Celestina Barbosa-Leiker. Photo by Judith Van Dongen.

Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, WSU Health Sciences’ vice chancellor for research, is one of 10 winners of the 2019 YWCA Women of Achievement award.

Barbosa-Leiker is WSU Health Sciences’ third YWCA Women of Achievement award winner in the last four years, joining Lois James in 2018 and Robbie Paul in 2016. Patricia Butterfield, Ruth Bindler and Barbara Richardson are additional WSU Health Sciences representatives who have also been honored.

Barbosa-Leiker, Ph.D., is one of two honorees in the Science, Technology and Environment category. She was recently appointed the vice chancellor of research at WSU Health Sciences after more than 10 years of research and administrative experience at WSU’s College of Nursing.

While with the College of Nursing, Barbosa-Leiker helped the college jump to 27th in the nation for NIH-funded research at nursing schools in the U.S.

From the YWCA Spokane’s news release:

“Her research focuses on substance use and women’s health, including assessing the transition from pregnancy to parenthood for women who use substances. Specifically, her research demonstrated sex differences in the measurement of opioid withdrawal, relapse in treatment, and relapse predictors. Currently, she leads an interdisciplinary research team seeking to improve care for women with opioid use disorders and women using cannabis during pregnancy. Her research aims to keep families together, while still providing the best available treatments to mothers and babies.

“In addition to her impressive research skills, Celestina is known to empower those she works with. She acts as a role model for faculty, students, and staff. She mentors other scientists and clinicians, empowering them to pursue research to address health issues they see. As a Latina researcher, Celestina is committed to mentoring under-represented faculty members and students. Her efforts to encourage and uplift women have a positive impact on those around her.”

The 2019 YWCA Women of Achievement Luncheon is Oct. 11 at the Spokane Convention Center.

–Story by Kevin Dudley, WSU Health Sciences