Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was among 12 inspiring leaders honored at the 33rd annual In the Company of Women awards dinner.
Presented by the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, in partnership with the Miami-Dade Commission for Women and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, the awards honor women who have excelled professionally and contributed to the community and to women’s progress through their leadership and vision. Notable alumnae include U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Frederica Wilson and Debbie Wasserman Schultz; philanthropists Adrienne Arsht and Darlene Boytell-Perez; salsa legend Celia Cruz; and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Gloria Estefan, among others.
The March awards ceremony dinner commemorates both Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. The award was created in 1989 to help bring the community together during such high tensions of racial and ethnic divide. The award also highlights the work of The Women’s Park in Miami Dade. The park was opened as a way to recognize the impact women had and continue to have in society, and was the first park in the nation to highlight the influence of women as well as standing as symbol for the triumphs women have faced throughout the years.
In addition to heading the Hussman Institute, Dr. Pericak-Vance serves as executive vice chair of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics and is the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Professor of Human Genetics. A global leader in the genetics of common diseases, she is a founding fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and a board-certified Ph.D. medical geneticist.
She pioneered the use of novel disease gene mapping, which led to her seminal discovery that the APOE-4 variant increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. She is a leading advocate for diversity in research ensuring that new therapies benefit all.
Dr. Pericak-Vance works tirelessly with South Florida communities to emphasize the importance of participation and the impact of genomics on the future of health care.
“The Commission for Women is proud to be involved with the In the Company of Women Awards by honoring the legacies and labor of the women who shape Miami-Dade County,” said Monica Interian, chair of the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women. “The awards not only honor women making history, but help support the girls who will be the future of our county.”
“When I look at the wonderful work of past and current recipients, it is a great honor to receive this award,” said Dr. Pericak-Vance. “We are all a part of Miami’s collective history and culture, so to be awarded for my life’s passion and something I love to do every day — how does it get any better than that?”