It seemed especially fitting when Esther Freeman, MD, PhD, of the Department of Dermatology/Global Health Dermatology, led her newborn baby Imogen into the June 15 luncheon celebrating the ability for women to be both successful researchers and mothers.

Freeman was one of six honorees who received this year’s Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award – supporting junior faculty who have child rearing responsibilities – presented by The Office for Women’s Careers and the Executive Committee on Research. The award was named in honor of Jane Claflin, a leader and hospital benefactor who, for many year, has supported women and their careers at the MGH.

During the luncheon ceremony, recipient Marta Bianciardi, PhD, of the Department of Radiology, presented an overview of her work, and thanked the award committee for the chance to remain productive in the lab while balancing career with parenthood. “Usually children are viewed as an obstacle to an academic career, or any career, but at the MGH my children have been an incentive for my academic career,” she said. “I dedicate this award to the hardworking mothers in my family. I wish every woman could receive recognition and support at work because they raise their children and work at the same time.”

Stephen Calderwood, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Disease, and long-time supporter of the Claflin Award program, explained how the direct effect of these awards can be seen in the hiring of additional staff to help with an awardee’s research. Calderwood thanked the supporters of the award and the recipients for their hard work and dedication. “Thank you very much for supporting each other, research at this institution and the MGH overall.”

Honoree and presenter Susie Huang, MD, PhD, of the Department of Radiology, shared a photograph of her mother, who passed away last fall. “To me, receiving the Claflin Award is a continuation of my mother’s legacy, to allow me to be there for my children when they most need me as they are growing up.” 

2017 Claflin Award recipients

Marta Bianciardi, PhD, Department of Radiology/Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, “Imaging individual brainstem nuclei and pathways in sleep disorders”

Esther Freeman, MD, PhD, Department of Dermatology/Global Health Dermatology, “Incidence of Kaposi’s sarcoma despite antiretroviral treatment for HIV”

Jennifer Ho, MD, Department of Medicine/Cardiovascular Research Center, “The association of metabolic disease and pulmonary hypertension”

Susie Huang, MD, PhD, Department of Radiology/Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, “Characterization of axonal injury and myelin integrity in multiple sclerosis using ultra-high gradient diffusion MRI”

Marcela Maus, MD, PhD, Department of Medicine/Center for Cancer Research, “Design and evaluation of re-directed T cells for multiple myeloma”

Shannon Stott, PhD, Department of Medicine/Center for Cancer Research, “A microfluidic liquid biopsy to predict post-resection response in pancreatic cancer”

This article was originally published in the 07/21/17 Hotline issue.