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Leaders in Health Equity and Women’s Health to Receive 2017 Marion Spencer Fay Award and Special Lifetime Achievement Award

August 7, 2017

Drexel University College of Medicine's Institute for Women's Health and Leadership has announced Melissa Simon, MD, MPH, as the 2017 Marion Spencer Fay Award honoree. Vivian Pinn, MD, will receive a lifetime achievement award.

The national Marion Spencer Fay Award, now in its 54th year, annually honors a woman physician and/or scientist who has made an exceptionally significant contribution to health care as a practitioner, medical educator, administrator and/or research scientist. It recognizes the honoree's past contributions and supports her ongoing work.

Melissa Simon, MD, MPH

Melissa Simon, MD, MPH

Melissa Simon is the George H. Gardner Professor of Clinical Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is the founder and director of the Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative and co-program leader for cancer control and survivorship at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She is an expert in implementation science, women's health across the lifespan, minority health, community engagement and health equity. Her research impacts local-, state- and national-level thought and policy regarding inclusion and health equity and is focused on improving vulnerable populations' health and access to the health care system. Simon also created the first health care workforce development massive open online course (MOOC), "Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare."

"I am completely humbled by such a genuine honor to join the ranks of the highly accomplished recipients of this distinguished award," said Simon. "Dr. Fay's legacy is unparalleled as a true champion for women, planting the seeds of opportunity for us to excel in every direction."

Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Simon completed her bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago, her master's degree in public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, her medical degree at Rush Medical College, her residency at Yale University, and her fellowship in family planning at Northwestern University. She has received numerous awards and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine's Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and Elimination of Health Disparities and the NAM Care, Culture and Decision Making Innovation Collaborative. She is a recently appointed member of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), and she serves as the chair of the National Institutes of Health standing study section, Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health.

Vivian Pinn, MD

Vivian Pinn, MD

Vivian Pinn was the first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is internationally renowned for transforming the understanding and treatment of women's health, including sex/gender research and minority and women's health disparities. Pinn has long been a vocal advocate for women and minorities in biomedical science careers. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the IOM) in 1995. She was recently elected to Modern Healthcare's Hall of Fame, the first African American woman to be so honored, and her oral history is included in the National Library of Medicine's exhibit on women physicians: "Changing the Face of Medicine," in the University of Virginia's project "Explorations in Black Leadership" conducted by Julian Bond, and in The HistoryMakers collection, which is now housed in the Library of Congress.

"It is such a heartwarming and tremendous honor for me to have been selected to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership. Drexel has for years been in the forefront of leadership in women's health and in preparing so many women for accomplished roles as trailblazers in academic positions of prominence, so this recognition fills me with sincere humility and deep appreciation," Pinn said.

A graduate and Alumna Achievement Award recipient as well as former trustee of Wellesley College, Pinn earned her MD from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the only woman or minority in her class. The university recently named its medical school building for her.

"The two trailblazing women we honor this year embody the qualities and contributions for which the award was established," said Lynn Yeakel, director of the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership. "I know that Dr. Fay would be proud of Drs. Simon and Pinn."

The Marion Spencer Fay Award, which includes a $10,000 honorarium, will be presented on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia. Simon will deliver the annual Marion Spencer Fay Award Lecture at 4:30 p.m. and a reception will follow. Her lecture is titled "Moving the Needle on Women's Health Equity."

Marion Spencer Fay, PhD, was dean and president of Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania (a predecessor institution of Drexel University College of Medicine) from 1946 to 1963. The National Board for Women in Medicine established this award in her name in 1963 to recognize her pioneering leadership. Drexel University College of Medicine maintains the traditions of the Woman's Medical College and the Medical College of Pennsylvania that reflect a 167-year legacy of excellence.

Past Marion Spencer Fay Award honorees include Laurie Glimcher, MD, president and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Katherine L. Knight, PhD, chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and co-founder of the Infectious Disease and Immunology Institute at Loyola University, Chicago; Phyllis A. Dennery, MD, chief of neonatology and newborn services at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Nancy C. Andrews, MD, PhD, dean, Duke University School of Medicine; and Julie Overbaugh, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

To learn more about the Marion Spencer Fay Award, contact Janine Barber at 215.991.8194 or You may also visit the Marion Spencer Fay website.

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