Women in Academic Medicine Organization Supports Faculty Development

“This is a great time for women and minorities at the Miller School of Medicine,” said Lilian Abbo, M.D., President of Women in Academic Medicine (WIAM), an organization formed in 2008 with the mission of transforming the development, recruitment and retention of women faculty at the Miller School through education, networking and mentoring. “We are striving to promote diversity and inclusion by providing our faculty with important tools for promotion, networking and development of leadership skills.”

Abbo, who is also associate professor of clinical medicine and Chief of Jackson Health System’s Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship, is appreciative of the support WIAM has received from Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and other senior administrators.

“Nationally, women on faculty at medical schools are less likely to attain promotion and tenure than their male colleagues, are underrepresented in leadership positions, and frequently experience differences in salary,” said Goldschmidt. “At the Miller School of Medicine, we are committed to providing meaningful career opportunities for all, and certainly for the talented women on our faculty. The Women in Academic Medicine organization plays an important role in helping us fulfill that goal.”

Abbo cites a number of recent and upcoming programs organized by WIAM for providing both assistance and encouragement to women and faculty at large.

“These initiatives are incredibly important for faculty to feel that our organization is investing in them, their career goals, and their contributions to advancing science and medicine,” said Ivette Motola, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of emergency medicine, Director of the Division of Prehospital and Emergency Healthcare at the Michael S. Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, and Vice President of WIAM.

Upcoming Programs
WIAM will be sponsoring two important events this spring:

“A Proactive Approach to Career/Life Planning: A Workshop with Peers,” will be held tomorrow, March 9, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., in the first-floor auditorium of the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, in the Don Soffer Clinical Research Center. The guest speaker will be Stephanie B. Abbuhl, M.D., Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs and professor of emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to identify one of several goals that are important to work toward over the next one to three years, evaluate the “restraining’ and “driving” forces that need to be considered when working toward the identified goal and describe an action plan of steps to achieve the goal. Registration and additional information are available here.

The First University of Miami Women and Minority Leadership and Professional Development Symposium will be held on Friday, May 13, at the Donna E. Shalala Student Center in Coral Gables. The goal is “inspiring and empowering minorities, women, University of Miami faculty, executive staff and alumni(ae) to assume greater leadership roles, increase their value to their organization, and strategically leverage their abilities and talents for positive results in a diverse and inclusive environment.” A highlight of the symposium will be a presentation by UM President Julio Frenk; another will be given by one of WIAM’s newest Advisory Board members, Felicia Knaul, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences and Director of the Miami Institute for the Americas.

“In my own research and advocacy, I seek to give women a voice for positive change in all spheres of our lives — family, health care, social and professional,” said Knaul. “The medical workplace is a key sphere of action and opportunity on all of these fronts, for the health and well-being of women, and for women who work in medicine. The vision of the Women in Academic Medicine is that social justice matters, in the communities we serve through our clinical practice and research, as well as in how we, at the Miller School, support our own female faculty and staff. I am proud to support their mission.”

Recent WIAM programs in 2015 included a “speed mentoring” CV-review workshop for assistant professors of all genders and an event that recognized women faculty members who had been promoted and awarded others for their professional achievements.

“Speed Mentoring” Workshop
The CV review, which was held in November, brought together 26 junior faculty and 16 senior faculty members. The workshop enabled each participating assistant professor to have a series of 10-minute CV reviews by three senior faculty members, including those from other academic departments. The senior faculty mentors were asked to point out strengths and weaknesses in the CVs, and to recommend changes that should be made to improve chances for promotion.

One of the participants was Wen-Hsiang Lee, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology, who is also a member of the WIAM Advisory Board and Chair of WIAM’s Professional Development and Programming Committee.

“I have been here 10 years,” she said. “I am still an assistant professor, because after five years of clinical work, I received an NIH grant and did research for the next five years. That makes me a hybrid known as a ‘clinician-scientist,’ which does not put me on a conventionally focused track for promotion. This event helped me because I could get an impartial assessment from senior members of other departments. It was also helpful because now I know how I stand among my peers at the university level.”

Lee says she received a variety of helpful suggestions, and one mentor advised her to apply for a spot to attend the Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“It was a no-stress environment for receiving unbiased feedback, guidance and mentoring,” said Holly Neville, M.D., professor of surgery, who was one of the three senior faculty members who met with Lee. “The experience was also very valuable to me as a mentor, because it allows faculty across departments to network.”

“I thought this was a very useful event,” said another, Anna K. Junk, M.D., associate professor of clinical ophthalmology. “I wish I had this available earlier in my own career.”

“I enjoyed having the opportunity to interact with and mentor junior faculty,” said the third, Cynthia Levy, M.D., associate professor of medicine. “The level of interest with which the event was received was eye-opening. UM would definitely benefit from additional faculty development and mentoring programs.”

Levy wasn’t alone in her response to the event.

“The workshop was considered a huge success,” said Motola. “The junior faculty and mentors were extremely appreciative, and they suggested that these types of events be held more frequently.”

Promotions and Awards Event
Another activity, the WIAM Promotions and Awards Event, was held in December to recognize women faculty at the Miller School who had been promoted in 2015. The event was well attended by women faculty and Miller School leadership. In addition to honoring all the women faculty who had been promoted last year, the following awards were presented:

Excellence in Mentoring Award
• JoNell E. Potter, Ph.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and Director of the Division of Research & Special Projects.
• Rose Van Zuillen, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine.

Excellence in Leadership Award
• Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, M.D., M.B.A., assistant professor of clinical psychiatry, and Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer.

Trailblazer Award
• Ellen F. Barrett, Ph.D., professor of physiology and biophysics.

Career Achievement Award
• Anne E. Burdick, M.D., M.P.H., professor of dermatology, Leprosy Program Director, and Associate Dean for TeleHealth and Clinical Outreach.

More information on the 2015-2016 WIAM Advisory Board, including photos, can be found here. You can follow WIAM on Facebook (WIAM – Women in Academic Medicine) and Twitter (@miamiwomendocs).

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