Women have made groundbreaking contributions to science throughout history and yet their numbers and visibility in many scientific fields have remained low. Their stories are often characterized by perseverance and tenacity. Though women scientists continue to face the toxic impact of implicit and explicit bias; sexual harassment; unequal access to funding and resources; pay inequity; higher teaching and advising loads; and fewer speaking invitations, many have persisted… and succeeded. These remarkable women – including the fictionalized versions written for screens both big and small – represent a highly inspirational and diverse array of role models for those who seek to follow in their footsteps.
Join us for a conversation between Peabody-award winning writer/executive producer Wendy Calhoun – whose work spans such TV hits as Empire, Revenge, and Nashville – and Vivian Pinn, an accomplished physician, professor, and inaugural director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This wide-ranging discussion will touch upon how writers for television and film develop characters that challenge stereotypes, the research on the powerful impact of role models in inspiring our next generation of scientists, and the very personal stories of struggle and triumph from a trail-blazing doctor who is a role model to so many.
Research presented in the recent National Academies report – Promising Practices for Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine – suggests that even brief exposure to a woman scientist role model enhances female students’ interest in and identification with these fields.
Peabody-award winning writer/executive producer Wendy Calhoun’s unique career spans one-hour dramas, unscripted series, VR, and gaming. Her scripted drama credits include Co-Executive Producing and writing the historic first season of FBC’s Empire, as well as debut seasons of Prodigal Son, Station 19, Nashville, Revenge, and Justified. Known as a champion for diversity and inclusion, Calhoun’s developed and sold nine series pitches since 2015 with buyers including Netflix, Walt Disney TV, HBO Max, Warner Horizons Unscripted, WBTV, NBC, The CW, F/X, and ABC Signature Studios.
Vivian W. Pinn is Senior Scientist Emerita at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was the inaugural full-time director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the NIH and Associate Director of NIH for Women’s Health Research. Under her leadership, this office led the implementation of NIH research inclusion policies for women and minorities in clinical research, developed the first national strategic plans for women’s health research, and established new research funding initiatives and career development programs. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 1995.