VERMILLION, S.D. – Mary Nettleman, M.D., dean of the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine and vice-president of USD’s Division of Health Affairs, has been named the 2019-2020 recipient of the Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell Award for Outstanding Contributions to Advancing the Careers of Women in Medicine. This prestigious national award is presented by the American College of Physicians.
Nettleman’s own career as a clinician, researcher, academic and as a medical school leader has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to women’s health issues and to promoting women in health and medical careers. Prior to her duties as dean of USD’s medical school that began in 2012, Nettleman was a professor of medicine and chair of the department of medicine at Michigan State University. There, and at other institutions including the University of Iowa and Indiana University, she distinguished herself in the field of health services research, particularly regarding diseases and conditions related to women.
Under Nettleman, USD’s medical school has initiated concerted efforts to encourage South Dakota high school and college students to pursue education and training in medicine and health sciences. Increasing the number of women serving as physicians in South Dakota is a central objective. Nettleman has pursued this objective not by creating preferential treatment, but by identifying and removing barriers that disproportionately hinder women. Nationally, she was the first person to identify gendered language in letters of recommendation written by medical schools for their students applying for residencies, and she led efforts to eliminate such bias. Nettleman has also led efforts at the school of medicine to implement policies recognizing the needs of women who are both mothers and medical students. At USD she has recruited women into faculty positions and administrative roles at the medical school. Nearly half of the school’s leadership is now female.