Miller School Physician-Scientist Selected as a Fellow in National Leadership Program

Omaida Velazquez, M.D., professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the Miller School, has been accepted into the 2010-11 class of the prestigious Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. ELAM is the only national program dedicated to preparing senior women faculty for leadership roles at academic health centers.

“It is an honor to be selected for participation in the ELAM program and I intend to represent the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine with complete dedication,” Dr. Velazquez said. “Through this outstanding program, I look forward to establishing new interpersonal networks and gaining important skills that will allow me to better address the unique challenges facing academic health centers today and thus better serve the missions of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, the University of Miami Health System, and the Miller School of Medicine.”

Diane Magrane, M.D., director of Drexel’s International Center for Executive Leadership in Academics, which hosts the ELAM program, said the program’s 16th class of fellows is notable for its exceptional leadership experience and academic accomplishments.

“We look forward to being part of their learning and growth as leaders over the coming years,’‘ Magrane said. “The ELAM fellowship experience is like no other professional development program for academic faculty. It embeds the learning about strategic organizational change and finance into each fellow’s daily organizational work. It provides unique opportunities for self-reflection, application of new skills, and entry into a network of women leaders eager to support each other’s advancement.”

Eight Miller School faculty members served on the committee that nominated Dr. Velazquez. Sheri Keitz, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean of faculty affairs, Alan Livingstone, M.D., professor and chair of surgery, Norma Sue Kenyon, Ph.D., a 2010 ELAM fellow and director of the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research, William O’Neill, M.D., executive dean for clinical affairs, and Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., wrote letters supporting her nomination.

“We are very proud that Omaida has been chosen to take part in this extremely prestigious program,” said Dean Goldschmidt, also senior vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the University of Miami Health System. “Throughout her career, she has proven to be a strong leader in everything she has undertaken, and this program will be a tremendous learning experience that will allow her to further refine her leadership skills. The fellowship will benefit not only Dr. Velazquez, but other women faculty members at the Miller School who can learn from her example.”

In addition to Dr. Kenyon, Martin Kleiman Professor of Surgery, Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, the Miller School boasts two other ELAM graduates: Anne E. Burdick, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean for telehealth and clinical outreach (2003) and Diana D. Cardenas, M.D., professor and chair of rehabilitation medicine (2008).

The ELAM curriculum adapts lessons in executive management and institutional leadership, such as strategic finance, organizational dynamics, and personal and professional effectiveness, to the academic health center environment. These develop over the course of an intense program that incorporates three week-long, in-residence sessions, application and further development of lessons at their institutions, and use of new information technologies for distance learning and community-building.

During their year with ELAM, fellows gain a broader and deeper knowledge of the challenges facing academic health centers through meetings with national leaders in the field, interactions with their peers in the program, and interviews with a wide range of senior officers at their own institutions. Fellows also undertake a long-term project that addresses an institutional need or goal while providing an opportunity for leadership and greater visibility.

ELAM’s mission is to increase the number of women in senior leadership positions and, in so doing, to change the culture of academic health centers to become more inclusive of different perspectives and more responsive to changing social agendas. Some 20 percent of its almost 600 graduates currently serve in the highest-level leadership ranks, from associate dean through university president.

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