Drs. Kristine Calhoun and Judith Pauwels

Many people don’t fully know the impact they have on others until their work is formally recognized. So it was for Kristine Calhoun, MD, and Judith Pauwels, MD — until they each received a 2020 UW Medicine Award for Excellence in Mentoring Women Faculty.  

Peers and current and former mentees nominate people for the award, then recipients are chosen annually by the Dean’s Standing Committee for Women in Medicine and Science. 

Both Calhoun and Pauwels have spent years with their heads down, doing the work and making a difference. Calhoun, a surgeon and director of Medical Student Surgical Education for the Department of Surgery, grew up in the Tacoma area and attended UW as an undergraduate and medical student. After a fellowship in Los Angeles, she had an opportunity to return to UW Medicine as a faculty member. She jumped at the chance. 

“My mentor in LA wanted me to stay there, but then he realized my heart was back here at UW. I’d received so much from UW and wanted to give back,” she says. 

Pauwels, associate director of Program Development for WWAMI Region Family Medicine Residency Network, had a different journey: Originally from Indiana, she came to UW midcareer after spending 20 years in Wisconsin, including time in full-spectrum rural family medicine. 

“It was definitely a change for me to think about coming to Seattle and a university environment; it was not one I initially thought I would do. But I was attracted by the mission here, the people and the long history of commitment to the WWAMI region and rural medicine. It was a win-win for my being able to use my skills and interests,” she says. 

Read the whole interview with Calhoun and Pauwels to learn about what mentoring and this recognition mean to them.