Two to Receive Chancellor's Award for Advancement of Women

A physician devoted to women's health and empowering women through teaching and research and a staff member dedicated to developing improved child care and lactation programs at UCSF, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for the Advancement of Women on Monday, March 28.

The UCSF community is invited to the ceremony when Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, will present awards to two members of the campus community from noon to 1 p.m. in Toland Hall. The awardees are:

  • Patricia Robertson, MD, professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences in the faculty category
  • Tracey Gearlds, director, Campus Life Services in the staff category

The award has been given since 1994 to recognize exceptional efforts toward the advancement of women at UCSF beyond the scope of an individual's job, area of research, or student training. Each year the honored individuals are selected and both women and men who excel in one or more of the following criteria are eligible to be nominated for this award: elevating the status of women on campus; improving campus policies affecting women; participating in career and academic mentoring for women; generating and disseminating knowledge on women's health through research, teaching, and Public presentations; and/or advancing the admission, recruitment, and upward mobility of women at UCSF.

Patricia Robertson

Patricia Robertson

Patricia Robertson

Throughout her 26-year career at UCSF, Robertson has generated and disseminated knowledge on women’s health through research, extensive teaching, and lectures which she delivers nationwide. She participates extensively in career and academic mentoring for women, and helps to advance the admission, recruitment, retention, and upward mobility of women at UCSF. 

As director of medical student education and volunteer clinical faculty members in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, she significantly improves women’s lives through her leadership and dedication to teaching women’s health to the next generation of physicians and inspiring them to advance women’s health in their own careers. 

Since 1994, Robertson has served on committees at all levels including the Chancellor’s Advisory Committees on the Status of Women and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues. She was chair of the “Take Our Daughters to Work” Committee and currently represents the Academic Senate on the system-wide Student Mental Health Oversight Committee, thus helping improve the lives of women at UCSF and throughout the UC system. 

As founding co-director of the Center for Lesbian Health Research at UCSF and co-editor of the first comprehensive lesbian health textbook, Lesbian Health 101: A Clinician’s Guide, and by organizing a symposium for researchers and clinicians on lesbian health, her non-compensated work to improve the lives and health of lesbians, an underserved women’s group, is impressive. 

Robertson goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide extensive mentoring for students interested in women’s health careers throughout their tenure at UCSF. She also formally and informally mentors women faculty through her course on “The Inside Scoop on Getting Promoted: Secrets from the Dean’s Office.” She gives presentations to UCSF faculty on “Faculty Well-Being” and participates in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute's Mentoring Workshop on diversity and how to mentor GLBT faculty effectively. Robertson also advises junior faculty in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences on work-life balance which is particularly important to those who are young mothers. 

In 2008, Robertson distributed 50 percent of her Endowed Chair funds to faculty, fellows, and residents to develop innovative medical education proposals and the other half to support the Women’s Health Undergraduate Research Internships Program to increase the diversity of pre-med students interested in women’s health, to keep them in the pipeline until medical school, and to provide undergraduate research experience in women’s health, which translates to stronger medical school applications. 

Robertson has dedicated her career and worked tirelessly to serving and improving women’s academic, research and training lives at UCSF and beyond.      

Tracey Gearlds

Tracey Gearlds

Tracey Gearlds

A 31-year UCSF employee, Gearlds is a model for how women can advance their careers steadily at UCSF and, as such, play multiple roles toward enriching the campus climate and culture for the overall UCSF community and especially for women. She directs much of her creativity, dedication, optimism and boundless energy towards developing and advocating for improved child care and lactation programs at UCSF. These programs have directly enhanced the quality of campus life for and productivity of women faculty, staff, and students, alike.  

Gearlds believes that worthy proposals must rapidly move forward to improve campus climate for UCSF women and their children and her ability to continue to improve these programs and to initiate new family-centric, quality of life programs in the current economic climate is extraordinary. 

Gearlds revised and improved the campus lactation program by personally reviewing all of the existing UCSF lactation rooms, brokering no-cost collaboration between Campus Life Service, Facilities Management, and The Women’s Health Resource Center and leading and providing the effort to refurbish them. 

She has overseen the expansion of UCSF child care centers from 90 licensed slots to almost 300 by growing the program at Laurel Heights, creating the new Kirkham facility and transforming the existing Lucia Center from child care to highly coveted infant care.

Gearlds continues to reshape the services by consolidating them into one unit with child and youth programs to meet the broader needs of the campus through a new, family-focused website, a parent education program, expanded summer and holiday camps, and a new Family Services department. 

Currently, Gearlds is developing a plan for an emergency backup child- and elder-care program by working with UCSF committees to prepare a revenue-neutral proposal that is expected to foster decreased absenteeism for parents and care-givers. 

Gearlds is known for investing in development and training in staff. Her direct reports are all women and she has steadfastly promoted and mentored growth opportunities for them by bringing them together as a collaborative team and empowering them gain experience in overseeing strategic direction, management, and communication for the department, as well as collaborating on behalf of the department directly with the campus and the Medical Center. 

She has also been instrumental in supporting career advancement of women throughout Campus Life Services through formal and informal mentoring, support of and counsel to the Campus Life Services Leadership Development Program and Practicum Group, and sharing the political acumen and cultural knowledge she has accumulated during her long career at UCSF.     

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