In this edition:
- Message from the Chair
- Learn Serve Lead Summary Materials Online
- AAMC Leader Profile: Philip M. Alberti, PhD, Founding Director of the AAMC Center for Health Justice
- 2024 CFAS Spring Meeting Update
- CFAS Connects December Session
- AAMC Fee Assistance Program Expanding with 60% ERAS® Application Discount
Message from the Chair
Dear CFAS Colleagues,
I am delighted to address you for the first time as the Chair of CFAS. As is customary, leadership transitions for CFAS coincide with the conclusion of the Learn Serve Lead: The AAMC Annual Meeting. A few weeks ago, I officially assumed the role of CFAS Chair, succeeding my esteemed colleague, Dr. Adi Haramati, who now serves as the Immediate Past Chair. Concurrently, we welcomed Dr. Art Derse as the new CFAS Chair-elect.
I extend my heartfelt thanks and congratulations to these outstanding colleagues for their unwavering commitment to advancing faculty interests on a national stage. During his tenure as CFAS Chair and member of the AAMC Board of Directors, Adi demonstrated exemplary service to faculty, culminating in the successful launch of the CFAS Connects monthly Zoom series. He prioritized well-being and mindfulness, leaving an indelible mark on CFAS.
Similarly, Dr. Art Derse, a distinguished physician, attorney, and bioethicist, brings profound thoughtfulness to the projects he undertakes. Whether combating misinformation in science and medicine, chairing and transforming the CFAS Advocacy Committee, or ensuring a comprehensive consideration of project complexities, Art contributes significantly to our collective efforts.
I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of our past chair, Dr. Gabriela Popescu, who championed inclusivity and the role of women in medicine and science. While she concludes her term on the CFAS Administrative Board, her legacy and commitment to CFAS persist: As she frequently noted, "Once in CFAS, always in CFAS."
Having been closely engaged with CFAS for nearly a decade, I consider it my professional home — a place where faculty engage beyond specialties and disciplines to tackle challenges that transcend institutional and societal boundaries. The richer, more rewarding conversations at CFAS have forged lasting connections with colleagues turned friends.
As I embark on this new role, I am particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of supporting junior faculty and new CFAS representatives who are navigating the early stages of their careers and acclimating to our council. Enhancing the onboarding process has consistently been a priority for me, with the goal to expedite the integration of representatives and amplify their voices with greater clarity.
In addressing a crucial cultural focus area, I share the sentiment of many regarding the discourse on burnout in medicine. Rather than dwelling on who is most affected and assigning blame, it's time for us to collectively shoulder the responsibility of rectifying the issue. Rediscovering joy in our work is inherent in our commitment as healers — a commitment that should be both fulfilling and sustainable.
In closing, I extend an invitation for each of you, and your broader networks, to be inspired and actively participate in this endeavor. The well-being of our faculty hinges on our collective engagement. As we navigate the evolving landscape of academic medicine, let us not merely accept change but deliberately assume the role of change agents, fostering an environment that optimizes our individual and collective impact.
Looking forward to the journey,
Nita Ahuja, MD
Yale University School of Medicine
Learn Serve Lead Summary Materials Online
Summaries of Learn Serve Lead 2023: The AAMC Annual Meeting are available on the CFAS Resources webpage now. In addition to the comprehensive PowerPoint presentation that is normally made available for CFAS reps, there is also an abbreviated summary that should be more accessible for presentations at your home institution and/or society. Both the long and shorter presentations are available in PPT and PDF files. We encourage you to adapt these materials for your own presentation purposes and share them externally. Feel free to edit, add to, trim, or otherwise modify these materials to make them appropriate considering your school or society audience.
Additionally, we will be posting reports from the in-person meetings of the CFAS committees during LSL on the CFAS Committees webpage. Videos of the plenary sessions and other summary resources are also available on the AAMC’s website.
AAMC Leader Profile: Philip M. Alberti, PhD, Founding Director of the AAMC Center for Health Justice
CFAS: Please tell us about your journey through academic medicine.
Dr. Alberti: I graduated from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and during my training I taught epidemiology to medical students who were pursuing their Masters of Public Health (MPH) degrees. When I graduated, I continued to teach part-time once I began working at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where our Bureau regularly partnered with academic health centers on community-based programming.
One example focused on increasing access to healthful foods: We co-designed food prescription programs with local farmers, small business owners, academic health centers, and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. That partnership provided Electronic Benefit Transfer incentives for patients to redeem food prescriptions at farmers markets often hosted by the academic health center, with co-located prevention, screening, and benefit enrollment services. I joined the AAMC eleven-and-a-half years ago and in that time have visited dozens of AHCs to learn about their community engagement efforts, including as part of our Spencer Foreman Award team.
CFAS: Please describe your current role at the AAMC.
Dr. Alberti: I serve as the founding director of the AAMC’s Center for Health Justice and also as senior director for health equity research and policy at the AAMC. The Center originated from the AAMC’s strategic plan and is one embodiment of AAMC’s fourth mission area of “community collaboration.” At the center we often say that “Health equity is our goal, and health justice is the path” and to us, health justice means keeping one foot grounded in community wisdom and multisector partnership, the other in a research to policy action imperative, and then we use both feet to stride toward health equity in an intentionally antiracist, anti-discriminatory and intersectional way. We want to model that process and influence the understanding and practice of health justice among our members, their communities and “health opportunity creators” like policymakers, movements, and other national organizations. We also aim to ease the path for this work by creating tools, resources, and conversations that accelerate progress.
CFAS: What are some areas of the health care system you’ve seen make advances in health equity and what areas still need work?
Dr. Alberti: I’ve been working as a health equity scientist and advocate for nearly 25 years and have seen good progress over the last decade, particularly in increased general awareness and understanding of health equity issues among the general public, across AAMC’s membership and at federal agencies like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Serves (CMS). For example, at CMS, health equity is now baked into the design of some Accountable Care Organization (ACO) models.
In terms of practice, there’s now almost uniform screening for patient-level health-related social needs at our member hospitals (even if some of those efforts stop short of closed-loop referrals) and the understanding that health care can only be effective when the other factors that influence health – and do so more than health care! – have been understood and addressed. The health care equity workforce has expanded to include community-based practitioners like CHWs, promotoras, doulas, and lawyers, though reimbursement remains a problem.
But in other areas, there is still a long way to go. There is still a lot of work to be done to engage in authentic, bidirectional community engagement and diverse partnerships. These efforts are often too superficial and rely too much on “the same old” contacts. They usually are not co-equal relationships in terms of funding and decision-making power. The expertise of community partners is often not valued equally as clinical or scientific expertise, and that’s a fundamental problem as achieving health equity relies on centering community wisdom. We need to resist the medicalization of population health and health equity: Neither are achievable as a one-patient-at-a-time endeavor – we can’t prescribe or refer our way out of the challenges we face. As a society, we sometimes put all of our eggs in the health care basket, but we can miss things with that approach. For example, what data are we collecting that helps us develop interventions? Is it multi-sector? Who decides what’s important and what to measure? Where’s the community and patient perspective?
There can also be a lack of commitment to the kind of evaluation that’s needed to push forward health care equity, specifically. If you look at any systematic review of the various threads of community health and health equity work that have been sparked by the Affordable Care Act, the topline is “critical evidence gap”. From that screening I mentioned to our community health needs assessments, our members are doing a lot of work without knowing it’s effective. And from a health justice angle, that question expands to “effective for whom”? The things health care orgs might care about aren’t necessarily the same things communities and patients care about. It’s why co-development is so essential.
CFAS: How does the work of the Center for Health Justice align with the interests of faculty?
Dr. Alberti: A health justice process that prioritizes community perspective and intentionally builds the evidence base for what works to narrow or eliminate unjust health gaps applies across AHC mission areas. If you’re an educator invested in service learning, how are you cocreating and evaluating that work with community partners? If you’re a clinician, how are you ensuring your patients’ community and social contexts are directly informing how you practice and the care plans you develop? If you’re an administrator working on your required community health needs assessment, are you farming that work out to a vendor or are you authentically partnering with your community to identify and effectively address their needs?
CFAS: Do you have any thoughts on how academic societies in particular can effectively champion health equity?
Dr. Alberti: Academic societies can become powerful partners in advancing health equity by becoming comfortable advocating for health – not just health care. We need to coordinate advocacy efforts around issues such as tax policy, infrastructure policy, and housing policy, etc. This is the kind of grassroots to grass-tops change we need. Health equity is about implementing policy in ways that create real opportunity for health. Academic societies can make a lot of impact if they get together and advocate for the most locally relevant health policies.
2024 CFAS Spring Meeting Update
Registration will soon open for the 2024 Joint CFAS – GFA – ORR Spring Meeting in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of across the Potomac from downtown Washington.
Join your colleagues April 2 – 4, 2024, for a program that has something for everyone, featuring collaboration between CFAS, the AAMC’s Group on Resident Affairs, and the Organization of Resident Representatives.
Whether you are a new or seasoned faculty member, educator, or a basic scientist or researcher, you are sure to find value in this joint meeting. We are especially excited to have CFAS reps sharing the podium with DIOs and graduate medical education deans and staff, along with residents and trainees, to explore issues with an impact on the education and training environment. Also featured on the program will be AAMC President & CEO David J. Skorton, MD, along with other AAMC staff leaders and Board of Directors members.
This year’s program includes plenary sessions ranging from an examination of AI’s impact on medical education, to the residency application environment, to measures being taken to increase safety in the academic medicine environment, to the challenges faced by women of color in academic medicine. The meeting additionally will feature a full agenda of concurrent breakout sessions, along with poster presentations, Ignite-style sessions, town hall conversations, legislative updates, and networking opportunities from beginning to end. And of course, all CFAS committees will convene in person in the morning of the first day.
We were delighted by the strong response from CFAS reps during the open call for breakout session – and there will be upcoming calls for our patented Ignite-style sessions and also for posters early in 2024. Much more information will be coming your way soon, but for now, please reserve the time and be sure to attend our 2024 joint CFAS – GRA – ORR Spring Meeting in Arlington, April 2-4.
CFAS Connects December Session
All CFAS reps and society execs should already have a calendar appointment for the next installment of CFAS Connects on Dec. 21 at 3 p.m. ET: Leveraging AAMC Data to Advance Faculty Interests.
This session will feature AAMC data experts and CFAS leaders for a deep-dive into AAMC’s faculty-oriented data, along with real-world examples of how it can be leveraged to advance the interest of academic medical center researchers, educators, and clinicians.
Two AAMC staff members – Valerie Dandar and Stefanie Wisniewski – will describe the data collection used for Standpoint Survey and the Faculty Salary Survey, and how it has a direct impact on faculty, in addition to how CFAS reps can make tailored data requests.
CFAS representatives and Administrative Board members including Adam Franks and Stewart Babbott will then share how they have used this data to advance work around issues such as promotion and tenure, faculty satisfaction, the role of department chairs, and governance models.
As always, the session will feature ample open discussion for questions, comments, and resource sharing. Come with questions and ideas for future projects.
AAMC Fee Assistance Program Expanding with 60% ERAS® Application Discount
On Nov. 5, AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, announced that the AAMC will extend its Fee Assistance Program to residency applicants using the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) in 2024. The program will expand to include residency applicants who were previously approved for Fee Assistance Program benefits during their medical school application process. These qualifying applicants will automatically receive a 60 percent fee discount on up to 50 ERAS applications, significantly alleviating the financial burden associated with the application process. Read the full statement from Dr. Skorton.
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 email@example.com, 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.