March 9, 2021

Women’s History Month: Spotlight on Linda Hazlett, Ph.D.

We interviewed our Warrior Strong women in leadership at the School of Medicine in honor of Women’s History Month.

Vice Dean of Research and Graduate Programs Linda Hazlett, Ph.D., was named to her current position in 2016. The prolific researcher was a familiar face around the medical school, having joined the faculty more than 40 years ago as an assistant professor in what is now the Department of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences.

Dr. Hazlett is a widely published researcher, with more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and 22 book chapters. She is also the Robert S. Jampel, M.D., Ph.D. Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology, and distinguished professor and vice chair in the Department of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences.

Her major research interests are multi-drug resistance, ocular infection and pathogenesis, inflammation and innate immunity. She holds two provisional patents for the treatment of bacterial keratitis.

She credits her successful career to always staying positive, and dealing with challenges one by one.

“Only death is insurmountable,” she said. “Perseverance and hard work pay off. Never give up.”

Question: What do you like about your role?

Answer: I enjoy assisting faculty to succeed in research. My office implemented usage of a grant-writing agency called Health Research Associates, which is offered each year to all departments to nominate a candidate for that year’s class. The success of this program is enormous – more than $10 million in new research funding. I also enjoy contributing to supporting the School of Medicine’s Office of the Vice President for Research’s Boost and Bridge programs, and to leverage more research dollars for faculty. I simply enjoy doing the business of the job, which is far more than business. It can change lives and careers of faculty. I also like to lead by example and I believe this is of ultimate importance for leadership to succeed.

Q: Why do you think celebrating Women’s History Month is important?

A: I love a celebration, so why not? The world is ‘a changing’ and diversity, inclusion and all of the good things that come from these things are worthy of celebration, including women and their history – past, present and to be.

Q: What do you think of being a woman in medicine and science?

A: I have never given that too much thought. But I am grateful for the opportunities medicine and science have offered me: of leading a successful anatomy department for 23 years as chair, and in 2018, for merging my department to form the new Department of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences, together with Mark Juzych, M.D. I am also grateful for the ability to apply for and attain National Institutes of Health funding, to be a co-investigator, colleague and collaborator, and to share intellectual passion in writing a grant or a manuscript. But best of all is the opportunity to compete against talented people – male and female – to the fullest extent and to succeed some of the time.