The AAMC established the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies (CFAS) to serve as a bidirectional conduit of engagement between medical school faculty and the AAMC. CFAS offers an unparalleled opportunity to bring the combined voice of medical school faculty and academic societies to national conversations around issues affecting academic medicine, helping to shape the direction and activities of the AAMC and its member institutions. CFAS occupies a unique position in the AAMC as one of three councils with representatives who sit on the AAMC’s Board of Directors.
Through its work, CFAS is committed to engaging and bringing value to the following stakeholders:
- Medical schools and faculty.
- Academic societies.
- The AAMC.
Medical Schools and Faculty
CFAS provides a conduit for bidirectional engagement between medical school faculty and the AAMC, including venues for faculty to communicate their day-to-day concerns to AAMC leadership. CFAS representatives have an opportunity to add a faculty voice to the activities and platforms of one of the premier medical organizations. Roughly half of these representatives are in their early-to-midcareer trajectories and can benefit immensely from involvement in broad faculty activities, refinement of biomedical policy, and leadership development.
Additionally, CFAS representatives can interact with peers from other academic health centers and specialties who they otherwise may never engage with in other professional development venues. These rare opportunities for such broad collaboration allow CFAS representatives to form well-rounded and holistic views of the challenges and opportunities in academic medicine, providing them unique opportunities for leadership development and advancement in their institutions.
Through their involvement with CFAS, faculty representatives have had the opportunity to help shape the AAMC’s strategies in the following crucial areas:
- Addressing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Improving well-being in academic medicine.
- Clarifying the impact of National Institutes of Health funding levels and biomedical research policymaking.
- Highlighting the unique challenges facing basic scientists in the changing dynamics in many academic health centers, including the changing roles of scientists as educators.
- Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic medicine.
- Collaborating with various CFAS committees to write reports and conduct research on the important issues in academic medicine.
CFAS representatives have also played leadership roles in advancing advocacy issues related to academic health centers and faculty, worked to develop a broad definition of faculty, and advanced new thinking on the structure and governance of the academic health center.
A number of CFAS representatives have also had the opportunity to serve in wide-ranging groups and initiatives on the front lines of contemporary issues in academic medicine through their relationship with CFAS, including groups such as the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the National Board of Medical Examiners, and the National Academy of Medicine, to name a few.
Through their CFAS representatives, academic societies can collaborate with other disciplines on issues near and dear to their missions, such as advocacy, education and training, research funding, clinical reimbursement, and a range of topical issues such as clinician well-being, sexual harassment in academic medicine, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. CFAS helps facilitate common ground among a broad spectrum of professional academic organizations by gathering diverse perspectives, setting aside turf issues, and speaking with a unified voice. CFAS participation also affords societies direct access to AAMC resources and activities, providing opportunities to collaborate and leverage comparative benchmark data from the AAMC’s many data collection sources to address issues with deans and local officials.
Through CFAS, the AAMC distributes several sign-on letters each year to academic society leadership, allowing them to add their societies’ names to initiatives and positions that matter to them on the national level. Academic societies that become CFAS members also receive exposure and recognition by being profiled in the monthly CFAS Rep Bulletin newsletter, and society news is also picked up and disseminated in CFAS News, a weekly newsletter with a mailing list of over 5,200 professionals in academic medicine.
As one of the three AAMC councils, CFAS has direct access to and representation on the AAMC’s Board of Directors, with two seats on the Board filled by the chair and chair-elect of CFAS. Through this representation at the highest level of AAMC leadership, CFAS offers a faculty and society perspective on the issues the AAMC confronts on a daily basis, such as national policies on graduate medical education, governance and regulation of academic medicine, and oversight of activities related to medical education, research, and care delivery.
CFAS representatives and society executives are responsible not only for bringing issues to the table through their work with CFAS, but also for informing other medical school faculty and society representatives of the AAMC’s activities. This ensures that the AAMC remains vibrant and relevant for all faculty members and societies.
Together with the Council of Deans and the Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems, CFAS contributes to the unique three-way communication among the major stakeholders in biomedical education, research, and patient care.
Five Core Areas of CFAS Value
1. Bidirectional Communication With Senior and Junior Faculty
The AAMC routinely shares insight, fosters innovation, and enables peer-to-peer networking with many constituencies in academic medicine, including deans and other medical school administrators, academic hospital leaders, residents, and academic societies.
2. Development of Strategies and Policies in Education, Research, and Patient Care
As the AAMC develops strategies and policy positions important to the missions of academic medicine, input from senior and junior faculty members and member societies is invaluable. Faculty represent the brain trust in academic medical centers, and access to this constituency can be of great value to the AAMC as it formulates positions and develops initiatives in support of health care delivery, medical education, and biomedical research. CFAS directly provides this input to the AAMC. Through participation in CFAS, faculty members additionally have formed interdisciplinary collaborations at their home institutions and beyond to drive specific initiatives to improve patient care, enhance the state of medical education and training, and support the research efforts of their institutions.
3. Leadership Development
In addition to providing direct leadership training to faculty members and academic society representatives at its various meetings, CFAS can facilitate faculty members’ exposure to important issues, challenges, and opportunities relevant to academic medicine.
4. Collaboration and Coordination With Other Major AAMC Groups
Collaboration with leaders at medical schools and teaching hospitals nationwide is a critical component to advancing the overarching goals of academic medicine. CFAS provides an important faculty and society voice to the collective work of the AAMC’s councils, along with that of the AAMC’s affinity groups, such as the Group on Women in Medicine and Science, the Group on Diversity and Inclusion, and the Group on Faculty Affairs, to name just a few. These groups represent thousands of professionals in diverse fields in academic medicine across the country. CFAS has participated in numerous joint meetings and projects with these AAMC groups, interacting directly with peers on topics like faculty development, diversity and inclusion, women in medicine in science, basic science support, and residency training.
5. Facilitation of Input From Medical Students and Residents
Because faculty members work closely with medical students and residents, CFAS can facilitate dialogue among these three groups. CFAS-member societies play a direct role in appointing members to the AAMC Organization of Resident Representatives, another of the association’s governing bodies, and has a long history of meeting with and developing programming with medical school residents and other trainees. These relationships allow the AAMC to engage on a range of issues with students and residents at all levels.