Emory Report
February 2, 2009
Volume 61, Number 18

Awards dinner
Tickets for the Unsung Heroines Awards dinner at Miller-Ward Alumni House are still available; visit www.womenscenter.



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February 2
, 2009
Unsung Heroines advocate, mentor

By stacey jones

The Center for Women’s 12th annual Unsung Heroines Awards dinner on Feb. 19 will honor seven Emory women. One has yet to graduate from college; another is retired after a trailblazing 30-year career, but all share a commitment to the well-being and care of women — not just at Emory but around the world.

Twenty-two-year-old Monique Dorsainvil has spent her “spare” time traveling to such countries as India, Cambodia, Finland, Uganda and Canada to work as an activist on behalf of women and girls. “She wakes each day prepared to challenge an unfair world that continues to exclude, violate and destroy thousands of women,” said her nominator. Dorsainvil, an academically gifted senior in Emory College, is the undergraduate honoree.

Megan Ivankovich is being lauded for her facility in bridging gaps between people, bringing together on- and off-campus organizations that previously wouldn’t — or couldn’t — work together. “She has formed solid, lasting relationships between her organization [Emory Reproductive Health Association] and the Center for Women, Student Health and Counseling Services, the nursing school, Med Students for Choice, Human Rights Action, Feminist Women’s Health Center, SPARK, and Planned Parenthood of Georgia,” her nominator wrote. Ivankovich is finishing up an MPH in global health at the Rollins School of Public Health.

Carol Gee had nine nominators vying for the opportunity to sing her praises. An editor at Goizueta Business School, Gee is the staff honoree this year. Her nominators frequently mentioned her role as a mentor. Said one: “With ‘tough’ love and skills honed from her 20 years as an Air Force technical sergeant, she taught me work ethics, and provided life lessons that I will take with me throughout the rest of my life.” Gee also has authored two books for young women, “The Venus Chronicles” and “Diary of a ‘Flygirl’ Wannabe.”

Fifty percent of medical students are women, as are 70 percent of pediatric residents and half of all practicing pediatricians. Still, only 15 percent of women pediatricians hold positions as tenured faculty or full professors.
Luckily for Emory, faculty honoree Barbara Stoll has reached these rarified heights, as chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and seems determined have other women join her there. “She has made a commitment to recruit and hire talented women by dedicating resources to their establishment and consistently serving as their advocates,” wrote her nominator.

A breast cancer survivor, Patty Ziegenhorn-Erbach, this year’s administrative honoree, was called “an amazing force for the promotion of women’s issue, and a tireless advocate and fundraiser,” in her nomination letter. A dietician by training, she launched a wellness program for women in Illinois that received the state’s Award of Excellence in 1998.

The program is still in existence today, and is one of many that she has launched or taken part in during her career. Outside of work, Ziegenhorn-Erbach’s love of nutrition and service mesh nicely in her efforts to raise scholarship funds for female culinary students and promote education for women interested in wine making.

Alumna honoree Kirsten Rambo graduated from Emory with a Ph.D. in women’s studies. She now heads the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, an agency dedicated to eliminating intimate partner violence. Here, “she calls upon her scholarly expertise in domestic violence law, her facility in developing public policy, her compassionate approach to advocacy, and her skillfulness as an educator and communicator” in ending the cycle of family violence.

Yung-Fong Sung was the first — and so far only — woman to be made a full tenured professor in the Emory Department of Anesthesiology’s 50-year existence. Now retired after a 30-year career, Sung began three anesthesiology “services” while at Emory and served as a mentor and role model to female medical students and residents during her tenure here. She is no doubt hoping that other women will quickly follow her footsteps at Emory.