A Salute to Women in Endocrinology

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In honor of National Women’s History Month, Endocrine News is presenting its first ever “Women in Endocrinology” issue. In the decade that I’ve been overseeing the magazine and interacting with members of the Endocrine Society, it’s apparent that women in endocrinology aren’t simply a “contributing factor;” they are the driving forces, especially today. And it’s high time we honored the amazing women who are making a difference in the practice and science of endocrinology.

This issue’s centerpiece features 10 of the Endocrine Society’s outstanding member for “Leading the Way: A Roundtable Discussion About Women in Endocrinology.” Kelly Horvath has taken on the herculean task of talking to 10 women endocrinologists who shared their views on the practice itself, their own work and research, the Endocrine Society’s impact on their careers, as well as nuggets of wisdom they wish to share with the next generation of women entering the field. Barbara Onumah, MD, medical director of the Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center, Diabetes and Endocrinology program, in Annapolis, Md., remarks that while endocrinology is challenging, it’s also a very gratifying specialty. “It is the perfect blend of science and critical thinking. There are many career paths to choose from,” she says, adding “as a clinical endocrinologist, I appreciate the long-term patient–physician relationships, which make practicing this specialty very rewarding. Particularly for women considering this field, endocrinology is a specialty that allows you to tailor your work-life and schedule to the different phases of life.”

Glenda Fauntleroy Shaw interviews Dequina Nicholas, PhD, an endocrine researcher and an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine. I first learned about Dr. Nicholas at ENDO 2022 in Atlanta, Ga., while I was chatting with Rob Fowkes, PhD; he told me I should really be following her on Twitter, and boy am I glad I did! Her Twitter feed is a constant stream of real-life interactions for today’s endocrine scientists who are trying their best to get it right while juggling the responsibilities of family and motherhood. In “Balancing Act: How Dequina Nicholas, PhD, Pays It Forward … with Interest!,” she details her life, specifically how her career first blossomed thanks to amazing mentors all along the way to being the PI of her own lab. Many thanks to Dr. Nicholas for finding the time to share her insights with us. She is truly an inspiration.

Speaking of inspirational, senior editor Derek Bagley has crafted a feature about the first woman to ever be president of the Endocrine Society, Rosalyn Yalow, PhD. In “A Determination to Succeed,” we learn of Yalow’s remarkable career and life and her research that led to her receiving the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1977 for developing the radioimmunoassay technique for hormone measurement. We hear from other women endocrinologists about how Yalow’s career impacted their own and how her discovery changed the way endocrine research is performed. Also, Yalow’s very presence made an impression on other women in endocrinology at a time when there were so few women in the field. “Her presence at so many Endocrine Society meetings, where she was always smiling and exuding pleasantness and acceptance, impressed me greatly in those days when women were definitely not equal, especially in medicine,” says Ann Owen, MD, adding that Yalow made  women feel welcome. “She led the way in believing that research was interesting, and that we women could do it. It wasn’t something that she questioned.”

While this themed issue is a first for Endocrine News, it definitely won’t be the last. If you have any ideas for a theme you’d like to see covered in our pages, feel free to let me know at: [email protected]. Some of our best stories come from recommendations from members like you!

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