The Inimitable Women of Pediatrics: Rachel Katzenellenbogen, MD
Reilly Wilson Mar 30, 2021
Indiana School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics is no stranger to employing successful women. The department’s faculty is currently 51% women and, of those women, they make up 54% of clinical track faculty. With this week marking the final week of Women’s History Month, this is a great opportunity to highlight some of these women and the incredible work they do for our organization, community, and for the field of medicine with their innovative research.
Rachel Katzenellenbogen, MD, was introduced to science at an early age growing up with parents that taught at the University of Illinois. Her father and mother were professors in chemistry and biophysics and physiology respectively. Katzenellenbogen shared that she grew up with a successful mother, which helped to shape her empowered upbringing and success in medicine. Having considerable exposure to the science field, Katzenellenbogen thought she wanted to major in chemistry, but wanted to attend a university where she would still be happy if she decided to stray away from chemistry.
After completing her degree at Harvard College and her medical degree at John Hopkins University, Katzenellenbogen completed her residency and two fellowships at the University of Washington. Through her fellowships in adolescent medicine and STD research, she learned that she loved working with adolescent teens, but wanted to stay in academics to teach and do research.
During her time in Seattle, Washington, she founded and led the Office for Teaching, Education and Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute that supports postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduate students, and high school students in advancing their careers in science fields. This came from Katzenellenbogen seeing a gap in infrastructure for mentors and their trainees who were newly learning how to conduct research. She has always had a deep interest in mentoring and has really enjoyed helping others to grow their own careers through the OTER program and from being an Associate Professor of Pediatrics.
In 2018, Katzenellenbogen joined IU School of Medicine’s faculty after having worked several years for the University of Washington. She has served as the Chief of Adolescent Medicine since July of 2020 and is the co-director of the Center for HPV Research. Her membership in the Morris Green Physician Scientist Development Program has also provided her with the opportunity to continue mentoring trainees with their research projects.
Katzenellenbogen was also recently published after she wrote a book with Dr. Megan Moreno, from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, titled “Women Rock Science: A Pocket Guide for Success in Clinical Academic Research Careers”, which focuses on how women can grow and think in today’s clinical research environment. The book was written so women could better understand how to grow their careers, and it is filled with additional resources at the end of each chapter to lead the reader through self-reflection and the development of other means of support. Drs. Katzenellenbogen and Moreno are also hosting a workshop for the Pediatric Academic Societies Conference to help women grow their academic research careers. This workshop features several women from diverse backgrounds who are well known in the field of research, such as Drs. Terri Laguna (Northwestern University), Beth Tarini (George Washington University), and Mia Heard-Garris (Northwestern University).
The Richard E. and Pauline P. Klingler Scholar award was presented to Katzenellenbogen soon after she joined IU School of Medicine faculty. She was also given the Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Scholar award in 2019. She has been a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society since 1999.
Katzenellenbogen has two children that are twins and met her husband when they both attended Harvard College. She enjoys traveling and has been able to see many new places by traveling to medical conferences. Her favorite place thus far has been Cape Town, South Africa.
Reilly Wilson is an administrative assistant for the Department of Pediatrics. He primarily works with Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine, but his role allows him to help with special projects throughout the department.