AAWR Research and Education Foundation

The goal of the AAWR Research & Education Foundation is to provide Professional Leadership Awards and Research Grants to AAWR members. The Foundation sponsors one junior and one mid-career AAWR member to attend the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Professional Development Seminars. The AAWR Research Grant Program is designed to support research projects conducted by AAWR members. The AAWR Research & Education Foundation thrives on donations from our members and support from our corporate partners.

Past Winners

AAMC Early Career

AAWR Early Career Professional Leadership Award

2020/2021 Winner

Nanda Thimmappa, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Radiology, Medical Director of Ultrasound, Associate Program Director of Radiology Residency Program
University of Missouri

Dr. Thimmappa is Clinical Assistant Professor of Radiology, Medical Director of Ultrasound, and Associate Program Director of Radiology Residency Program at University of Missouri, Columbia (Mizzou). She obtained fellowship training in Body Imaging and Body MRI at Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York. As faculty at Mizzou, she established Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound service and introduced iMorgan software for ultrasound reporting, which resulted in improved workflow. Dr. Thimmappa’s research and teaching interests include US and MRI imaging modalities, particularly in the areas of contrast enhanced ultrasound and Liver MRI.

Dr. Thimmappa represents the Body Imaging section at the Radiology Education committee, and is Radiology representative to the University of Missouri School of Medicine Faculty Affairs Council. She serves as lead facilitator of Annual Mistreatment Awareness Training for the Department of Radiology. Dr. Thimmappa leads a case-based peer-learning program for the Department of Radiology. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Missouri Radiology Society – the Missouri Chapter of ACR.


2019 Winner

Chara Rydzak, MD, PhD 
Assistant Professor of Radiology
OHSU in the Cardiothoracic Imaging Section

Dr. Rydzak began her career as an Assistant Professor of Radiology at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University in St. Louis in the Cardiothoracic Imaging Section where she served on the Lung Cancer Screening Leadership Committee and received a Mallinckrodt Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Rydzak completed her undergraduate training at Stanford University, double majoring in English and Human Biology. She spent several years conducting research in Health Policy, Decision Science and Comparative Effectiveness across a range of health issues before pursuing an MD, PhD at Harvard University. She received her MD and PhD in Health Policy with a concentration in Decision Science in May 2010 with a dissertation focused on the application of Decision Science methods to public health problems in underserved populations in local and international settings. She completed her residency in Diagnostic Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 where she served as Chief Resident and received the Baum-Laufer Award for Excellence in Service to the Penn Radiology Residency program. Dr. Rydzak is passionate about teaching, mentorship and program development and is excited to help develop new educational programs and opportunities at OHSU and lead expansion of the Lung Cancer Screening program. 

2018 Winner

Dr. Diana L. Lam
University of Washington Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

I am extremely honored to have had the opportunity to attend the AAMC Professional Development Seminar for Early-Career Women Faculty in Westminster, CO this past July. I am grateful to the American Association for Women Radiologists for advertising this opportunity; otherwise this would not been on my radar. Furthermore, I thank the AAWR for supporting the registration costs of the event and my colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle for the time given to attend. Read More

2017 Winner

Dr Rama Ayyala
Columbia University Medical Center


2016 Winner

Lucy B. Spalluto, MD
Assistant Professor
Co-Director, Women in Radiology
Associate Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences

I am extremely appreciative of the opportunity provided to me by the American Association for Women in Radiology to attend the 2016 Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar.  I must admit, I was initially uncertain of what to expect from such an intense faculty development program and I was slightly apprehensive as meeting orientation approached!

However, upon arrival at the Inverness Hotel, I was immediately put at ease by the welcoming atmosphere of this unique seminar.  The AAMC has truly designed this program to accommodate the career development needs of each women attendee as an individual and offers an unparalleled experience for women faculty to gain executive skills necessary for success in academic medicine.

Each dynamic speaker thoroughly covered an important topic such as Time Management and Organization, Communication as a Leader, Understanding Medical School Finances, and Difficult Conversations.  Small group sessions offered opportunities to work closely with the AAMC faculty members.  Importantly, the seminar encouraged and provided ample time for something we are often lack in academic medicine:  self-reflection.  This included understanding of personality type and how to use your personality type as a strength, strategizing your ideal career path, and gaining insight into how you are seen by others. 

I am confident that I will not only integrate the skills I acquired at the AAMC Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar into my professional practice, but that I will also share these skills with my female colleagues and our trainees.  I highly recommend this seminar to other women in academic medicine, and also strongly recommend that institutions offer support to female faculty interested in attending.  


2015 Winner

Dr. Bhavika Patel:  AAMC Early Career Award Winner

I am honored to have had the opportunity to represent the American Association for Women's Radiologists at the Early Career Women Faculty Development Seminar hosted by the American Association of Medical Colleges in Inverness, CO this past July.    I was excited to be part of this group of motivated and talented young women who had all come together to support the professional development of women in academia. 

The weekend began with a name card at a table full of strangers. We introduced ourselves and learned that we shared the common pursuit of being academic radiologists, all of us from different regions of the US. Although there were only seven radiologists in total, we were all excited to share our individual experiences. Before the end of the day, we had discussed work-related issues such as the promotion track at our respective institutions or different approaches to teaching trainees as well as personal topics such as what our spouses do (medicine or not) and how we balance being mothers and academic radiologists.   

The days were filled with various lectures ranging from Working Through Differences: Personality Types at Work, Striving and Thriving in Tough Times: Career Strategies for Women in Academic Medicine, Transforming Difficult Conversations into Opportunities for Positive Change, and Fundamentals of Leadership. On two afternoons, I attended smaller breakout sessions including Turning Your Clinical, Administrative, and Educational Activities into Scholarship – for Clinician-Educators and Succeeding at Change Management: Bringing New Programs from Theory to Reality.


In addition to learning practical workplace skills, the conference focused on self-reflection and determining how our personalities shape our professional goals and workplace dynamic.  To provide additional insights, we took the Myers-Briggs personality test, a fascinating introspective questionnaire which indicates psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. The premise is that we all have specific preferences in the way we understand our experiences, and these preferences underlie our interests, needs, values, and motivation. Although one is able to learn their best cognitive learning style through the test, we learned how to empathize and understand others who were not in our same results group.  These self-reflection exercises provided a framework to be more understanding as co-workers, educators, and, most importantly, physicians.


Additionally, in the smaller breakout sessions, we learned techniques to improve our communication skills. One of the role-playing scenarios was to ask a supervisor for something that you have been meaning to address (for instance a promotion or lab space) but the catch was that we had to videotape one another doing it and then analyze our own video. Communication is obviously very important and body language influences how you come across and feel about yourself. The speaker focused on a dialogue by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, who teaches the concept of “Powerposes”.  Cuddy and her team have classified different body positions as “high power” or “low power” poses. In general, we practiced delivery with high power poses which are open and relaxed while avoiding the low power poses which are closed and guarded. More info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4ACeoqEjeA.


The seminar was especially insightful for me as an academic radiologist and female physician. It was also a comfortable setting to share ideas and ask questions of women in a similar field as well as more experienced mentors in academia. Some of the lessons learned will be carried with me throughout my career and will hopefully be shared with future mentees and trainees of the AAWR.

AAMC Mid Career

AAWR Mid Career Professional Leadership Award


2018 Winner

Dr. Courtney Moreno
Emory University School of Medicine

Thank you to the American Association for Women Radiologists for the opportunity to attend the Association of American Medical College's Professional Development Seminar for Mid-Career Women Faculty. Also, thank you to Dr. Carolyn Meltzer for nominating me for this award. The seminar took place in Atlanta, Georgia, December 1-4, 2018.  Read More


2017 Winner

Salma Jabbour, MD
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

With a subspecialty in lung a Salma Jabbour, M.D, is a board certified radiation oncologist specializing in thoracic and gastrointestinal malignancies.  She is currently a Professor of Radiation Oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University.  She received her medical degree from the University of Maryland.  After an internship in internal medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center, she completed her residency and was selected as Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of
Medicine in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences.  Read More

My Experience at the AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar

The AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar held in Scottsdale Arizona on December 2-5, 2017, was a thoughtfully designed and well-conducted course.  This intensive 3.5-day seminar aims to help attendees visualize potential paths to leadership and develop career plans toward that vision, identify networks of mentors and colleagues in academic medicine, and acquire the tools and skills necessary for leading teams toward improved performance.  I am extremely appreciative of this superb opportunity provided by the AAWR and for the mentorship of Dr. Maria Kelly and Dr. Bruce Haffty. Read More




2013 AAWR R&E Foundation Mid-Career Award Recipient - Maria Spampinato, MD 

I would like to thank the American Association for Women Radiologists for the amazing opportunity to attend the AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar in December 2013. The target audiences of the seminar are women clinicians and scientists holding leadership positions within their departments or academic institutions. The goal of the seminar is to further enhance the skills and knowledge needed during the leadership development journey. Certain traits and personal characteristics are essential for an effective leader, for example, transparency, integrity, authenticity, responsibility, and vision. However, many of the skills necessary for effective leadership can be learned. The seminar gives plenty of opportunity to practice communication skills and leadership tools, such as conflict management, team-building skills, negotiation skills, building and managing relationships in an effective interactive format. There are many styles and paths to effective leadership because we all have our own personality, temperament, core values, and work styles. An effective leader brings to the table a unique blend of strengths and weaknesses but knows how to use this self-awareness to their advantage in team work dynamics. Leaders can achieve this by teaming up with individuals with different qualities and skills and adjusting communication styles to get their point across in team interactions. Another “pearl of leadership wisdom” is that successful leaders apply to management the same intellectual rigor and data-driven approach used in academic endeavors. This can be accomplished by doing your homework and understanding the relevant metric to achieve leadership and institutional goals. As a future leader it is important to thoroughly know your organization, including the institutional values, mission, people, and finances, to be able to create, influence and manage the institutional culture. I also learned that career advancement and academic success for midcareer women in medicine depends not only on skills and achievements but also on sponsorship, visibility and graceful self-promotion. A woman in medicine may be an accomplished academic physician, but doing her job and waiting to be recognized does not lead to academic success and career advancement. Presenting accomplishments with self-confidence and integrity is a necessary leadership skill. In addition to the excellent speakers, team work skills development opportunities, and “idea factories”, the seminar was very inspirational to me because I had the opportunity to meet and work closely with a group of very talented women in academic medicine. All the participants share the same hectic lifestyle, commitment to something bigger than oneself, and constant pursuit of work-life balance. Everyone took time out of their busy schedules for four days to focus on their career development. These women are the proof that it can be done. Every woman I met during the seminar was multitasking; whether it was providing service to the department, school of medicine, and professional societies, building a busy clinical practice, running a successful research lab, being a mentor to junior faculty and trainees, they were able to balance these duties with the responsibilities of having a family and a busy life outside of the hospital. In summary, the seminar is a great opportunity to refine key leadership qualities and has helped me to understand the role of midcareer women in academic medicine. “Leading from the middle” is a great opportunity to function as a system catalyst, to create collaborations and integrated teams, to bring out the genius in others, to promote a conscientious use of resources in order to move the organization toward its goals. Last piece of advice gathered at the AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar: dress and view management issues two jobs ahead!


Women in Neuroradiology Award

ASNR 2021 Women in Neuroradiology Leadership Award

Lubdha Shah, MD, MS

Professor of Radiology

Director of Spine Imaging and Clinical Functional MRI 

The University of Utah



Dr. Shah is Professor of Radiology and the Director of Spine Imaging and Clinical Functional MRI at the University of Utah. Her research focus has been in advanced imaging techniques of the spine and spinal cord with various collaborations with the MR physicists and engineers at the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research as well as Neurosurgery and Neurology clinical colleagues.


Her current research efforts are in developing and evaluating non-invasive focused ultrasound modalities for the treatment of spine pain. Dr. Shah’s research interests also include functional MRI, and she has collaborated on fMRI publications and co-authored a book on clinical fMRI, Specialty Imaging: Functional MRI.



ASNR 2020 Women in Neuroradiology Leadership Award

Tabassum A. Kennedy, MD
Associate Professor of Radiology 

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tabby A. Kennedy, MD, is an Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is the Neuroradiology Section Chief. She earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She attended the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology for Residency and moved to the University of Wisconsin for a two-year Neuroradiology fellowship where she subspecialized in Head and Neck Imaging.  

Dr. Kennedy has a passion for medical education at all levels and has received numerous teaching awards recognizing her efforts.