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From President Drake: Celebrating Women’s History Month

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President Drake

At the University of California – and across the nation – we are marking Women’s History Month. This year’s theme, established by the National Women’s History Alliance, is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” As we join in this month’s celebration, I am struck by the thought-provoking and inspiring storytelling by, and about, women with connections to the University of California.

One book to take note of is the latest winner of the 2023 Dan David Prize – the largest history prize in the world. Just announced last month, the prize was awarded to UC Berkeley Associate Professor of History Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, who won for “They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South.” Also, out this month from the University of California Press is “Moving the Needle: What Tight Labor Markets Do for the Poor” – co-authored by the university’s own new provost, Dr. Katherine Newman.

As a physician, I have a particular interest in the history of medicine and public health. There are so many stories to tell – and stories that remain to be told – about the role of women in this field. One story on my mind this month, three years after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, is that of Kizzmekia Corbett, an immunologist instrumental in the early development of the COVID-19 vaccine. A brilliant scientist who helped solve one of the biggest health crises in modern history, Dr. Corbett is an inspiring woman on the vanguard of science.

I hope you find time this month to celebrate and reflect on the storytellers of women’s history.

Fiat Lux!

Michael V. Drake, M.D.
University of California

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