ORLANDO, April 2, 2010 — College of Medicine Drs. Ella Bossy-Wetzel and Marcy Verduin and Dean Deborah German were honored recently as “Women Making History” by the UCF Women’s Research Center. The center honored 15 UCF women faculty members for their research, creative activities and leadership from 2008-2010.
Dr. Leslie Sue Lieberman, director of the WRC, said the awards are designed to “increase the visibility of productive women on campus” by recognizing those who have earned a national or international reputation in their fields of expertise.
Dr. Bossy-Wetzel is an associate professor in the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. Her specialty is neurodegeneration – the decline of the central nervous system. Her research is focused on discovering why nerve cells die in hopes of finding ways to slow or even stop the process, which can result in Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s’ diseases. She has received three National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants for her work. She has also received numerous awards from organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the European Molecular biology Organization and Swiss National Funds. She serves on grant review boards for the NIH, the National Science Foundation and the American Heart Association. Dr. Bossy-Wetzel currently serves on one NIH Study Section as a member and does ad hoc reviews for another. In 2008 and 2009 she was an ad hoc reviewer for the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Dr. Verduin is assistant dean of students at the College of Medicine and Director for the Psychosocial Issues in Healthcare Module. She is principal investigator for a project developing a video game for recovering alcoholics, which is funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant. The video allows participants to practice skills in staying sober in a realistic setting. Dr. Verduin is the attending psychiatrist at the Orlando VA Medical Center’s Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program. She serves in leadership positions with the American Psychiatric Association, and is the Association for Academic Psychiatry Liaison for The American College of Psychiatrists’ Psychiatry Resident-In-Training Examination (PRITE). In 2009, she was selected for the Alcohol Medical Scholars program and is a member of the Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning for the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. German was recognized for her leadership as the founding Dean of the UCF College of Medicine and for spearheading a fundraising drive that resulted in full, four-year scholarships for all 41 students in the college’s charter class. The scholarships were funded by nearly $7 million in donations from across Central Florida and give each student $40,000 a year for tuition, living expenses and fees. The effort drew national attention from a variety of sources, including NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and the Association of American Medical Colleges, which said UCF was the first medical school ever to provide full scholarships for four years to an entire class. The Dean has also been named Central Floridian of the Year by the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board and Business Executive of the Year and Businesswoman of the year by the Orlando Business Journal and Orlando Health.
The UCF Women’s Research Center works to enhance the prominence of UCF in research relevant to women and the research capacity of women faculty. Wednesday’s celebration coincided with Women’s History Month. The guest speaker was Dr. Wendy Libby, the current and first woman president of Stetson University in DeLand. Her speech topic was “Successful Leadership for Women – and Others for that Matter.”