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American Association for Physician Leadership
American Association for Physician Leadership

News Release

David Harrison

Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Leaders in STEM

March 30, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC — March 30, 2023 — A new book published by the American Association for Physician Leadership, Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Leaders in STEM , addresses the lack of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) through the first-person accounts of notable women who have excelled in a range of STEM-related leadership roles.

“In the past 50 years, women in the United States have made great strides in terms of education, representing the majority of college graduates and master’s level programs today. In 2020, for the 12th straight year women earned the majority of doctoral (PhD) degrees,” says the book’s editor, Deborah M. Shlian, MD, MBA.

“However, men vastly outnumber women majoring in the STEM fields. While women make up 48% of the workforce, women hold only about 29% of positions in STEM specialties. The book’s contributors — who bucked this trend — share their personal and compelling stories, including obstacles and challenges faced in balancing work, family, and personal life.”

“Role models matter,” says Sheryl Sandberg, founder of and former COO of Meta (Facebook). “In Lessons Learned , Deborah Shlian introduces us to more than 30 extraordinary women who've pushed past gender bias to expand perceptions of what it means to lead in STEM. This book will inspire so many other women and girls to reach for their goals.”

“The AAPL is proud to provide this platform and hopefully advance the cause of young women pursuing STEM careers,” Peter Angood, MD, president and CEO of AAPL, says. “The lessons learned and the achievements of the book’s contributors are astounding, and should provide a roadmap for those who follow their lead.”

The book’s contributors represent a who’s who of women in STEM:

  • Evangelyn C. Alocilja, PhD
    Professor, Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering,
    Michigan State University
    Founder, Global Alliance for Rapid Diagnostics
    Member, National Academy of Inventors

  • Cecilia Aragon, PhD
    Professor of Human-Centered Data Science,
    University of Washington

  • Gilda A. Barabino, PhD
    President and Professor of Biomedical & Chemical Engineering,
    Olin College of Engineering

  • Lisa D. Chong, PhD
    Editor, Science Journals

  • Daphney R. Chery, PhD
    STEM Advocate, Speaker, Innovation Lead at Northrop Grumman

  • Rita R. Colwell, PhD, DSc
    Distinguished University Professor,
    University of Maryland College Park and
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

  • The Honorable France A. Cordova, PhD
    President, Science Philanthropy Alliance
    14th Director, National Science Foundation
    External Faculty, Santa Fe Institute

  • Catie Cuan
    PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering
    Stanford University
    Roboticist, artist, choreographer

  • Margaret Dayhoff-Brannigan, PhD
    Regulatory Project Manager and Primary Reviewer
    Office of Vaccines Research & Review
    Food & Drug Administration

  • Claire M. Fraser, PhD
    Dean E. Albert Reese Endowed Professor, Department of Medicine
    Director, Institute for Genome Sciences
    University of Maryland School of Medicine

  • Olivia L. George, PhD
    Associate Professor, Biology
    University of Hawaii-West O’ahu
    Mathematics, Natural & Health Sciences Division

  • Korie Grayson, PhD
    Chemist, Biomedical Engineer, STEM Diversity Advocate
    AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow

  • Malika Grayson, PhD
    Speaker and Founder, STEMinist Empowered LLC
    Program Manager, Northrop Grumman

  • Judith Greenberg, PhD
    Former Deputy Director, National Institute of General Medical Sciences
    National Institutes of Health

  • Ronna Hertzano, MD, PhD
    Senior Investigator and Chief of Neurotology Branch
    National Institutes for Deafness and other Communications Disorders
    National Institutes of Health
    Professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
    Affiliate member, Institute for Genome Sciences
    University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore

  • Aishwarya Iyer
    MD/PhD Student (PhD candidate in Biochemistry)
    Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
    University of Maryland School of Medicine

  • Maria Klawe, PhD
    President, Harvey Mudd College
    Incoming President, Math for America

  • Kristin E. Lauter, PhD
    Director of Research Science
    North American Labs for Meta AI Research

  • Cathleen (Cat) Lutz, PhD, MBA
    Vice President, Rare Disease Transitional Center at The Jackson Laboratory

  • Marcia McNutt, PhD
    President, National Academy of Sciences

  • Estelle Russek-Cohen, PhD
    Former Director, Division of Biostatistics
    Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research
    Food & Drug Administration

  • Deborah M. Shlian, MD, MBA
    Former CEO, Shlian & Associates, Inc. (executive/physician search and medical management consulting)
    Author of fiction ( and nonfiction

  • Ida Sim, MD, PhD
    Professor of Medicine & Computational Precision Health
    University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

  • Barbara Simons, PhD
    Retired, IBM Research
    Former President, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
    Board Chair, Verified Voting

  • Tatiana Toro, PhD
    Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Washington
    Director, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MRSI)
    Simons Lauter Mathematical Sciences Institute (SLMath)

  • Lydia Villa-Komaroff, PhD
    Founder & President, Intersections Consulting: Science, Business, Diversity

  • Valda Vinson, PhD
    Executive Editor, Science Journals

  • Maggie Werner-Washburne, PhD
    Regents Professor Emerita, University of New Mexico
    Founder, STEM Boomerang
    career portal:

  • Telle Whitney, PhD
    Consultant and Speaker
    Co-Founder, Grace Hopper Celebration
    Former CEO, Anita Borg Institute  

  • Amie Wilkinson, PhD
    Professor of Mathematics, University of Chicago

  • Rachel Willand-Charnley, PhD
    Assistant Professor, South Dakota State University
    Department Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Jiwon Yang, PhD, MBA
    Principal Scientist, The Jackson Laboratory (JAX)

About Deborah M. Shlian, MD, MBA
Deborah M. Shlian, MD, MBA, is a board-certified family practitioner with more than three decades of clinical and management experience. Dr. Shlian has been able to balance work life with writing, producing several nonfiction articles, chapters, and books on medical management issues. She also writes fiction. All her works of fiction have won literary awards, including the Florida Book Award's Gold Medal.

About the American Association for Physician Leadership
The American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) is focused on the personal transformation of all physicians, and through them the organizations they serve. With the goal of improving patient outcomes, workforce wellness, and a refinement of all healthcare delivery, AAPL has remained the only association solely focused on providing professional development, leadership education, and management training exclusively for physicians. Since its founding in 1975, AAPL has educated 250,000+ physicians across 40 countries—including CEOs, chief medical officers and physicians at all levels of healthcare.

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For over 45 years.

The American Association for Physician Leadership has helped physicians develop their leadership skills through education, career development, thought leadership and community building.

The American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) changed its name from the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) in 2014. We may have changed our name, but we are the same organization that has been serving physician leaders since 1975.


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