Random Sample

• Member since: 1980

• Current home: Winston Salem, N.C.

• Occupation: Senior associate dean for research, Wake Forest University School of Medicine

• Cross-disciplinary outreach: Researching how aging affects women's cognitive abilities, Shumaker often finds herself in mixed company. "There's not a study I work on that doesn't have people representing four or five, sometimes six different disciplines," she says.

That interdisciplinary experience serves her well in her administrative role overseeing the School of Medicine's research programs.

• A founding mother: Over the course of her career, she founded the Women's Health Center of Excellence at Wake Forest, served as founding chair of the university's department of social science and health policy, and was the associate dean of faculty services.

• Fighting for women: The National Institutes of Health recruited Shumaker in the late 1980s to work within the behavioral medicine branch of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to infuse more psychology into biomedical research. While there, she noticed that most of the research was done on men. "At that time, many drugs were being approved without women being involved in the clinical studies," she says. So in 1992, after she'd moved to Wake Forest, Shumaker jumped at the chance to work with the Women's Health Initiative, a study that follows postmenopausal women. Her finding that estrogen therapy can increase the chance of dementia in postmenopausal women led to the FDA's relabeling post-menopausal hormone therapy medicines.

Shumaker later received a grant to create a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-funded Women's Health Center of Excellence at Wake Forest. While conducting women's health research, the center promotes women in medical leadership positions. Given how long women have been in the pipeline, "we're still not seeing many women in the more senior positions," Shumaker says.

• Grape minds: When not spearheading research programs, Shumaker, along with her husband Philip Hammond, likes to tend her garden—a 30-acre vineyard in Pinnacle, N.C. Together they grow myriad grape varieties, including cabernet franc, merlot, viognier, chardonnay, riesling and pinot grigio, which they sell to local wineries. "North Carolina has one of the fastest-growing wine industries in the country," Shumaker says.

—M. Price


Each month, "Random Sample" profiles a randomly selected APA member. You might be next.