Dr. Cheryl Giscombé is a member of the inaugural 40 Under 40 Class, an elite group of alumni from North Carolina Central University. A selection committee reviewed some of the University’s most outstanding young alumni and chose Dr. Giscombé for her accomplishments in her field and for being an exemplar of “Truth and Service.” In addition, the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS) Awards Committee selected her to receive the 2012 Brilliant New Investigator award. She will receive this award at the CANS meeting in September.
Dr. Giscombé was also recently honored as a chosen keynote speaker for the 2012 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Women of Color Conclave in Washington, D.C., June 9 – 11. Dr. Giscombé represented nursing at the National Science Foundation conference, which included women scientists from various disciplines including engineering, aeronautics, chemistry, and mathematics.
STEM conference planners invited Dr. Giscombé to speak after reading about her work on mindfulness meditation. For her keynote presentation, “The Superwoman Scholar: Can Mindfulness Help Women of Color in Academia Achieve Both Success and Balance?” Dr. Giscombé addressed health disparities among women of color and proposed mindfulness as a health intervention to reduce stress and achieve balance.
Dr. Giscombé used the “Superwoman Schema” (Woods-Giscombé 2010) theoretical framework to explain the physiological cost for women who carry an obligation to present an image of strength. She adapted this message for women of color in academia, citing a tendency among this group to focus more on productivity than on self-care.
“A lot of what we hear in our careers is focused on publishing, getting grants, being productive, and we can end up being really self-critical and neglectful of the things in life that keep us healthy and light-hearted. My take-home message is that we can’t afford to continue that. Ambition can be a wonderful thing, but we also need to take care of ourselves so that we can be well, happy, and whole.”