Active Women’s Health Initiative to Support Title IX 50th Anniversary with Panel Discussion

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (June 15, 2022) — Dee Dlugonski, Ph.D., knows exactly how important Title IX is.

After all, as she says, she took advantage of it.

“Because of Title IX, I had opportunities to play sports that weren’t available to my mother and women of her generation,” said Dlugonski, assistant professor of athletic training and clinical nutrition for the Sports Medicine Research Institute and coordinator of the Active Women’s Health Initiative.

Dlugonski, who swam competitively at Penn State, will now help the University of Kentucky celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX – the 1972 educational amendment that prohibits sex discrimination (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity) in any educational program or activity to receive federal financial assistance.

From 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., June 23, the Working Women’s Health Initiative will sponsor a panel discussion in Room 127 of the Charles T. Wethington Building titled “Celebrating Women Pioneers: A Panel Discussion for the 50th Anniversary of the Title IX”.

The panel will feature Kathy DeBoer, (the second most successful volleyball coach in UK history and executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association), Jo Hannafin, MD, (orthopedic surgeon and professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College), and Mary Lloyd Ireland, MD, (UK Sports Medicine Physician in Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine). It will be moderated by Thalethia Routt (Acting UK Associate Vice President for Institutional Fairness and Equal Opportunity).

“Title IX has had a dramatic impact on opportunities for girls and women in athletics and beyond,” Dlugonski said. “Our panelists will share stories that will help us learn from the past, understand current challenges and discuss future opportunities to improve equity in and outside of sport.”

Register for the roundtable here.


Moderator: Thalethia Routt, JD

Thalethia B. Routt, JD, is the UK’s Acting Associate Vice President for Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity and is responsible for maintaining the institution’s commitment to equal opportunity in university programs, employment, services and activities. She has over 20 years of legal experience in private practice and in the public sector, including over 15 years with the Office of the University Legal Counsel.

In addition to serving on the university’s Equal Opportunity Committee and the DEI Supplier Diversity Project, Routt served on several other committees throughout his tenure at the university. She is a member of the DEI leadership team, acting as co-executive sponsor of the Culture, Policy and Programming Working Group. Routt is a member of the 2022 cohort of the Women’s Executive Leadership Development (WELD) program. She is also a member of the Council Committee on Equity of the FCPS Board of Education and was elected as the parent representative on the FCPS Superintendent Selection Committee.

A native of Berea, Kentucky, Routt received her undergraduate degree from the University of Louisville in 1997 and her law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2000. She is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association, a member of the board of directors of the Lexington Fair Housing Council and a mother member of the Central Kentucky Chapter, Jack and Jill of America Inc.


Mary Lloyd Ireland, MD

Mary Lloyd Ireland, MD, now a sports doctor at UK Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, was an Olympic team doctor in 1992 at the Barcelona Summer Games. During her time as an Olympic team doctor, she primarily worked with members of the women’s basketball team and the gymnastics team. She joined the UK team in 2008.

Originally from Lexington, Ireland, he grew up playing sports. While attending Sayre School, she played field hockey and basketball and was also a swimmer. In 1972 and 1976, Ireland competed for the chance to join the United States swim team. She missed the team by two tenths of a second.

After the Olympics, she returned to Lexington and set up a sports medicine program in private practice and was a team doctor for British athletics for 12 years, becoming the first woman to hold the post of doctor. team for a Division I football team.

Jo Hannafin, MD, Ph.D.

Jo A. Hannafin MD, Ph.D., is Board Certified in Orthopedic Surgery/Sports Medicine. She is an orthopedic surgeon and professor of orthopedic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. She retired from her clinical practice on May 31, 2021 and is now the hospital’s Vice Chair for the Special Surgery Institutional Review Board.

She was a clinician-researcher specializing in basic and translational research. She was a physician at the 1996, 2004, 2012 and 2016 Olympics, a team physician for USA Rowing for 27 years, a team physician for New York Liberty for 16 years, and a member of the FISA Medical Commission. Hannafin was the first female president of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and served on the AOSSM Board of Directors. She has received the Orthopedic Research Society (ORS) New Investigator Recognition Award, O’Donoghue Award for Excellence in Research, Rovere Award, USA Rowing’s Jack Kelly Award for Outstanding Contribution and the ORS Women’s Leadership Award.

She is an Honorary Medical Officer of the New York Fire Department and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from HSS in 2014. In 2021, Hannafin received the AOSSM Robert E. Leach Sports Medicine Leadership Award and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the AOSSM.

Kathy DeBoer

Kathy DeBoer is executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), a position she has held since February 1, 2006. Membership has doubled during her tenure. DeBoer is widely credited with leading efforts to have beach volleyball recognized as a collegiate sport.

Prior to the AVCA, DeBoer spent 23 years in intercollegiate athletics as a coach, administrator and fundraiser. She spent 18 years at the University of Kentucky, first as head volleyball coach and ending as senior associate athletic director. She began her career at Ferris State University in Michigan. DeBoer was a collegiate athlete in volleyball, basketball, and tennis. She was a Wade Trophy finalist and played two years of professional basketball after college.

DeBoer is a nationally recognized speaker on the impact of gender on competitive behavior in business and sports. Her first book, “Gender and Competition: How Men and Women Approach Work and Play Differently,” was published in 2004. DeBoer holds a Bachelor of Humanities degree from Michigan State (1978) and an MBA . from the University of Kentucky (1988). She is married to Mark Pittman and resides in Lexington.

“The women on this panel paved the way for women like me in sport and work,” Dlugonski said. “I am inspired by their stories and excited to share them with others who join us for this conversation.”

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