Newswise — Two of Rush University Medical Center’s top leaders have been selected to the inaugural class of the Carol Emmott Fellowship (CEF), which aims to bridge the disparities in leadership by women throughout the health care field.

Rush’s 2016-2017 CEF fellows are Cynthia Boyd, MD, MBA; and Richa Gupta, MBBS, MHSA. They are among 15 fellows who were announced in December and nominated by 12 prestigious founding sponsor organizations, including Rush, that are committed to working with the fellowship to shape a growing network of remarkable women in the top ranks of leadership.

“Rush strongly believes in the value of diversity to help achieve our goals, and this includes gender diversity in leadership roles in health care, and that is why Rush chose to be a founding sponsor of the Carol Emmott Fellowship,” said Michael J. Dandorph, president of Rush University Medical Center.

“Rush’s goal is to build a diverse workforce that reflects the people we serve,” says Larry Goodman, MD, Rush’s CEO. “We know that to truly provide the highest quality care, we have to have a leadership team that is representative of our communities. Our commitment begins at the top, and runs through the entire organization.” Shaping Women LeadersBoyd is an associate professor of medicine, vice president, chief compliance officer at Rush University Medical Center; and assistant dean, admissions and recruitment, Rush Medical College. Read Boyd’s bio here.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to participate in a program with such outstanding women leaders who are dedicated to and have the potential to transform health for all, while also building a lifelong network of extraordinary health peer leaders,” Boyd says.

Gupta is Rush’s vice president, performance improvement and operational effectiveness. Read Richa’s bio here.

“I am thrilled to part of this inaugural class of the Carol Emmet Fellowship. The experience has helped me to push my thinking about how to advance myself as a leader in health care,” Gupta says. “This is a unique opportunity to network with 14 other similarly minded women with tremendously diverse backgrounds, and make lifelong friendships.”

“I’m so pleased that Cynthia Boyd and Richa Gupta were selected to participate in this program in its first year. The fellowship will allow them to learn and grow in a way that has a positive impact on Rush,” Goodman says. “Equally important, they’ll be able to impart their knowledge to the next group of fellows, providing a solid foundation for the development of future health care leaders.”

The fellows are “accomplished professionals already demonstrating outstanding leadership abilities and results,” said Christine Malcolm, director of the fellowship program and a former Rush vice president. “They are of diverse backgrounds and health disciplines, and are well positioned to have significant impact across the spectrum of health services.”

Though women dominate the lower and mid-level health care workforce and comprise half the enrollment in U.S. medical schools, only about 18 percent of hospital CEOs are women, according to a 2015 study. Research has shown that leadership and mentoring help women reach more senior positions and can close gaps in pay as well

Making an ImpactThe 14-month intensive program pairs fellows with hand-selected mentors who are nationally recognized senior health leaders. Each fellow will plan and direct an impact project in her health community and “pay it forward” with the subsequent class of fellows, thus developing a pipeline and rich, lifelong network of collaborators and influencers.

Boyd’s impact project aims to improve the medical school admissions process to provide greater opportunities for applicants who are underrepresented in medicine. These changes will include an upgrade to our current holistic admissions review practices of screening, interviewing and selection of applicants. Success will be measured by an increased cohort from underrepresented groups enrolled at Rush Medical College.

“A more diverse physician workforce is critical in health care and medical education in order to further promote excellence in medical education and accessible, quality health care, particularly to those populations that are underserved and bear the burden of health disparities,” Boyd says.

Gupta’s impact project focuses on continuous improvement across Rush by creating a framework to ultimately empower all Rush physicians, employees, faculty and students to find ways to more efficiently deliver patient care. Gupta will work with Rush leaders to build upon the culture of trust and respect, effectively creating 10,000 problem-solvers working toward a common goal of integrating patient care, education, research and community partnerships.

The fellowship reflects the life work of Carol B. Emmott (1946-2015), who throughout her 40-year career in health policy and executive search was instrumental in and dedicated to the rise of women to the upper echelons of the health sector.

“The Carol Emmott Fellowship creates a strong network of colleagues and mentors so women can further hone leadership skills and capabilities—and then these women can mentor the next generation,” stressed Mary Pittman, DrPh, chief executive officer and president of the Public Health Institute and member of the CEF governing board. “This represents a huge shift in how we build opportunity, and ultimately see more women’s voices reflected in healthcare decisions and policies.” Short biographies for each fellow are available at