Women’s Initiatives Task Force

Mission Statement

The mission of the Women’s Initiatives Task Force at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is to support and foster the recruitment, retention, and promotion of female faculty at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and to raise constant awareness of issues for women in science.

Letter from the Co-Directors

Welcome to UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Women’s Initiatives Task Force! Our Task Force was assembled in 2018 under the direction of Dr. Robert Ferris as the director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center to address issues for female faculty. We were initially chaired by Dr. Lisa Butterfield and included a select number of female faculty with the mission to support and foster the recruitment, retention, and promotion of female faculty at UPMC Hillman and to address issues and concerns from female faculty members. In 2019, the leadership of the Task Force was passed to Dr. Kara Bernstein to continue its mission.

Early work of the Task Force was determined by choosing key initiatives identified by a climate survey of women at UPMC Hillman to address specific concerns surrounding gender equity, combined with areas of importance identified by the original task force members and seminal peer-reviewed articles related to issues for women in academia. Initiatives included tracking gender equity, networking and career development, and tracking resources available on UPMC Hillman’s campus and beyond.

During Dr. Bernstein’s tenure as chair, we created guidelines for UPMC Hillman’s seminar series to make male and female faculty speakers equivalent and generated transparency on leadership positions, pilot funding, lab space, and hiring of female investigators. We continue to report out the statistics for UPMC Hillman annually to ensure that gender equity is present.

One of our most successful education initiatives has been our faculty/trainee educational monthly luncheons, which utilize the expertise of internal and external speakers for education on important issues including, but not limited to, negotiation, mentoring, implicit bias, diversity, and faculty promotion.

We also led a survey of individuals across UPMC Hillman who were parents in 2020, and the results were presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting in 2021. New initiatives have stemmed from the results of this survey, including the development of resources for UPMC Hillman parents, improved lactation rooms, and onsite childcare for in-person events for the post-COVID era.

In recent years, the Task Force has expanded significantly with subcommittees on resource development, diversity and inclusion, trainee outreach and resources, data management, parent resources, communication, and educational luncheons.

In 2021, we were appointed co-chairs to inclusively represent the research and clinical aspects of UPMC Hillman. The Task Force was also expanded to include more female and male faculty, as well as trainees to represent the perspectives of clinical fellows, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students.

This year, we are happy to announce a new name for our committee: UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Women’s Initiatives Task Force. Today, new initiatives are being set forth to address emotional wellness and faculty training for the promotion process. We have also started to talk with other groups that are passionate about issues for women, including those from UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Department of Immunology in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

We are infinitely proud of all that this exceptional group has achieved.

Tullia Bruno, PhD, and Annie Im, MD

Impact Statement

This task force consists of rotating faculty members from UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and is currently chaired by Dr. Tullia C. Bruno, assistant professor in the Department of Immunology. Since its inception in 2018, the task force has: conducted an anonymous survey to identify key concerns amongst female faculty, started monthly female faculty/trainee luncheons, collected data concerning equity for speaker invitations, internal funding, and salary support, and identified key personnel on campus to assist with Title IX issues and support for encouraging diversity.

Read our latest publication.


The Women’s Initiatives Task Force is currently co-chaired by Tullia C. Bruno, PhD, and Annie Im, MD. 

Find out more about our members here.

Contact Us

Questions about the task force can be addressed to the Women’s Initiatives Task Force (womenstaskforce@upmc.edu).