Dr. Samuel Katz was chair of the Department of Pediatrics 1968-1990. In the past, the field has traditionally been seen as one that is more acceptable for women to enter, and the Duke Department of Pediatrics was 30 percent female faculty by 1980. Dr. Katz speaks about this trend and about specific women in the department under his tenure.
Dr. Rebecca Buckley was born in 1933 in Hamlet, North Carolina. She graduated with an A.B. from Duke University in 1954 and an MD from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1958, and she then continued her training and became a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Buckley studied pediatric allergy with Dr. Susan Dees in the Division of Pediatric Allergy at Duke, and was the chief of the division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology from 1974 to 2003.
Dr. Buckley studies and maintains a remarkable success rate with a surgical technique for babies with severe combined immunodeficiency, or "bubble boy disease," which enables significant numbers of SCID babies to develop normal immune systems through the removal of T-cells from donor bone marrow. Dr. Buckley was named the J. Buren Sidbury Professor of Pediatrics in 1979, a position she continues to hold currently; she was the first female at Duke Medical School to be given a distinguished professorship. Dr. Buckley has written extensively, served on numerous committees, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine, and has been given many awards, including the William G. Anlyan Lifetime Achievement Award from the Duke Medical Alumni Association, in 2006.
Dr. Susan Dees was born in 1909 in Hancock, Michigan. She received her MD from Johns Hopkins in 1934. In 1939 she joined the faculty of Duke University Medical Center, as did her husband, urologist Dr. John Dees. Dr. Susan Dees was one of the first female faculty physicians at Duke. She also served as the first female division chief in the medical center, in Pediatric Allergy, from the inception of the division in 1948 until 1974. After stepping down as division chief, continued to serve on the faculty. In 1958 she became the first female to achieve the rank of full professor in Duke Medical Center. She authored over 60 publications, trained numerous pediatric residents, established the Duke Hospital School for Sick Children, and was among the first to recognize Wiskott-Adlrich Primary Immunodeficiency Syndrome and Gastoresophogeal Reflux as a major trigger of asthma attacks. She died in 2001.
Howell received a BA from Park College in Parkville, Missouri in 1944, and an MD from McGill University in 1949. She interned at Children's Memorial Hospital in Montreal, Canada, and then came to Duke in 1951 as a senior assistant resident in pediatrics-in 1970 she would be the first female to be given the Distinguished Duke Medical Alumni Award. In 1952 she was a research fellow in hematology at Harvard. She returned to Duke in 1955 and served as a pediatric hematologist working with pediatric cancer patients until 1963 when she left to become chair of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. She would also become chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Diego in 1974.
Dr. Howell has been a pioneer in the hospice movement since 1968. She served on the Hospice Board of Directors since its inception and was instrumental in founding San Diego Hospice, of which she was named Director Emerita in 1989. Since her retirement, Dr. Howell established the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Research in Women's Health, which gives research grants to scholars in the area of women's healthcare and research. She has been given numerous awards, including the Salvation Army Woman of Distinction Award, the Humanism Award from the Health Care Foundation of New Jersey, and awards for leadership and service from the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has been listed in Who's Who in American Women.
Dr. Priya Kishnani was born in Bombay, India. She received her MD in Bombay in 1990. She came to the United States in 1991 and became a resident at Duke University Medical Center. At Duke, Dr. Kishnani became involved in designing the first clinical trials for a new treatment of Pompe disease, a rare disease affecting the heart and the muscles. The treatment, using a drug called Myozyme, was ultimately successful, and it achieved FDA approval for treatment of the disease in 2006. Dr. Kishnani has dedicated her career to advancing the treatment of Pompe disease globally. She has become an expert in designing clinical trials for treatments of rare diseases, and is often sought as a consultant for this expertise. She is published widely.
Dr. Lois Pounds received her bachelor's of science in nursing at the University of Pittsburgh in 1955, and her master of letters and MD also from the University of Pittsburgh, in 1960 and 1965, respectively. After serving as a staff nurse and nursing instructor at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, she came to Duke in 1969 as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics. She directed the outpatient services of the department and also taught nursing courses at Duke School of Nursing 1971-1974. Dr. Pounds was only one of several women in the Department of Pediatrics upon her arrival, as well a one of a small percentage in the medical center. She has served Duke in numerous capacities, often as the lone female on various medical center committees.
In 1974, Dr. Pounds returned to the University of Pittsburgh as an associate professor of pediatrics, and in 1979 became the associate dean for admissions. Beginning in 1984, she served as associate dean for student affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and in 1987 returned to Duke as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics and associate dean for medical education and the director of medical school admissions. As such she was an advocate of women's admissions into medical school. Dr. Pounds is retired but continues her involvement in the Duke community as a volunteer and as a member of the board of directors at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a docent at the Duke Chapel, and in other capacities.
Catherine Wilfert was born July 26, 1936, in Inglewood, California. She graduated from Stanford College in 1958 with distinction and attended Harvard Medical School where she graduated cum laude. Dr. Wilfert's internship was at Boston Children's Hospital, and her residency was at North Carolina Baptist Hospital. In 1964, Dr. Wilfert returned to Boston where she continued to work in pediatrics and medicine. In 1969, she came to Duke University School of Medicine, where she achieved the rank of division chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in the Department of Pediatrics (1976-1994) and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. In 1996, she left Duke to become the scientific director of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Dr. Wilfert's work since the onset of AIDS has primarily been focused on the eradication of pediatric AIDS, and she is considered a seminal investigator in the field. Her clinical trial group demonstrated the efficacy of using doses of AZT to reduce the incidence of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Due to the application of this knowledge, pediatric AIDS in the United States has been reduced by 75 percent. Dr. Wilfert now works to reduce mother-to-infant transmission of AIDS in developing countries around the world. She is also currently the chair of the Perinatal Working Group for the Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), sponsored by NIH.
Dr. Wilfert has been on the editorial board of numerous publications and has served as a consultant for private companies as well as US and state governments. In 1999, she became only the second woman President in the history of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. She is the recipient of many awards including the Award of Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to Advancing the Prevention of Perinatal Transmission at A Global Strategies Conference for the Prevention of HIV Transmission from Mothers to Infants in 1997. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in HIV from the Third International Meeting on HIV in India in 2001, and was given the Distinguished Award of Honor for Love of Humanity Especially in the Third World from the Cameroon Baptist Convention on Occasion of Its 50th Anniversary Celebration, in 2004. She was inducted to the Institute of Medicine in 1999.