Women of the Century
Leslie Strickler, DO, a forensic pediatrician at The University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital, has been named one of New Mexico’s Women of the Century by the USA Today Network.
The news network, owned by the Gannett publishing company, is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women nationwide the right to vote, by naming 10 women from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, who have made significant contributions to their communities, as Women of the Century.
Strickler,who joined the likes of Georgia O’Keeffe, golfer Nancy Lopez and Adelina “Nina” Otero-Warren, the first New Mexico woman to run for Congress, said she had no idea she had been nominated for the recognition and only learned about it when a friend mentioned it.
“I’ve never been so humbled in my life,” she said. “I look at it, and I don’t belong on this list.”
Strickler, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, is medical director of UNM’s Child Abuse Response Team (CART) and is one of just a handful of physicians in New Mexico with the expertise to determine whether a child’s injuries might have been caused deliberately or by accident.
Since joining the team in 2006 the program has grown to include 14 dedicated staff, including two full-time nurse practitioners, a social worker and nurse. In May, CART partnered with UNM’s Project ECHO to launch videoconferencing-based child abuse training for clinicians throughout the state.
The CART team has seen a steady stream of referrals for suspected child abuse throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and Strickler is concerned that the stresses and economic losses families are facing might worsen the problem.
“The need to keep kids and families safe and supported is not going to go away in times like this,” she said. “It’s going to be increased.”
Strickler received recognition for her work from the New Mexico Legislature in 2019, when it honored her with a humanitarian award for her efforts to prevent child abuse.
Nominees for USA Today’s Women of the Century were selected for their outstanding achievement in areas such as arts and literature, business, civil rights, education, entertainment, law, media, nonprofits and philanthropy, politics, science and medicine or sports.