Amy O’Brien-Ladner MD Innovation Award

Amy O'Brien-Ladner


2014 Honoree Announced

Jo Halverson
Jo Halverson, Director, Faculty Affairs and Development, KU School of Medicine

Among the criteria for the Ladner award are professional excellence, recognition as a KUMC and University leader, and influencing the KUMC culture to promote the careers of women faculty/and or staff. There is no one more deserving of this honor than Jo Halverson, Director of the Faculty Affairs and Development office in the School of Medicine for her support and unending assistance to the promotion and tenure of faculty in the School of Medicine since 1997. In her 30 years as a staff member in the School of Medicine Executive Dean's office, Jo has always been held in high esteem for her time and effort guiding faculty and staff along the way. She has been a trusted resource for deans, department chairs, and other faculty leaders in understanding the sometimes byzantine world of faculty appointment and promotion. She is a true professional who can always be counted on to handle difficult subjects with sensitivity and aplomb. Jo's careful stewardship of the appointments, promotion and tenure committee has provided a much needed source of continuity across changing faculty membership.  Jo was instrumental in upgrading the application process to its current on-line format.

On a personal level, Jo has been instrumental in shaping the careers of many female faculty members as she provided sage advice and help in crafting their CVs for presentation to the promotion and tenure committee. Jo's true passion lies in promoting the careers of our faculty, and it is for this reason especially that we will miss her as she enters her well-deserved retirement this fall.


The Amy O'Brien-Ladner Innovation Award was named to honor Amy's innovation in beginning and serving as the first KUMC Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) President in 2002, and securing the endowed Joy McCann Professorship during her tenure.  These two acts set in motion a structure which would impact a positive cultural change for years to come regarding career development for professional women on our campus. This distinguished award was initially sponsored by the Joy McCann Professorship for Women in Medicine & Science.

KU Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) was formally organized within the School of Medicine in 2002 to provide women physicians with the tools and the opportunity to succeed in academic medicine.  During the WIMS "founding years," 1999-2002, the founding president, Amy O'Brian-Ladner, MD put forth effort to create and establish the organization while she served as the American Medical Women's' Association (AMWA) faculty advisor. Dr. O'Brien-Ladner assumed the role of WIM president in 2002, ending her term in 2004.  Simultaneously, during her term as president, Dr. O'Brien-Ladner also served as a member of the AAMC Women's Leadership Organization (WLO). In 2002, Dr. O'Brien-Ladner entitled the organization Women in Medicine (WIM) which was aimed solely at supporting women physicians in the School of Medicine.  The name was later changed to WIMS, adding the "S" for science to include women faculty colleagues in the basic sciences.

In addition to founding what today is called WIMS, Dr. Ladner was instrumental in acquiring the endowed gift for the Joy McCann Professorship for Women in Medicine and Science, given December 12, 2002, from the Joy McCann Foundation. Today, there are only four professorships in the United States. Dr. O'Brien-Ladner gave two national presentations regarding the acquisition of the McCann endowment:

  1. Surviving and Thriving During Change Presented at the Women in Medicine Regional Leadership Conference: Successful Strategies for Women in Academic Medicine, Memphis, Tennessee, September 2003.
  2. Providing Faculty Development Programs on a Shoe String.  Presented at the Association of American Medical Colleges Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, November 2003.

Amy O'Brien-Ladner, MD, is a Professor and Acting Chair in the Department of Internal Medicine who also currently serves as their Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine Director. She is an active mentor and role model for men and women and was also instrumental in helping to create her department's faculty mentoring program. In addition to her many accomplishments, Dr. O'Brien-Ladner places a high value on family life and believes women can achieve great things without sacrificing their personal or family life.

More details of Dr. O'Brien-Ladner's career are available on her bio page.

At the WIMS Annual Dinner on August 16, 2012, Dr. O'Brien-Ladner was presented with a crystal bowl to commemorate the award in her honor. Dr. Susan Pingleton made the presentation. The inscription reads, "The Amy O'Brien-Ladner, MD Award for Innovation was established in 2012 by the Joy McCann Professorship to honor and recognize Dr. Lander's extraordinary innovation that has positively change our culture."


To acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of women faculty and staff members in the KU School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and the School of Health Professions have made which have influenced a positive cultural change regarding the careers of women faculty and/or staff members on the KUMC campus. The award honors Dr. Ladner each year at the annual WIMS Awards Dinner in August, by presenting this award to deserving women who demonstrate Dr. Ladner's initiative to influence change. The award was created August 16, 2012 by the Joy McCann Professorship.


Female faculty or staff members in the KU School of Medicine, School of Nursing, or School of Health Professions


The candidate must exhibit evidence of:
  • Professional excellence in the individuals career
  • Recognition as a KUMC leader at the KUMC campus, university and/or national level
  • Involvement in WIMS programs and initiatives
  • Effort to influence or institute a positive cultural change regarding the careers of women faculty and/or staff members on the KUMC campus.


  • One award presented per year
  • Amount: $1,500 (for personal use and/or professional development)
  • Award sponsor: Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS)

Nomination process

The WIMS Leadership Committee will select nominees based on the award criteria.

Evaluation process

  • The WIMS Recognition Committee will review the nomination materials and will rank candidates
  • The WIMS Recognition Committee will report rankings to the WIMS Executive Committee for final approval by vote.
  • All candidates will be notified of the decision by the committee prior to the annual WIMS fall dinner in August, where the award is presented.


  • August Annual WIMS Dinner - the honoree is formally recognized.

Award presentation

The award winner will be a guest at the annual WIMS Awards Dinner in August, to receive their award.

Award Recipients

Jo Halverson 2014 Jo Halverson, Director, Office of Faculty Affairs and Development
Barb Lukert 2013 Barbara Lukert, MD, Professor Emeritus
Amy O'Brien-Ladner 2012 Amy O'Brien-Ladner, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine

Last modified: Aug 29, 2014