By Harriet Hopf, professor of anesthesiology, senior special assistant in the Office of Faculty and Edie Kochenour Lecture planning committee member

The Edie Kochenour Memorial Lecture and Symposium, an annual professional development event at the University of Utah, will be held on Friday, March 2, at noon at the David Eccles School of Business. This year’s theme is “Expanding Leadership Horizons,” and the event will feature a panel of perioperative medicine physicians and nurses.

Panelists are women leaders from a historically hierarchical and male-dominated discipline, perioperative medicine, which is defined as the care of patients before, during and after surgery. The panelists will reflect on their paths to leadership and how they expanded their own leadership horizons, obstacles they faced and overcame on their paths to leadership and pearls of wisdom for aspiring leaders. There will be time for the audience to ask questions and engage in dialogue with these accomplished and inspirational leaders.

On the panel are Leigh Neumayer, MD, MS, a long-time professor of Surgery and Trauma and burn surgeon at the University of Utah, and now chair of surgery and interim senior vice president at the University of Arizona; Kathy Adamson, MBA, RN, administrative director of Perioperative and Trauma Service at the University of Utah; Renee Navarro, PharmD, MD, professor of anesthesia and perioperative care and vice chancellor of diversity and outreach at the University of California, San Francisco; and Keneeshia Williams, MD, assistant professor of surgery at Emory University, who recently completed her surgical critical care/acute care surgery fellowship at the University of Arizona.

Lunch will be available starting at 11 a.m. and  the panel is from 12-1:30 pm. The panel will be followed by a symposium from 1:45-3 p.m. that includes break-out sessions led by panelists and members of the university community designed to put lessons from the panel into action. Topics include dealing with disruptive behavior, influence without authority, negotiation and career advancement.

Edie Kochenour was well known on campus and nationally for her wide-ranging passions, energy and enthusiasm. She served the university for over 25 years, including as the director of Learning Enhancement Programs at the Counseling Center and also the coordinator of Consultation and Outreach Services and on the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. Edie passed away suddenly in 2007. The Edie Kochenour Memorial Lecture and Symposium is funded through an endowment established in her memory by her husband, Dr. Neil Kochenour, a long-time faculty member in maternal-fetal medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah. The annual networking event commemorates the achievements of Edie Kochenour and highlights topics of interest related to professional development for women. Previous themes have included “Bringing Out Each Other’s Greatness,” “Girls are Bad at Math and Science… or Are They?” and “Crossing the Half-Court: Women Breaking Boundaries.”

More about the panelists:

Dr. Navarro has spent her entire career at UCSF, where she has been a tireless advocate for patients, students, faculty and staff. As vice chancellor of Diversity and Outreach, she collaborates with faculty, staff and students to develop and carry out a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion at the campus, and to create an environment that facilitates recruitment and retention of faculty, students, trainees and staff. In her role as professor of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, she continues to provide anesthesia to patients at San Francisco General Hospital, the city’s only Level 1 Trauma Center.
Dr. Neumayer is internationally known for her expertise in breast cancer surgery and research, advocacy for women’s health issues and leadership in surgical education. The University of Arizona’s first woman head of surgery, Neumayer came to the University of Arizona from the University of Utah School of Medicine Department of Surgery, where she served as professor of surgery and vice chair for Academic Affairs and co-director of the multidisciplinary team treating breast cancer at Huntsman Cancer Institute. At the University of Utah, Neumayer directed the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health, funded by the National Institutes of Health, to assist junior faculty members to develop research initiatives in women’s health. She was the first woman president of the Society for Clinical Surgery. Neumayer was recently named interim senior vice president at the University of Arizona.
Ms. Adamson came to the University of Utah from Intermountain Healthcare to be the Operating Room Manager and quickly moved up to the role of administrative director of Perioperative and Trauma Service. In that role, Kathy has overseen enormous growth, from 12 ORs at University Hospital when she started, to many times that number, both at University Hospital and at a number of newer University of Utah facilities, including Huntsman Cancer Hospital, John A. Moran Eye Center, Clinical Neurosciences Center and University Orthopaedic Center. Adamson has won awards for her work to streamline perioperative care while improving patient care. She plays a key role in the development and construction of the new ambulatory care hospital at the University of Utah.
Dr. Williams received her MD degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and completed her general surgery residency at University of Illinois at Mount Sinai Hospital. She then completed a year-long research residency in the NIH-funded training program in trauma and burn research at the Burn and Shock Trauma Research Institute of Loyola University Medical Center and completed a surgical critical care/acute care surgery fellowship at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. In September, she accepted her first faculty position as assistant professor of Surgery at Emory University, where she is a developing leader.