2021 annual Awards gala

Celebrating achievements, advancements, & innovations in women’s health.


SWHR Honors Leaders Advancing Women’s Health at 2021 Virtual Annual Awards Gala 

Supporters of the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) gathered together virtually for SWHR’s 2021 Annual Awards Gala on April 29 to honor three women who have devoted their careers to improving women’s health and women’s advancement in science and medicine. View the program.

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Previous Galas

Read more about the previous SWHR Annual Awards Galas.


Special Guest Speakers

Sudip Parikh, PhD
CEO and Executive Publisher, Science Journals, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Sudip Parikh, PhD
CEO and Executive Publisher, Science Journals, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Dr. Parikh has spent two decades at the nexus of science, policy, and business. Before joining AAAS, he was senior vice president and managing director at DIA Global, a neutral, multidisciplinary organization bringing together regulators, industry, academia, patients, and other stakeholders interested in health care product development. He led strategy in the Americas and oversaw DIA programs that catalyzed progress globally toward novel regulatory frameworks for advanced therapies not amenable to existing regulations.

Prior to DIA, Dr. Parikh was general manager of the Health and Consumer Solutions business unit and vice president at Battelle, a multibillion-dollar research and development organization. He led a $150 million business unit that performed basic and applied research, developed medicines and health care devices, and created advanced analytics and AI applications to improve human health.

From 2001-2009, Dr. Parikh served as science advisor and professional staff to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, where he was responsible for negotiating budgets for the NIH, CDC, AHRQ, BARDA, and other scientific and health agencies. Dr. Parikh serves as a board member and officer for Research!America, Friends of Cancer Research, and ACT for NIH. He has received multiple public service awards, including from the American Association of Immunologists, the National AIDS Alliance, the Coalition for Health Services Research, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Judette Louis, MD, MPH
Immediate Past President, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM)
Judette Louis, MD, MPH
Immediate Past President, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM)

Dr. Louis is the Chair of the Department of OB/GYN at University of South Florida. She has a joint faculty appointment in both the College of Public Health and the College of Medicine. A specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Dr. Louis has been active in SMFM for many years. In addition to being Immediate Past President, she has served on the group’s board of directors, as representative for the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative Taskforce, on its publications committee. She also earned SMFM’s President’s Award for Research Excellence.

Her research in obstructive sleep apnea in pregnant women led to a career focused on maternal morbidity and mortality. Dr. Louis has authored numerous scientific articles and book chapters on sleep apnea and maternal morbidity/mortality. She also served as a member of SWHR’s Interdisciplinary Network on Sleep, which worked to bring attention to sleep health issues in women and enhance discussions between health care providers and patients to better address women’s sleep needs.

Through her work as a clinical leader for the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative, Dr. Louis has led statewide programs to improve management of obstetric emergencies in the state of Florida. She is passionate about making pregnancy safer for all women and in particular, improving maternal health across the lifespan.

2021 Award Winners

Lotus Mallbris, MD, PhD
Health Industry Visionary Award Winner
Lotus Mallbris, MD, PhD
Health Industry Visionary Award Winner

Dr. Mallbris is the Vice President and Global Head of Immunology Product Development at Eli Lilly and Co. As head of immunology at Lilly, she is working to improve the lives of millions of women with autoimmune diseases by furthering innovation in health care and solving problems for patients. Dr. Mallbris is a passionate executive leader who brings a unique perspective to the industry as she began her career as a trained physician and has diverse experience across the spectrums of patient care, academic research, pharmaceutical drug development and global medical affairs.

She joined Lilly in 2015 and leads the company’s multifunctional Global Clinical Development and Global Medical Affairs teams across the dermatology, rheumatology, and gastroenterology fields. Before joining Lilly, she spent several years at Pfizer and held leadership positions within the dermatology business. Prior to joining the corporate world, Dr. Mallbris was a practicing physician for more than 10 years, starting her career as a surgeon before transitioning to the field of dermatology. Her decision to shift from academia and practicing as a dermatologist to joining a biopharmaceutical company was rooted in her desire to help more patients and bring them the treatments they need.

Dr. Mallbris has always been devoted to patients and found caring for them incredibly rewarding, but recognized an opportunity to take that devotion to the next level by joining the companies working to create the innovative solutions needed to help patients around the world. She continues to be an active member of multiple external immunology research advisory boards that focus on public health and epidemiology, bridging the external state-of-the-art research with Lilly.

Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, FACOG
Health Education Visionary Award Winner
Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, FACOG
Health Education Visionary Award Winner

As President and Dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Montgomery Rice provides a valuable combination of experience at the highest levels of patient care and medical research, as well as organizational management and public health policy. She is the sixth president of Morehouse School of Medicine and the first woman to lead the freestanding medical institution. A renowned infertility specialist and researcher, she most recently served as dean and executive vice president of Morehouse School of Medicine, where she has served since 2011.

Prior to joining Morehouse, Montgomery Rice held faculty positions and leadership roles at various health centers. Most notably, she was the founding director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at Meharry Medical College, one of the nation’s first research centers devoted to studying diseases that disproportionately impact women of color. Through membership and Board service, Montgomery Rice lends her experience to organizations that enhance pipeline opportunities for academically diverse learners, diversifies the physician and scientific workforce, and fosters equity in health care access and health outcomes. She is a former SWHR Board member and has received numerous accolades and honors.

A Georgia native, she holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a medical degree from Harvard Medical School, an honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree from Rush University. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine and her fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Hutzel Hospital.

Nora D. Volkow, MD
Health Public Service Visionary Award Winner
Nora D. Volkow, MD
Health Public Service Visionary Award Winner

Dr. Volkow is the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. Her scientific research was instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain, and her work at NIDA has promoted research that improves the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.

As NIDA director, Dr. Volkow has worked to create an inclusive environment for women researchers to thrive and championed research on biological sex differences. NIDA’s Women and Sex/Gender Differences Research Group works to support the careers of women scientists, as well as to promote conduct, translation, and dissemination of research on sex and gender differences in substance use disorders and responses to drugs of abuse.

As a research psychiatrist, Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic and addictive effects of abusable drugs. Her studies documented disruption of the dopamine system in addiction with its consequential functional impairment of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, executive function and self-regulation. She has also made important contributions to the neurobiology of obesity and ADHD.

Dr. Volkow has published more than 820 peer-reviewed articles, written more than 100 book chapters and non-peer-reviewed manuscripts, co-edited a Neuroscience Encyclopedia, and edited four books on neuroimaging for mental and addictive disorders.

Presenters

Shontelle Dodson, PharmD
SWHR Board Chair

Shontelle Dodson, PharmD, is the Senior Vice President and Head of US Medical Specialties Business Unit at Astellas and has extensive clinical and research experience in the health care and pharmaceutical industries. She previously served as Senior Vice President and Head of Medical Affairs Americas at Astellas.

After several years of service in direct patient care at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dodson spent 11 years at Pfizer Inc. in various leadership roles, including the U.S. Viagra Medical Team Leader and Senior Director, Group Leader supporting the urology and respiratory franchise. Following her work with Pfizer, Dodson served as Vice President of Medical Affairs at GTx Inc. In this capacity, she led the Phase 3 clinical development of a selective androgen receptor modulator for the prevention and treatment of muscle wasting in patients with cancer, including key economic and health outcomes assessments to support product utilization and valuation. Under her leadership at Astellas, the health outcomes group has pioneered multiple, innovative real world data projects, including two national registries in prostate cancer and overactive bladder, as well as partnered research with leading managed care and academic organizations.

She has received multiple awards for leadership and innovation during her career, including the National Healthcare Business Women’s Association Rising Star.

Dodson holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Mercer University School of Pharmacy and completed a postdoctoral residency at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Carolyn Clancy, MD
Acting Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Carolyn Clancy, MD
Acting Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Dr. Clancy has served as Acting Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs since January 20, 2021. A highly experienced physician executive, she has held many leadership positions at the VA, including Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks; Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Executive- in-Charge; and VHA Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Organizational Excellence. She also served 10 years as the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

In 2019, Dr. Clancy received SWHR’s Health Public Service Visionary Award for her work to enhance access to and quality of care for women veterans. In 2015, she was selected as the Outstanding Federal Executive of the Year by Disabled American Veterans.

Dr. Clancy, a general internist and health services researcher, is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She holds an academic appointment at George Washington University School of Medicine and serves as Senior Associate Editor for Health Services Research. She also served as member of the National Quality Forum Board of Directors, as the Chair of the AQA Alliance, and on the Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Cen Xu, PhD
Executive Medical Director, Amgen
Cen Xu, PhD
Executive Medical Director, Amgen

Dr. Xu has more than 30 years of neuroscience research experience and more than 20 years in neuroscience drug discovery. She joined Amgen in 2016 as a key contributor in building the company’s neuroscience strategy.

Dr. Xu is a co-inventor for the first FDA-approved treatment designed to prevent migraine, which is three times more common in women than men and affects 18% of women in the U.S. In 2019, she received SWHR’s Health Industry Visionary Award for her work in discovering this treatment. Dr. Xu has also aided in the discovery and development of other therapeutics, including for schizophrenia and sleep disorders. Her focus areas include neurodegeneration, psychiatry disorders, migraine, and analgesia.

Dr. Xu obtained her PhD in pharmacology from Illinois State University and did her postdoc in University of Illinois College of Medicine. She was involved in basic research of drug abuse and neuropsychiatry for about 10 years before joining the industry. She also worked in a psychiatry institution for six years, with firsthand experience in patient interaction before entering the doctoral program.


Gala Sponsors

Bronze Level

Supporters

Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy
Early Access Care LLC
Florence Haseltine, MD, PhD
Kelly Advocacy Outcomes LLC
Roberta L. Gartside, MD
Linda G. Griffith, PhD
Stephanie Pincus, MD