- Message from the Chair
- AAMC Statement on Court Decision in Dobbs. V. Jackson Women's Health Organization
- CFAS Administrative Board Elections
- CFAS Ad Board Retreat at AAMC in September
- AAMC Resources on Monkeypox Outbreak
- AAMC Leader Profile: Michael Dill, Director, Workforce Studies
- CFAS Rep Profile: Sarah Sterling, MD
- Academic Medicine Invited Commentary from Adi Haramati, Lily Belfi, and Eric Weissman
Message from the Chair
Dear CFAS Colleagues and Friends,
With the official start of summer just passed, many of us – I hope all of us – are putting thought into our own well-being by planning some rest and recharging, perhaps a trip to an exotic spot for new experiences, or a visit to a familiar summertime getaway to uphold a vacation tradition. In either case, it is important that we make an effort to slow down, allow for renewal, and to spend uninterrupted time with family and friends.
A few years ago, we started a tradition in CFAS of winding things down in the summer, just to do our part to make all our calendars a little less cluttered in the summer months. Committees that have met frequently during the fall, winter, and spring, may be due for a short pause. The CFAS Administrative Board, which normally has at least one long meeting a month, will take at least one summer month off, and even the monthly CFAS Rep Bulletin will take a summer break.
Of the many important things that come with taking time off, at the top of the list is preparing ourselves to be our freshest when we ramp back up to our usual productive, creative, and committed selves at work. I love to live in the moment and have extolled the virtues of being mindful. I try to enjoy whatever I am doing, whether it is working hard or playing hard. But I also recognize that while we all excel at “doing,” we also need to learn to “be” and not “do.” Slowing down enables us to recover and paves the way for us to perform at our best when we do return to full speed.
The leadership of CFAS – our Administrative Board – is looking forward to our own big ramp-up in mid-September. For the first time in more than two years, we will be meeting in person at the AAMC Learning Center in Washington for a daylong retreat. The goal will be to look hard at our work – both what is behind us and what is in front of us – to make strategic decisions about our priorities so we may ensure that we are aligned with the AAMC’s strategic direction, in addition to what is best for our diverse constituent audience – most particularly, our active CFAS representatives and society members.
To that end, I am asking for your help. Please email your top-tier issues or questions for CFAS to address directly to me as we consider advancing the interests of faculty in academic medicine. What do you believe are the key issues that we should be addressing? Where do you think CFAS can be successful? What opportunities are there for CFAS to advance the interests and causes of our colleagues, be they focused on biomedical research, clinical care, or medical education? Or perhaps there is an area we have neglected that deserves our focus and attention. Along the way, consider taking a look at the AAMC’s strategic plan priority areas – it’s an easy 10-point plan to scan – and think of ways you believe faculty interests fit into the big set of priorities that the AAMC has organized itself around over the past two years.
I’ll remind you of this request in the coming weeks, but I want you to know this is not mere lip service. I hope to have specific constituent concerns from many of you for Nita, myself, and our ad board colleagues to discuss on the agenda of the CFAS Administrative Board September Retreat. And at our first major in-person meeting of the CFAS community at the Learn Serve Lead 2022: The AAMC Annual Meeting in November, I hope to engage all of you in discussion of these issues at our business meeting and knowledge sharing session. Your active participation is critical to our success as an AAMC council.
As always, thank you for being part of this extraordinary community. I look forward to your timely feedback and wish you a restful summer.
Yours in good health and wellness,
Aviad “Adi” Haramati, PhD
Representing the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health
AAMC Statement on Supreme Court Decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, issued a statement last week in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “The court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, rescinding the protection of the right to safe and effective abortions for nearly five decades, will leave women’s reproductive health under the purview of various state laws,” Dr. Skorton said.
“Laws and policies that restrict or otherwise interfere with the patient-physician relationship put a patient at risk by limiting access to quality, evidence-based care. Everyone should be able to access comprehensive health care, including women of reproductive age. Restrictive state laws will severely limit a patient’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care, interfere in the patient-physician relationship, and override what is ultimately a clinician’s responsibility to provide the best medical care for every patient.”
The full statement is available online.
CFAS Administrative Board Elections
The CFAS Nominating and Engagement Committee met in several Zoom calls and through email throughout the spring to consider an impressive list of nominees for the next term of the CFAS Administrative Board. The new members of the ad board will take their seats in November 2022 at the conclusion of the Learn Serve Lead AAMC Annual Meeting.
Out of a list of more than a dozen nominees, the committee moved forward for consideration two new reps of the CFAS Administrative Board: Valencia Walker, MD, Associate Chief Diversity and Health Equity Officer for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, representing The University of Ohio College of Medicine, and Lily Belfi, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, representing the Association of University Radiologists. Of the 122 votes logged, 121 were “yes” votes and one was an abstention.
Two representatives were confirmed for second terms on the CFAS Ad Board: Shirley “Lee” Eisner, PhD, of SUNY Downstate, and Stewart Babbott, MD, of the University of Virginia, representing the Society for General Internal Medicine. CFAS Communication Committee Chair Alan Dow, MD, representing Virginia Commonwealth University and CFAS Biomedical Research and Education Committee Chair Rich Eckert, PhD, representing both University of Maryland and the Association of Medical and Graduate Departments of Biochemistry, will be rotating off the Ad Board after completing their second terms.
More information about the CFAS Administrative Board is available online.
CFAS Ad Board Retreat at AAMC in September
The CFAS Administrative Board will hold an in-person retreat for members and guests Sept. 13-14 at the AAMC headquarters in Washington, DC. The retreat is in the planning stage and more details for the CFAS community will forthcoming. The purpose of the retreat is to make strategic decisions about the priorities of CFAS to ensure alignment with the AAMC’s strategic direction while also staying focused on the needs of medical school faculty, academic societies, and the medical education community in general. This will be the first in-person meeting of the CFAS Administrative Board since the pandemic started.
We urge CFAS representatives and society executives alike to send items that you think the leadership of CFAS should discuss – including items that are relevant to AAMC leadership and the AAMC Board of Directors. Please send your suggestions and ideas directly to CFAS Chair Adi Haramati at email@example.com. Details of the discussion will be made available as a summary to CFAS reps and society executives, and the conversation will also lead to programming at the Learn Serve Lead AAMC Annual Meeting in Nashville this November.
AAMC Resources on Monkeypox Outbreak
As cases rise and some fear the current Monkeypox outbreak could become a global emergency, the AAMC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have jointly developed a resource guide to help medical professionals navigate the outbreak. The AAMC and the CDC also jointly developed a clinician checklist for the outbreak.
In addition to these resources, a recent AAMCNews article explained what Monkeypox is, how it spreads, and the available treatments and vaccines. The article featured interviews with Erica Shenoy, MD, PhD, an infectious disease physician and associate chief of the Infection Control Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and Raj Panjabi, MD, special assistant to the president and senior director for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council, who is leading efforts to contain the monkeypox outbreak in the United States.
CFAS Rep Profile: Sarah Sterling, MD
Dr. Sterling is associate professor of adult emergency medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, a member of the CFAS Program Committee, and a CFAS school rep for UMMC. She moderated the closing plenary at the 2022 CFAS Virtual Spring Meeting last April.
CFAS: Tell us about your experience being an emergency medicine physician over the last two years.
Dr. Sterling: The last two years have been really remarkable for medicine in general. Everyone had to adapt in order to rise to the challenge of treating patients with COVID-19 and develop protocols for treating patients while learning about a completely new disease. For emergency medicine, these last two years were truly transformative. Some specialties were forced to slow down, which gave a little more time for adaptation. In emergency medicine, we couldn’t do this. We had to develop new protocols while treating high volumes of patients suffering from a completely new disease and caring for our typical patient population. It took a lot of adaptability and flexibility. Fortunately, we’ve seen an amazing amount of resilience and bravery from the entire medical community. We’ve also learned how important it is to have a supportive medical community and an open dialogue for those in health care who are in need of mental health support.
CFAS: What advice would you give to women who are just starting out in academic medicine?
Dr. Sterling: First and foremost, try to find a mentor or, preferably, multiple mentors. You could have a research mentor, a professional development mentor, and a general life mentor. Luckily, I have had multiple mentors, and their advice, guidance, and support have been invaluable. Every one of them has made my career much more meaningful. They’ve helped me keep my career and long-term goals in perspective and have also taught me how to keep my short-term objectives balanced too.
An important lesson I’ve learned through my mentors is to not be afraid to say “yes” to trying something new, even if you don’t have much experience in the area. Sometimes you can figure things out as you go. For example, I joined the Medical Student Research Program (MSRP) Committee after encouragement from my research mentor. I was asked to chair the committee soon after, but I wasn’t sure I could do it. It ended up being a really exciting opportunity to secure additional funding for the program and grow the program to reach more students.
Of course, it’s also important to understand when to say “no” when there is too much on your plate. Keeping balance and control on your life is important…and hard!
CFAS: Tell us about your experience moderating a session at the 2022 CFAS Virtual Spring Meeting and some of the benefits of membership in CFAS.
Dr. Sterling: This is another example of a time when I said yes to doing something new but wasn't sure how, or even if, I could actually do it. I ended up being so glad that I said yes, and everyone was so encouraging and supportive along the way. CFAS is a remarkable organization in that it gives faculty members in all different ranks and levels a voice. Everyone’s input matters in CFAS. We saw that in the virtual meeting in many different ways. There was intentional effort to have faculty from different ranks, institutions, and societies contribute to create a well-rounded perspective of the important issues in academic medicine.
CFAS: What are some recent accomplishments or initiatives at University of Mississippi Medical Center that would be interesting for other CFAS reps to know about?
Dr. Sterling: Our leaders at UMMC use the AAMC StandPoint Faculty Engagement Survey as an opportunity to identify areas for improvement and growth. Through use of this data and actions plans, significant improvement was noted in five areas from 2018-2021. The most significant growth was in the promotion and tenure requirements, with our average satisfaction much higher than the cohort average. There is encouragement for robust promotion and tenure support and review at the departmental level. Though UMMC’s had 4 other areas that exceeded cohort averages, the highest scoring category was “collegiality and collaboration at work” (84% compared to the cohort average of 81%), which I think is pretty remarkable during a pandemic and says a lot about our faculty and our institution.
CFAS: What do you like to do in your free time?
Dr. Sterling: I’m a mom of three, so much of my time is spent with my children and husband, and shuttling our kids to various school functions, ball fields, birthday parties, and other activities. I love cheering my children on from the sidelines. I also like to cook and work in our garden.
AAMC Leader Profile: Michael Dill, Director, Workforce Studies
CFAS: Tell us about your role at the AAMC.
Dill: I’ve served as the Director of Workforce Studies for the last 3 years but have been at the AAMC for 14 years. I manage and lead the Workforce Studies team as we produce research and data analysis on the nation’s physician workforce needs.
CFAS: What are the latest trends and developments in the physician workforce?
Dill: Of course, the most significant recent development has been the pandemic. It’s impacted every aspect of physicians’ lives, from the day-to-day of physician practice to exacerbating the nation’s physician shortage. Of note, existing inequities in the workforce based on gender and race have been made worse by the pandemic.
CFAS: How has the pandemic impacted workforce projections?
Dill: There are a lot of anecdotes going around, but there are very few good data on how COVID has affected the future physician workforce. For example, there’s been a lot of talk about the “Great Resignation,” but there aren’t many data to back that up. It may actually be a “Great Migration,” because health professionals might be going to work in other places and settings rather than actually leaving the workforce. I do suspect that the pandemic has increased already untenable levels of burnout within the physician workforce and may be leading some to consider retiring earlier.
COVID has also done other things to affect the physician workforce, such as spurring more adoption of telehealth, but we don’t yet have great data on how physicians have managed their workload since COVID began, or how the mass telehealth adoption is affecting their plans for practicing going forward.
What we do know from the data we’ve been able to collect and analyze is how COVID has impacted work hours. Overall, work hours actually went down in the first year of COVID, because people were scared to go to doctor’s office for care, which caused demand to drop – and led a lot of smaller practices to close. But the pandemic is creating more long-term demand for physicians, as 2 out of 5 people who become infected with COVID develop at least some symptoms of long COVID and will likely require long term treatment.
Other data show that inequities in the workforce have been exacerbated by the pandemic. For example, we know the pandemic has had a great effect on gender inequities in the workforce, in large part because women tend to take on more of childcare responsibilities, while men do not, and employers have not stepped up to fully support workers’ childcare needs. The pandemic has thus definitely hurt women’s careers. Data also show that minority physicians have been more likely to die from COVID than White physicians.
We have a survey of physicians in the field now that is looking at how COVID has impacted the workforce, so we’ll be able to answer many questions, and examine these issues in greater detail, with data later this year.
CFAS: Tell us about the processes by which the AAMC collects and analyzes data on the workforce.
Dill: We pull from existing data sources such as the AMA physician database, some federal government databases, and longitudinal AAMC data that we have on students and residents who progress through the medical education continuum to become physicians.
In addition to these sources, the Workforce Studies team has two ongoing original data collection efforts. The first is a survey of a nationally representative sample of physicians that aims to collect data that aren’t captured by regular AAMC data collections, such as information on burnout, other aspects of wellbeing, and detailed information on the practice of medicine (such as work hours). For example, we can use existing public data to tell you how many hours physicians work on average, but not exactly how many they spend on actual patient care. Our data give us that extra, crucial information. This survey also collects information on under-studied topics ranging from physicians with disabilities to physician language use. We’re also looking at physicians’ experiences of harm, bias, and discrimination. This national sample survey is in the field now, in the second wave of collection, and we’ll soon be preparing the data for future publications, research, and analyses.
The other major data collection effort we have is the AAMC Consumer Survey of Healthcare Access. We survey adults twice a year about their experiences trying to get access to medical care. We’ve done this survey for about 10 years and it informs our understanding of the multi-layered barriers people in this country face in trying to get the services that physicians provide.
Academic Medicine Invited Commentary from Adi Haramati, Lily Belfi, and Eric Weissman
CFAS rep Lily Belfi, MD, associate professor of clinical radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine Medical College (and an incoming CFAS Administrative Board member); CFAS Chair Aviad “Adi” Haramati, PhD, professor of integrative physiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine; and Eric Weissman, AAMC senior director of Faculty and Academic Society Engagement, published an invited commentary in Academic Medicine, “Grit, Gratitude, Grace, and Guidance: Moving Academic Medicine from Crisis to Transformation.” The piece explores the resilience of academic health center faculty and looks to the community, innovation, and leadership collaboration that have enabled faculty to emerge, thrive, and improve their future during the pandemic.
Tell Us How You’re Doing
Please keep the lines of communication open so we can provide you with the resources and information that would be most useful. It is helpful for the AAMC to understand in detail what is happening on the ground at the medical schools, teaching hospitals, and academic societies we serve. Please email Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call directly at 301-437-2572 with updates or feedback from your perspective. You can also reach out with questions or comments to CFAS Communications Specialist Alex Bolt.
If you are looking for information about CFAS, find what you need on our website, from the names of CFAS leaders, to updates on committee and working group initiatives, to upcoming offerings and meetings, and finally, current and previous editions of CFAS News.
Do you have an article or study coming out? A new promotion or professional accomplishment? Let us know and we'll feature it in an upcoming edition of the CFAS Rep Bulletin.