- First woman Dean at the University of Minnesota
- Former Executive Dean and Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs at the KU Medical Center, one of only seven women in the U.S.
- International expert on ovarian pathology
- President of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology
- Member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Deans at the Association of American Medical Colleges
- Second woman in the State of Kansas ever elected to the Institute of Medicine, one of the highest national honors for any physician
Dr. Deborah Powell, is described by her colleague Dr. Roberta Sonnino, Chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery, KU Medical Center, as follows, “She is a leader in academic health centers and accomplishes her goals with drive and passion as well as sensitivity and wisdom. The effects of her leadership go well beyond medicine, and are clearly of example to all in academia. KU is fortunate to have such an individual in our midst.” Deborah’s skill as a professor, administrator, researcher, and mentor cannot be overstated and is a source of inspiration to all with whom she comes in contact. As Executive Dean and Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs at the KU Medical Center, she is one of only seven women in the U.S. to hold this prestigious honor. In this role, she has made strides to improve the status of women and minorities in academic medicine by serving as a mentor, advocate and proponent for the advancement of qualified underrepresented individuals in medical fields. Her role of “pioneer” is not a new one: women entering medical fields when she attended medical school in the 1960’s were uncommon and often not well received.
Her focus, determination and perseverance, qualities mentioned frequently by her colleagues, have been instrumental in her efforts to strengthen and improve KU Medical Center education and services, including the creation of a “white coat” ceremony for first year students to welcome them into the program; the establishment of the “KU Med” Magazine and a series of lectures for the community entitled, “Mini Medical School.” Deborah is also known as a top-rate researcher on issues related to women’s health. She has published over 130 articles, abstracts and book chapters, and is considered an “international expert” on ovarian pathology. Deborah is actively involved in numerous organizations, including: past President, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology; President, Arthur Purdy Stout Society of Surgical Pathologists; Trustee, American Board of Pathology; Chair, Residency Review Committee for Pathology; and member, Advisory Council of the NIH office of Research on Women’s Health. Recently, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine, one of the highest national honors for any physician. She is the second woman in the State of Kansas to receive this honor. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Council of Deans at the Association of American Medical Colleges, one of the governing bodies for US Medical Schools.