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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC: Sarah Birken selected for University Award for the Advancement of Women

Dr. Sarah Birken,  assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, has won University Award for the Advancement of Women.

The annual award recognizes faculty and staff members and graduate and undergraduate students on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus who have elevated the status of women, helped improve campus policies, promoted recruitment, retention and upward mobility of women, and participated in professional development or mentorship for women.

Dr. Birken, a 2011 alumna of the Gillings School, joined the School’s faculty in 2014. An avid runner and a mentor, wife and mother of two, she became active in UNC’s Committee on the Status of Women and began to explore how other women in academia were juggling their many obligations while balancing their work and home lives.

As co-host of a podcast called AcaDames, Dr. Birken meets with other women to discuss issues such as salaries, tenure, job security and being a mother in academia. The immediately popular podcast was downloaded more than 1,500 times after only three episodes.

Dr. Birken’s AcaDames co-host is Dr. Whitney Robinson, associate professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School.

Fixed-term faculty such as herself are predominantly women, Dr.Birken said, often because “the most intense period of an academic’s career coincides with the most intense period of a woman’s life.”