The first female physician to practice at Cincinnati Children’s almost didn’t get admitted to medical school. But Katherine “Katie” Dodd, MD, was determined. She fought for her right to be educated alongside her male counterparts at Johns Hopkins, and she received her medical degree in 1921.
Dr. Dodd accepted a position at Cincinnati Children’s in 1944 and spent the next eight years here caring for young patients and educating medical students and residents. She was highly admired and led the way for other females to work in the field of medicine.
In honor of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on February 11 each year, we highlight a few of our many current female faculty members who follow in Dr. Dodd’s footsteps. These women are passionate about partnering with their colleagues to advance medicine and improve patient care. We are proud to honor them and the work they do.
Rama S. Ayyala, MD
Pediatric radiologist, Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging
Division Director, Thoraco-abdominal Imaging
Associate Chief of Culture, Quality and Safety, Radiology
As a pediatric radiologist, Dr. Ayyala’s studies focus on imaging before and after a baby’s birth, as well as pediatric gastrointestinal imaging. As the field of imaging has advanced, she sees more opportunities for care before and after a baby is born. These advancements have driven her to learn more about how imaging plays a role in directing patient care for optimal outcomes. Dr. Ayyala also works on promoting physician wellness and enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion in medicine.
“I enjoy supporting my colleagues and strengthening relationships with other clinical teams to provide excellent patient care that can significantly impact each child and family.”
Rashmi S. Hegde, PhD
Researcher, Division of Developmental Biology
Vice Chair for Basic and Data Sciences and Education
Current research in Dr. Hegde’s lab focuses on cancer biology and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). She and her team are working on devising strategies to prevent incurable recurrences of Ewing sarcoma, a rare pediatric cancer of the bone and surrounding soft tissue. They also are working to improve treatment of PAH, a severe, often fatal condition with no cure. Dr. Hegde recently was named Vice Chair for Basic and Data Sciences and Education at Cincinnati Children’s. In this role, she oversees science divisions and advocates for continued excellence in research and education at the medical center.
“A career in biomedical research is like solving an endless puzzle with smart, motivated colleagues and a shared goal of understanding and improving the human condition. I could not have chosen a more rewarding career.”
LaQuita Jones, DO
Pediatric oncologist and researcher, Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute
As a physician-scientist, Dr. Jones and her lab study childhood cancer. She is interested in the study and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the second most common blood cancer in children. While chemotherapy is a mainstay for treating pediatric AML, it can cause significant side effects. Targeted therapies are being more widely used in the treatment of AML, offering possibly fewer side effects. Unfortunately, AML sometimes becomes resistant to targeted therapy. Dr. Jones leads research that studies this topic. She and her team hope to discover new treatments to overcome this resistance.
“My passion and care for patients drive my research. I believe durable, effective treatment options for AML are possible, and my team and I are working diligently to contribute knowledge to this part of oncology, in hopes of impacting the lives of patients and families in a positive way.”
Monica Mitchell, PhD
Pediatric psychologist, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology
Senior Director, Community Relations
Dr. Mitchell’s research interests include pediatric health disparities, mental health and health policy. She leads a team of researchers who have conducted studies related to pediatric sickle cell disease, nutrition and physical activity, and COVID-19 and flu vaccination. Dr. Mitchell leads the Innovations program at Cincinnati Children’s, which evaluates community-based programs and promotes the use of evidence-based health and mental health practices. As senior director of Community Relations at Cincinnati Children’s, Dr. Mitchell develops and manages partnerships and investments within the community. She also engages employees to give back to the community through volunteerism and service.
Dr. Mitchell is inspired by the quote and the concept posed by Margaret Wheatley, “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”
Jennifer L. Reed, MD, MS
Emergency medicine physician, Division of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Reed works as a physician in the Emergency Department (ED). Her research focuses on adolescent reproductive healthcare in the ED. She is funded by the National Institutes of Health and has conducted several studies on screening interventions for sexually transmitted infections in the ED, where she aims to reach high-risk teens who may otherwise not receive primary healthcare. She also is pioneering work in gender equity, having started an annual conference in 2021 to highlight challenges and solutions for promoting equity and advancement of women in pediatric emergency medicine.
“I am a first-generation college graduate, and I was determined to become a doctor from a young age with a goal to make a difference in the life of every child I encounter in the emergency department.”
Danielle E. Weber, MD, MEd
Internal medicine-pediatric hospitalist, Division of Hospital Medicine
Dr. Weber is a medical educator. She oversees the clinical curriculum for third- and fourth-year medical students at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine while co-directing the clinical skills course for first- and second-year students. She has a particular interest in improving physician communication skills. As an internal medicine-pediatric hospitalist, Dr. Weber cares for children who are inpatients at Cincinnati Children’s and is part of a team that helps care for adult patients who need to be admitted to Cincinnati Children’s for specific reasons.
“In my practice, I believe we need to always think about the specific patient and family in order to deliver the best medical care. Helping them know what to expect and being open about what we know and don’t know as medical providers are my priorities.”
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