Carolina honors Dr. Etta Pisano with women's advancement award

Monday, March 23, 2009 — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill honored three individuals with University Awards for the Advancement of Women today (March 23). A reception for winners was held this afternoon at the Campus Y to help kick off the campus’ 12th annual Women’s Week.

Carolina honors Dr. Etta Pisano with women's advancement award click to enlarge The University Award for the Advancement of Women winners with Chancellor Holden Thorp, third from left. From left are, Annie Clark, Dr. Etta Pisano and Aimee Krans.

The awards, which were created in 2006, honor individuals who have mentored or supported women on campus, elevated the status of women or improved campus policies for them, promoted women’s recruitment and retention, or promoted professional development for women.

The three winners — one faculty member, one staff member and one student, graduate student or postdoctoral scholar are eligible — each receive a monetary award. The faculty and staff winners each receive a check for $5,000; the student scholar, a check for $2,500.

This year’s honorees are student winner Annie Clark of Raleigh, a sophomore political science and psychology double-major in the College of Arts and Sciences; staff winner Aimee Krans of Mebane, work/life manager in the Office of Human Resources; and faculty winner Dr. Etta Pisano of Chapel Hill, vice dean and Kenan Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering of the School of Medicine, director of the UNC Translational Clinical Science Institute and director of the Biomedical Research Imaging Center.

Clark, who is also minoring in women’s studies, is the legislative chair of the Coalition Against Sex Trafficking and has lobbied at the local and national levels for anti-trafficking legislation. She also co-chaired, and still remains active in, Project Dinah, UNC’s women’s safety and empowerment organization dedicated to anti-violence and sexual assault awareness and equality in all relationships. She spearheaded a project to install blind reporting boxes for survivors of interpersonal violence to anonymously report their assaults in campus recreational facilities, and she is now working on expanding the project to campus libraries and every Atlantic Coast Conference school. Clark has also personally supported sexual assault survivors to help them gain access to resources and encourage them to pursue their own advocacy efforts.

Krans has helped many UNC student-parents and employees to access subsidy monies for child care. She serves on the Chancellor’s Child Care Advisory Committee, where she worked to expand access to lactation rooms and improve quality child care on campus to make it easier for new mothers to return to the workplace. She also serves on the University Child Care Center’s Board of Directors to provide affordable, quality child-care options to UNC parents and directs the Carolina Kids Camp, a summer day camp for school-age children of Carolina employees. Through her collaboration with the lactation consultant at UNC Hospitals and Ameda breast-feeding supplies, Krans helped to create a program that offers University and hospital employees and students high-quality breast pumps at a tremendous discount. She is also president-elect of the international College and University Work/Family Association, whose mission is to help higher education institutions facilitate the integration of work and study with family and personal life.

As vice dean of the School of Medicine, Pisano founded the trans-University Working on Women in Science initiative to enhance recruitment, retention and promotion of women faculty. The program provides resources and innovative programs, including sponsoring visiting scholars to speak on work-life balance, gender equity and women’s leadership and funding productivity maintenance awards for faculty facing unexpected challenges or interruptions in their work. Pisano has led many women’s advocacy groups during her 20-year tenure at UNC, including the Association of Professional Women in the Medical School, the Committee on the Status of Women and a task force that reviewed and corrected gender-based salary inequities in the School of Medicine. She also serves as a mentor for women students through the UNC Womentoring program and the Carolina Women’s Center. Her clinical work and research are dedicated to women’s health in radiology and breast cancer diagnosis and have earned her international recognition.

The University Awards for the Advancement of Women were created following the retirement of the Cornelia Phillips Spencer Bell Award in 2004. They are sponsored by the offices of the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the Carolina Women’s Center.

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