drexel University Eliana Papadakis (2010)
  • Former president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Jane Pepper (2009)
  • City representative and director of commerce Stephanie Naidoff (2008)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation president and CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey (2007)
  • Philanthropist and television personality Suzanne Roberts (2006)
  • Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley (2005)
  • Attorney and community leader Leslie Anne Miller (2004)
  • Pennsylvania secretary of public welfare Estelle Richman (2003)

Woman One continues to connect Drexel University College of Medicine to the greater Philadelphia community by engaging businesses and foundations in supporting Drexel's diversity initiatives.

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Current Woman One Scholars


Christina Schroeder

Christina Schroeder (2017)
A native of Sacramento, Calif., Christina graduated from the University of California-Davis and excelled academically during her first three years at medical school. She enjoyed her clinical rotations last year, especially internal medicine. Christina is interested in learning about the business analytics of a medical practice and is pursuing an MBA in addition to her medical degree. Now entering her fourth year at the College of Medicine, she also volunteers her time at a student-run health clinic in Philadelphia and is actively involved with her church. Christina is the St. Christopher's/Health Partners Woman One Scholar.


Christel Francois

Christel Francois (2018)
Christel was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but attended high school in New York and graduated from the University of Maryland. While visiting Haiti in 2010, she found herself in the heart of the tragic earthquake, and working with the victims inspired her to become a family physician. Now a third-year medical student at Drexel, Christel has enjoyed all of her clinical rotations and plans to specialize in primary care. She is also committed to public service and is working on a research project that focuses on homeless women and factors that affect the transition to stable housing. Christel is the Suzanne Roberts Woman One Scholar.

Jaclyn Heilman

Jaclyn Heilman (2018)
A native of Philadelphia, Jaclyn attended Pennsylvania State University and earned a degree in bioengineering. Now in her third year of medical school, Jaclyn is eager to progress from classroom learning to the hands-on experience of clinical rota-tions. She is interested in ob/gyn, pathology and emergency medicine and she plans to explore each area to see which specialty is the best fit. Jaclyn looks forward to interacting with patients and being part of their medical care. She excels in her coursework and was one of only six second-year medical students to be selected last year to receive a commendation for outstanding professionalism. Jaclyn is a W.W. Smith Woman One Scholar.

Jillian Thayer

Jillian Thayer (2018)
Originally from Seattle, Wash., and a graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in biochemistry, Jillian received honors designation in several classes during her first two years of medical school and is now looking forward to gaining practical knowledge as she begins clinical rotations during her third year. She is active in the community and was recently invited to be a guest lecturer on the topic of teaching health and medicine to high-needs children in underserved schools. Jillian also served as board chair of the free Health Outreach Project student-run health clinics in Philadelphia, and she co-authored a research paper on neonatal immunology. Jillian is the Jean Forest, MD—WMC/MCP Trust Fund Woman One Scholar.


Stephanie Coriolan

Stephanie Coriolan (2019)
Born in Canada, Stephanie grew up in Haiti in an underserved area of Port-au-Prince and moved to Florida as a teenager. She is a graduate of Florida International University with a degree in psychology and later received an MBA from Nova Southeastern. Stephanie hopes to expand her leadership skills during her time in medical school and engage in volunteer activities in Philadelphia's underserved communities. Stephanie is the Haas Woman One Scholar.

Dareen Elgindi

Dareen Elgindi (2019)
Born in the Sudan, Dareen moved to Columbus, Ohio, when she was a child and received a BS from Ohio State University as a triple major in biology, microbiology and biochemistry. She has an interest in women's issues and global health and has returned to the Sudan many times, volunteering in hospitals and shadowing physicians in both the U.S. and the Sudan. During her first year in medical school at Drexel, Dareen volun-teered in the emergency department of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, interacting with children and easing their time in the ER, and she worked with the Al-Shifaa clinic, providing free health screenings to patients in needy areas throughout Philadelphia. Dareen is considering pursuing a career in primary medicine. Dareen is the Dean's Woman One Scholar.

Ivonne Martinez

Ivonne Martinez (2019)
Originally from Bogata, Colombia, Ivonne moved to the United States when she was 12 years old and lived in New Jersey, later graduating from Seton Hall University as a biochemistry major. During her first year of medical school, she dedicated herself to her studies and became involved in the Coalition for Health Advocacy through Multidisciplinary Partnerships (CHAMPS). She plans to serve on the board of the Pediatric AIDS Benefit Concert and the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). She is also a work-study student at the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership. Ivonne is the Honickman Woman One Scholar.


Rita Akumuo

Rita Akumuo (2020)
Born and raised in Camden, N.J., Rita attended Syracuse University, where she graduated with degrees in three majors in four years: nutrition science, neuroscience and biology. Rita remained an extra year at Syracuse after graduation to finish a neuroscience research project focused on stroke. She led the project and completed a manuscript and a poster presentation. Rita received her master's degree in medical science at Drexel University in May 2016. As she now enters her first year of medical school, Rita is considering pursuing an MD/PhD and is currently conducting research under Wen-Jun Gao, PhD, a professor in Drexel's Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy. Rita has been inspired by her parents, who emigrated to the United States from Nigeria before her birth, and her other mentors to become a physician who makes a difference in the lives of others. Rita is the Philadelphia Foundation/Dean's Woman One Scholar.

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