Yale School of Medicine Associate Dean profiled in "How Jane Won," a new book on how successful women attain their goals

April 23, 2001

Merle Waxman, associate dean, ombudsperson and director of the Office for Women in Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, is among 55 women featured in "How Jane Won," a new book that examines how successful women like Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Jane Pauley realized their dreams.

"I am honored to be included in this book with so many truly extraordinary women," said Waxman, who has been at Yale for 15 years.

"How Jane Won," by Sylvia Rimm, is a follow-up to the best-selling "See Jane Win," which featured women in medicine, science, law, business, education, politics, the arts, education, homemaking and allied and mental health. In the book, these women speak about the turning points, crises, mentors, opportunities and failures they encountered on the road to success. <> In "How Jane Won," success is defined not only by high salaries and important titles, but also by a sense of happiness and satisfaction. In addition to O'Connor and Pauley, the book includes other distinguished women like space shuttle commander Eileen Collins and astronaut Cady Coleman. It also includes women who are not as well known, but who are just as successful.

Waxman is featured in chapter 3: "Shatterers of Glass Ceilings," where she discusses the path she took to achieving her current level of success. She credits her husband, Stephen Waxman, M.D., professor and chair of neurology at Yale, with supporting her throughout her career. Waxman also praises her mentor, Mary Rowe, professor of economics and ombudsperson at MIT, who helped inspire her to write some of her first papers on conflict resolution and propose her model on how an ombudsperson can contribute to the effectiveness of medical institutions.

After applying for, and obtaining the position of assistant ombudsperson at Stanford Medical School, Waxman writes, "My timing had been lucky; the field of 'ombudsing'-of resolving conflictual issues, such as complaints and grievances, in a nonlitigational way-was just beginning to emerge.... Despite my interest in conflict resolution, I was new to the field and few formal training programs were available at the time. I fell back on my much-used coping mechanism of associating with challenging people. In my case, Mary Rowe emerged as a very important mentor."

When Waxman's husband was recruited to Yale, she became director of the Office for Women in Medicine, a unique part of Yale School of Medicine that is devoted to helping women in medicine and the medical sciences pursue their professional career advancement and goals. A few years later, Waxman became Yale's first ombudsperson. She was subsequently also appointed associate dean at the Medical School.

"My jobs are challenging, and I enjoy challenges," Waxman writes. "I work 60 to 70 hours a week, and I love it. I feel I've been at the forefront of a field where I can use my natural talent for mediation to solve people's problems and expand a crucial career....Yale has been particularly exhilarating. There's an ongoing stream of provocative problems to solve. The people, from freshman undergraduate students to high-level administrators and distinguished scholars, have been interesting; and the problems have been challenging. I thrive on that."
"How Jane Won" is published by Crown Publishers, Inc.

Yale University

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