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About Us

Mary Elizabeth Garrett

Our History

Philanthropist Mary Elizabeth Garrett provided the financial support for the founding of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (SOM) in 1893. She not only contributed financially, but did so with rigorous stipulations, which included the admittance of women on equal terms as men. The leadership of Mary Elizabeth Garrett transformed not only the role of women in medicine, but also improved the quality of medical education in America. Her early vision of gender equity ultimately changed the culture of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. 

In 2005, a report by the SOM Committee on Faculty Development and Gender summarized the status of women at the School of Medicine and offered nine recommendations to maximize the hiring, promotion, and retention of female faculty. As a result of the report, a Joint Oversight Committee was formed to monitor equity factors in the SOM. Additionally in 2008, the OWISM was formed to address the recommendations and subsequently an OWISM Advisory Board was formed.


Past Reports

View the original 2005 Committee on Faculty Development and Gender report, as well as the 2009 and 2014 follow up reports on the status of women to see the progress we have made and the barriers we still face.


Our Mission

Our mission is to foster the academic progress of the SOM women faculty, through education, advocacy, mentoring and networking. In addition to providing opportunities for women to acquire the skills and strategies for professional development, we also work to increase the representation of women in leadership roles. By identifying and addressing barriers to advancement, we promote the importance of diversity, humanism, varied career paths, personal wellness and work-life balance.

Our goals are to:

  1. Improve pathways to leadership and career advancement for women.
  2. Advocate for the women faculty in the SOM, in regards to their scholarship, educational contributions, and clinical care.
  3. Allow for transparency in leadership at the SOM.
  4. Improve the work climate for all SOM women faculty.

The Office of Women in Science and Medicine (OWISM) serves to network women at all ranks in the 31 Departments of the School of Medicine, and offers educational programs to meet the needs of all women faculty. 

Women Faculty and Alumni are always welcome to contact the Office of Women in Science and Medicine (OWISM) regarding their interests, issues and programming ideas. We invite your suggestions and value your input.

I look forward to your participation in OWISM programs!

Barbara Fivush, M.D.

Senior Associate Dean of Women
Director of The Office of Women in Science and Medicine
Professor, Pediatrics

Barbara Fivush

Support Staff

Joanne Drake

Senior Administrative Coordinator

Joanne Drake

Contact Us

To learn more about the Office of Women in Science and Medicine, email us at

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