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Professor Vanessa Steenkamp – Deputy Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, in our series on women in medicine, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Prof Vanessa Steenkamp, the Deputy Dean of Teaching & Learning in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria. As an active member of scientific organizations she holds among other an executive role as President of the South African Association of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, President of the Federation of South African Society of Pathology and Vice-President of the Toxicology Society of South Africa. Her remit at the University of Pretoria encompasses 43 departments within Dentistry, Health Care Sciences, Health Systems and Public Health, and the School of Medicine.

She emphasises that teaching and learning is an evolving process and institutions aim to equip students with skill sets to help future proof them for jobs which don’t yet exist; instilling lifelong learning and embracing technology.

We discuss a couple of recent initiatives geared towards the well-being of students. Namely a food parcel project, noting that at least 30% of students are food insecure and the other the UP Sight project which addressed students’ vision.

We highlight the fact that there are still low levels of women entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and remark on interventions to build a pipeline from school to university to the workplace.

We also remark on the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles. Prof. Steenkamp encourages more women to embrace opportunities to rise to the top, urging women to stand together, support each other, join industry networks and participate in mentoring initiatives. Prof. Steenkamp shares her formulas for living life to the full, making space for family and a professional career. Tune in for more…

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