By Sarah Garcia - March 30, 2021
The United States Congress designated the month of March “Women’s History Month” in 1987. Annual proclamations have continued the designation and aim to celebrate the many contributions women have made, as well as recognize their achievements throughout American history and in a variety of fields.
Rosie the Riveter was the face of an advertising campaign aimed to recruit female workers during World War II. Rosie has since become an iconic image, representative of the working women of America. During Women’s History Month, we wanted to share a few of Moffitt Cancer Center’s very own “Rosies.” From working in environmental services to reconstructive surgery and research, each of these women contribute to Moffitt’s mission in a unique and important way.
Dr. Caitlin McMullen
Role: Assistant member, head and neck surgical oncologist and reconstructive surgeon in the Department of Head & Neck – Endocrine Oncology
Years at Moffitt: 3.5
How she’s making history: My specialty, ear nose, and throat, and especially my subspecialty, head and neck microvascular surgery, have historically been entirely composed of men. Over the past few years, this has been changing dramatically and there is a greater proportion of women within the field. I am proud to be a part of a department with three microvascular-trained head and neck women surgeons, which is incredibly unique. To encourage the retention of women within my field, I helped to create support and mentorship groups for this small cohort of specialized surgeons.
What’s your greatest achievement as a woman? I am proud to have achieved my long-term goal of helping patients with head and neck cancer in the caring, innovative and multidisciplinary setting at Moffitt. Of course, I am also most proud of my daughter who made it through many grueling surgeries with me before making her debut!
Role: Environmental services tech
Years at Moffitt: 10
How she’s making history: Often the unsung heroes, but especially during a pandemic, Environmental Services team members are critical to patient safety, quickly cleaning, sanitizing and preparing exam and hospital rooms so patients have a safe, clean place to receive care. Daniels says it’s important to her to be friendly and make sure patients feel safe and comfortable with her as their Environmental Services tech.
What’s your greatest achievement as a woman? Definitely my kids! I have three sons named Xavier, Fredrick and Kentwonn.
Role: Registered Nurse, Malignant Hematology Clinic
Years at Moffitt: 13. I started as a medical interpreter, then became a nurse.
How she’s making history: I am making history because my team leads the way in CAR T treatment for mantle cell lymphoma patients with relapsed disease, having enrolled the first patient in the country for Tekartus. I am also making history with my lectures. As an interpreter and as a nurse, I give educational talks to audiences about different diseases and treatments, as well as nursing topics. I have spoken at Harvard, the National Institutes of Health, Miami, Houston, Moffitt, etc.
What’s your greatest achievement as a woman? My biggest achievement as a woman was taking a risk by quitting my job as an interpreter to go to nursing school after a tough divorce, so that I could raise my four children with a decent standard of living. I achieved my goal of becoming a nurse, working in the Malignant Hematology clinic (something I had always wanted to do), and was able to send the girls to university on my own. Independence is a great feeling! I love working with my lymphoma team so much, that coming to work is a joy. I wake up excited and ready to save lives every day!
Dr. Marilyn Bui
Role: Senior member and professor of pathology
Years at Moffitt: 16
How she’s making history: I served as the president of Medical Staff (2018-2020). Being a woman and a pathologist elected by the medical staff in a premier cancer center in the U.S. showcases the inclusive culture at Moffitt. I also received the Moffitt Cancer Center Educator of the Year award in 2013.
What’s your greatest achievement as a woman? Being able to show my daughter, who is a medical student, the peace, grace, joy and gratification I feel because I am able to positively contribute to society and the people around me. I am excited with the boundless opportunities and the bright future of her generation.
Role: Registered Nurse, clinic operations manager of the Genitourinary Clinic
Years at Moffitt: 24 this July!
How she’s making history: I came to Moffitt right after emigrating from Jamaica. Moffitt was my very first American employer. I have been a direct care nurse on the floors, a clinic nurse and now am a clinic operations manager. I consistently strive to make a difference in the lives of our patients and staff. Sometimes in my current role, I listen to the patient’s concerns to really hear what matters most to them in that moment or visit and do my best to meet those needs. For the staff, it is my goal to be their biggest support, cheerleader and help them to get to that next level in their career path and life.
What’s your greatest achievement as a woman? I would say becoming a mother. That in itself is a very long story but the short of it is the joy of motherhood outweighs everything else that happens throughout the day when I get that huge hug and smile from my little guy!
Dr. Ana P. Gomes
Role: Assistant member in the department of Molecular Oncology, where I run a lab aimed at understanding the effects of aging in tumorigenesis
Years at Moffitt: 9 months
How she’s making history: Aging, despite it being the main risk factor for cancer, has not really been taken into account in both basic cancer research, as well as in most clinical research and clinical trials. My research has started changing the paradigm of cancer research by demonstrating that aging affects the tumorigenic process far beyond what the scientific community considered and has put the aging process on the map of cancer research.
What’s your greatest achievement as a woman? I think starting my own lab was my biggest achievement as a woman in science and on a personal level. Coming from a small country where science is not at the center stage of progress, and where women scientists are often not in leadership positions, to heading my own laboratory was a long journey of struggle and sacrifice. So, starting my lab here at Moffitt is definitely an achievement that I look upon with great pride.