Women's History Month 2022
Every woman has a story and a gift worth sharing with the world
Every March, Women's History Month presents an opportunity to honor and reflect upon the achievements and accomplishments of generations of trailblazing women who have played an instrumental role in building our nation, shaping our progress and strengthening our character.
The NIH Clinical Center celebrates Women's History Month and acknowledges the contributions women have made towards advancements in science, medicine and research. This year's Women's History Month campaign focuses on representation and highlights the power of identity, inclusion and belonging.
Every woman has a story and a gift worth sharing with the world. Four women at the NIH Clinical Center share their thoughts on the importance of career, positive examples and finding their voice.
Marilyn Farinre, PharmD, Chief, Pharmacy Operations
Pharmacy Department, Clinical Center
Dr. Marilyn Farinre serves as the Chief of Pharmacy Operations and is responsible for leadership, management and supervision of the inpatient and outpatient pharmacies that support clinical research and provide pharmaceutical care services. Farinre joined the NIH in 2018 and assumed leadership of Clinical Center Pharmacy Operations in 2019. She has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Florida and an MBA from Temple University. Before joining the NIH, Dr. Farinre practiced in various clinical settings including five years as a transplant pharmacist.
Farinre had some key advice she would have shared with her herself when she was younger - "Embrace failure as it brings new opportunities and do not let the fear of failure stand in your way." She knows the importance of planning, but encourages people to be open to changing course as circumstances evolve. She also emphasized self-advocacy, speaking up and asking for what you deserve.
When thinking of the next generation of female leaders Farinre had some thoughts on how they could make an impact on NIH and their careers. Knowing they are here on their own merits, she encouraged young leaders to find their voice and use it, to know their worth and to resist settling for less than they deserve. She also hopes women will recognize the importance of expanding their professional networks to exchange information, support one another and develop professional and social contacts.
When Farinre thinks of the women who joined the workforce before her, she's thankful. "They broke the status quo and made it possible for women to choose independence."
Manjula Patel, IT Specialist
Department of Clinical Research Informatics, Clinical Center
Manjula Patel starting work at NIH in 1992 and is currently an IT specialist with the Department of Clinical Research Informatics. As an IT Specialist she works with providing expert technical support on an extensive range of information system topics and supports the various administrative, clinical and research activities of the NIH, CC and the Clinical Research Center (CRC) through the development, implementation, operation and management of software applications used by over 4,500 individuals.
Patel was lucky; she received inspiration from and connection with her very first supervisor she worked for at NIH. "My professional inspiration is drawn from Dr. Carol Romano, ever since I was hired at NIH in the year 1992," said Patel. "She was my first supervisor at NIH and was very supportive when I became a mother."
Patel considers what advice she would provide to her younger self and decided on two key aspects: "Never stop learning whether it is job related or for personal growth and don't be afraid to ask for help and speak up."
Charlotte Pak, Chief
Office of Workforce Management and Development, Clinical Center
Charlotte Pak is the Chief of the Office of Workforce Management and Development (OWMD). She has been at the Clinical Center and in OWMD since 2010, when she came over from NIAID as part of a 2-year administrative fellowship program.
Pak considered the advice she would give to the next generation of female leaders and encourages them to be confident and seize the opportunity to speak up or sit at the table. Reflecting on her past, she remembers many meetings where she sat in the back and didn't say a word when she had valuable contributions to offer. She believes this is much more common for women and hopes future generations continue to be more confident and not be afraid to step up to the plate.
She also encourages women build a network and support each other. Pak had the opportunity to be in a fellowship where she met other ambitious young women who went on to become some of her best friends, and those relationships helped her get through the tough moments.
"Whether it's becoming a mom and juggling work and small children, or navigating a growing career and challenging demands, having someone to talk to, who can relate to your struggles and help support you is invaluable," said Pak.
"My advice to others, and what I continue to strive for myself, is to just not be so hard on yourself and be okay with doing your best," added Pak.
Rebeca Rodriguez, Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Clinical Center
Rebeca Rodriguez was born in El Salvador, migrated to the United States when she was two years old and has lived in Maryland since. She graduated with a degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2021. Currently, she is a postbaccalaureate IRTA at NHLBI and conducting research on cardiovascular biology.
Rodriguez encourages women to avoid unrealistic expectations and disappointment by not feeding into the lie that as a working woman you can have it all. She feels that people have to pick and prioritize and that is completely okay. We're only human and only have 24 hours in the day.
She had a few pieces of advice to pass along to the female leaders who will follow in her footsteps. She encourages them to take full advantage of the era we are living in. While she feels there is still a long way to go it's important to recognize that we have come so far and to seize the opportunities granted to us.
"I have drawn major professional inspiration from all the female scientist here at the NIH but especially from my mentors, Dr. Leslie Kennedy and Dr. Elizabeth Murphy," said Rodriguez.
"As a young woman, it has been an extremely valuable experience for me to be a part of a team led by strong women. Being able to witness firsthand their confidence and creativity has greatly inspired my future professional endeavors."
"Remember, you don't have anything to prove to anyone and no one to be but yourself," said Rodriguez.
- Janice Duran