Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week.” This continued throughout the next five years. In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Since 1988, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.
The 2022 Women’s History theme, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” is both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.
Notable Pitt Women You Should Know This Women’s History Month
In celebration of the women of the University of Pittsburgh, Pittwire featured an article written by Acacia O’Connor entitled “Notable Pitt Women You Should Know This Women’s History Month.” Two of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members were highlighted in the piece. They are:
- Anna Balazs, PhD, the John A. Swanson Chair in Engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering and a Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
- Dan Ding, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology with a secondary appointment in the Department of Bioengineering and a Research Scientist at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories in the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Engineering from biology
Engineer and “biomimicry” scholar, Dr. Balazs is an internationally acclaimed expert, her many accolades also include being the first woman to receive the prestigious Polymer Physics Prize from the American Physical Society in 2016. Most recently, she was named as one of the newest members of the National Academy of Engineering — less than a year after being elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Read more about Professor Balazs work in “soft robotics” here.
Regenerating medical technology
Voice-activated technology has become a part of our everyday lives. For some, including those with disabilities and injuries, these can be life-giving technologies. This is where Dr. Ding comes in. Her research is changing the field of assistive robots and wearables to improve accessibility and promote wider wireless use. She is the principal investigator on a new Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center called Promoting Mainstream Wireless Inclusion through Technology Services. The project received a $4.6 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services in 2021.
Celebrating Pitt Dental Medicine Women in Research During Women’s History Month: University of Pittsburgh Women in Craniofacial and Oral Research Committee
Started at the School of Dental Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh Women in Craniofacial and Oral Research Group serves to support the interests and development of women working in the areas of dental, oral, and craniofacial research. The Committee engages in activities to improve collaboration with other departments and programs at Pitt; highlights research accomplishments; cultivates communication, collaboration, and mentoring networks; emphasizes the value of diversity and inclusion in oral and craniofacial research; and advocates for the needs of women in the field to help reduce the world-wide dental research gender gap. Three McGowan Institute affiliated faculty members are on this committee:
- Fatima Syed-Picard, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, and a faculty member in the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration.
- Heather Szabo-Rogers, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, and a faculty member in the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration.
- Dobrawa Napierala, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, and a faculty member in the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration.
Thank you to these and all of the women of the McGowan Institute for your continued contributions and successes!
Illustrations: National Women’s History Alliance (logo)/McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (affiliated faculty members)