Megan McNeely, Director of Development at the American Cancer Society, and ‘ReacherHERS’ Dr. Tia Welsh, Gynecologist and Chair of Valley Medical Group and Dr. Chris Conn, Assistant Professor of Radiology Oncology at UPenn and SHE Ambassador discussed the need to get more women into medicine, research and other science careers.
May was National Cancer Research Month, the American Cancer Society recruits Ambassadors to join their ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer campaign to support the growth and development of female researchers. All proceeds support the direct costs of three important ACS initiatives, funding women-led cancer research grants, supporting paid parental leave for Postdoctoral Fellows in cancer research to help alleviate the challenges of remaining in the workforce while expanding a family and funding the Summer Health Experience (SHE) in Oncology.
We talked about the better outcomes for women when treated by women physicians, and how research had banned banned women from participating in studies and set up roadblocks for women to conduct them. Giving them access to high-school and undergraduate programs can lead to a science path in college. Maternal – and paternal – family leave can help keep them in the field.
We discussed their career paths, Dr Welsh had attended an all-girls school and always a medical or science career, Dr Conn was only introduced to science in college. We also discussed breakthroughs such as the HPV vaccine that can prevent cancer, and the barriers of healthcare that keep people from accessing them.
Dr Conn discussed SHE, a two-week virtual program that introduces high school juniors or seniors who identify as female to a wide range of cancer-related career experiences. Students are provided with the equipment they need to complete experiments and classwork.
For more information about the ACS ResearcHERS and SHE go to ACSResearcHERS.org