In this edition:
- Message from the Chair
- Learn Serve Lead 2023: The AAMC Annual Meeting Around the Corner
- Thoughts from Outgoing AAMC Chief Scientific Officer Ross McKinney Jr., MD
- Update on 2024 CFAS, GRA, and ORR Joint Meeting
- CFAS Society Profile: The American Medical Women’s Association
- AAMC Awards: Honoring Gabriela Popescu, PhD, Neil Osheroff, PhD, Lisa Bellini, MD, MACP, Denise Jamieson, MD, MPH
Message from the Chair
Dear CFAS Colleagues and Friends,
In just a few days, CFAS representatives will join the greater AAMC community at Learn Serve Lead, the 2023 AAMC Annual Meeting in Seattle, Nov. 3 - 7. Last month I wrote about the value of this meeting and some of the key elements, such as the vote of the AAMC Assembly on transforming our sibling AAMC Council, COTH to CAHSE, and I offered some suggestions for recommended programming for the CFAS community at the LSL meeting. This month, I want to write about something more personal: my distinct privilege the past two years to serve as Chair of CFAS.
I came into the role of CFAS chair after a long history with the AAMC and the Council of Academic Societies, or CAS, the predecessor to CFAS. More than a decade ago, several of us felt that CAS was not an adequate mechanism to represent the faculty voice. I was part of an amazing team that created the vision for CFAS, and welcomed the opportunity to serve on that first CFAS Administrative Board with many of the people who led us in our earliest days – Kathleen Nelson, Rosemarie Fisher, Vin Pellegrini, Scott Gitlin, and Gabriela Popescu. I only served for one term, because I felt it was important to get new people involved. Therefore, I was truly honored to be asked to return to the Administrative Board as chair-elect, and then as chair. Following in the footsteps of those amazing leaders inspired me to work hard at representing the voice of faculty, not just to the greater AAMC community, but to academic medicine generally, on national and international levels.
One of the true engineering marvels of CFAS, established by those early leaders, is our self-direction within the greater world of the AAMC. No one at the AAMC leadership level is telling the CFAS Administrative Board or its officers where to focus our resources and what precisely to do. Instead, we, as a leadership body, and me, directly, in my role of chair, listen to YOU, the CFAS reps, for guidance. You provide the topics that we should explore. You describe the challenges that faculty face on a daily basis. You outline the trajectory of the career arc of a faculty member and how it can be better directed and formed to increase our satisfaction and our effectiveness and in the world of academic medicine. You tell us where we are succeeding and where we need to redouble our efforts. I personally have taken cues from many of you, from our wise Ad Board members, and from my very close colleagues, Chair-elect, Nita Ahuja, and our Senior Director Eric Weissman.
Former AAMC President and CEO Darrell Kirch, who led the AAMC when CFAS was created, taught us about the “wisdom of teams” – the notion that no one individual should be the sole source of leadership or change; but instead, a team of similarly motivated, thoughtful people from an aligned community can multiply effectiveness and improve outcomes.
In my experience, CFAS exemplifies the wisdom of teams. Whether it is through our committee activities, the freewheeling dialogue of our traditional Knowledge Sharing sessions at in-person meetings, in our ample programming at the AAMC’s Learn Serve Lead meeting, in our more intimate programming at the CFAS Spring Meeting, or in our highly successful monthly CFAS Connects sessions, CFAS looks to each of you, who make up the voice of our big team, for the wisdom, direction, and focus we need to be effective in improving the life of academic medicine faculty.
When I joined on the virtual AAMC Awards Ceremony, just a few days ago, and learned about the amazing accomplishments of some of the best thinkers in our academic medicine community, I can’t tell you how much pride I felt to see that so many are or have been CFAS representatives. Our own Neil Osheroff, an active member of the CFAS Administrative Board and the chair of our Biomedical Research and Training Committee, and Lisa Bellini, a former CFAS rep and task force chair, were at the top of the ceremony as Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awardees. And former rep Denise Jamieson, now dean at University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation David E. Rogers Award. Celebrating the achievements of our colleagues is a joy, and there is much to honor with the work that all of you do in your faculty roles every day to advance medical care, education, and research.
At the CFAS Business meeting in Seattle, I’ll share some specifics of what we accomplished together over the past two years and where we might go next. I am ready to hand the baton of leadership to my extraordinary colleague, Nita Ahuja, who will serve as CFAS chair for the next two years, and to welcome our chair-elect, Art Derse, to step into his new role. But before then, I want to savor what a tremendous bright spot – in a world that has lacked bright spots in recent weeks – it has been to work with you, to know you, and to advance the cause of faculty with all of you.
Yours in good health and wellness,
Aviad “Adi” Haramati, PhD
Representing the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health
Learn Serve Lead 2023: The AAMC Annual Meeting (LSL) Around the Corner
The academic medicine community will come together in Seattle for the AAMC’s signature professional development conference in just a few days. Registration for LSL has far exceeded 4,000 people and promises to be another highlight of the year for faculty members and academic medicine professionals of all ranks and backgrounds. A list of recommended sessions for CFAS reps has been posted on our webpage and CFAS reps are also encouraged to browse the full program online.
A few important notes: CFAS reps are invited to all plenary programs and breakout sessions on the main program – not just the ones on the recommended sessions list. Additionally, CFAS committees are open to all reps who are interested in attending based on topic and interest. Please be sure to join the Nov. 3 Joint Meeting between CFAS, COD, COTH, and the Alliance. There will be an important vote there that CFAS society reps can participate in. More information is available in last month’s CFAS Rep Bulletin. Be sure to attend the various CFAS receptions, networking breakfasts, and Knowledge Sharing to meet colleagues, engage in conversation, and share your perspectives above all else.
Additionally, CFAS Connects returned on Oct. 18 for an overview of LSL. The session provided a preview of CFAS committee activity, the joint meeting between CFAS, COD, and COTH (including an important upcoming name change and new direction for COTH), the CFAS Business Meeting, and a variety of main-program breakouts with a CFAS focus. A recording of the session and summary notes will be posted on the CFAS Resources page this week.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Thoughts from Outgoing AAMC Chief Scientific Officer Ross McKinney Jr., MD
After a distinguished career in academic medicine, including serving as vice dean for research at Duke University School of Medicine and being the first author of the key Phase 1 and 2 studies on zidovudine (AZT) use in children, Ross McKinney Jr., MD, is retiring from his position as the AAMC’s Chief Scientific Officer, which he has held since 2016. Dr. McKinney’s retirement is effective on Nov. 2, just before Learn Serve Lead 2023: The AAMC Annual Meeting.
Dr. McKinney was indispensable to the AAMC throughout the pandemic, serving as a trusted guide and an ambassador for the scientific process through a time of unprecedented uncertainty and challenge for academic medicine and for the scientific community as a whole. Dr. McKinney has also been an indispensable ally to CFAS throughout his tenure at the AAMC, having himself served as a faculty member for 30 years at Duke University, which gave him a notable connection to CFAS. Dr. McKinney consistently advocated for the concerns of faculty members and academic specialty societies at the highest levels of the AAMC. Dr. McKinney recently carved out time to reflect on his tenure at the AAMC, defending the scientific enterprise in the post-pandemic era, the potential of CFAS, and elaborating on his plans in retirement.
CFAS: When you first started as the AAMC’s Chief Scientific Officer, what did you believe would be the big issues facing the biomedical research enterprise?
Dr. McKinney: I thought our goal would be to increase the potential for academic medical centers to leverage EHRs for research. But the resistance to this was more significant than I anticipated. In the United Kingdom, they had a research program called RECOVERY that allowed them to more easily conduct research using electronic records because the UK already has large populations enrolled in electronic health records. Our EHR systems were designed with billing in mind, not research, so it’s very challenging to use them for those purposes.
Another priority of mine was to defend basic science research. Basic science research makes unique discoveries that translational research can then build on. One classic example is the organisms that were found in geysers in Yellowstone. Bacteria were growing in super-heated geysers and scientists were able to use reverse transcription one these bacteria to discover genetic sequencing. Another more recent example is the mRNA vaccines – these were made possible through earlier work that examined how RNA creates messages. That was a basic science discovery that obviously turned out to have really important translational implications. But we often don’t see this kind of potential until decades after a basic science discovery.
One victory we’ve seen is the protection of basic science through the gradual increases in the National Institutes of Health’s budget above levels of inflation.
CFAS: How should we think about defending the scientific enterprise in the post-pandemic era when there are significant struggles in keeping the public’s trust due to misinformation, disinformation, and communication challenges?
Science skeptics will use contentious issues in the scientific community, such as the Wuhan lab debate, to argue for reducing funding for science. There are a lot of challenges stemming from both misinformation and disinformation, where people knowingly use false information to make money or get attention. Misinformation takes more of the form of quackery and it’s hard to combat because people look for answers and get dissatisfied when they can’t easily get the answers they need. This is why it’s important that we listen to and address people’s concerns. For example, some people are skeptical of the vaccines because they believe pharmaceutical companies are just wanting to make money. It’s important to listen to these concerns.
It’s also important to communicate through trusted messengers, such as primary care doctors. A physician’s one-on-one conversations with patients are much more influential than mass marketing. We also need to use the power of narrative. For example, when a child with measles becomes badly brain damaged because his parents won’t get him vaccinated, we need to highlight this so that people are aware of the real dangers of anti-vaccine sentiment to their loved ones. The narrative of these bad outcomes is powerful.
CFAS: What do you see as the biggest areas of opportunity for CFAS in the future?
Dr. McKinney: CFAS has tremendous opportunity and I believe it’s already on the right path to realizing that opportunity. The goal for CFAS should be that faculty members across the country realize that CFAS represents them and their concerns. CFAS is in a unique position to speak to institutional concerns as well, since it represents the brain trust of the faculty. For example, faculty care about promotion and tenure issues and can provide institutions with good insight into those issues. Faculty can also raise awareness of the diminishing voice they have in the governance of the health systems that employ them due to the power dynamic that is shifting away from the academic mission. Right now, faculty feel like they are just the crank being turned, but how can they have more of a voice in the things that matter?
The AAMC needs CFAS so that it can be credible in advancing public health and it helps that the CFAS chair and chair-elect are on the AAMC’s Board of Directors, bringing the faculty voice to the larger AAMC. CFAS has a large and broad audience and some potent communication tools, such as CFAS News. We need to make sure CFAS continues to speak for and to faculty and we need to hear what an institution’s faculty cares about. CFAS has created a vibrant community, but it should be careful not to become content with that, because CFAS needs to be a big tent and speak to the larger concerns of faculty and academic societies across the country.
CFAS: What are you looking forward to in your retirement?
Dr. McKinney: The thing I’m most looking forward to in retirement is not having to sit in front of my computer all day long. I was able to take a vacation in France recently and I’m looking forward to doing more travel like that. I’m also excited to be able to lead more bird walks with our local bird walking society and just having more free time in general. I’ll also be able to spend more time working on my fountain pens and practicing guitar, which I’ve played since I was 13. I also have stacks of books I need to get through.
CFAS Society Profile: The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
CFAS spoke with Kim Templeton, MD, a professor of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine at KUMC, and the CFAS rep for AMWA to find out more about the academic society that has been working to advance women in medicine for more than a century. Dr. Templeton will also be moderating a breakout session featuring CFAS reps at LSL on Monday, Nov. 6, 1:15 – 2:30 p.m., “Challenges and Rewards in Addressing Transgender Issues in Academic Medicine.”
CFAS: Tell us a bit about AMWA and its benefits for members?
Dr. Templeton: Being involved in a group like AMWA allows women in academic medicine to more readily effect change and to further their career goals because of the ability to engage with people with multiple perspectives and committed allies. AMWA is one of the only organizations where women can connect with women leaders across specialties and at every level of medicine, from premed to retirement. AMWA provides women with a place to discuss diverse perspectives to get new ideas, provides opportunities to collaborate with women leaders, and helps them find research partners or connections necessary for their work and careers. AMWA is focused on 2 main areas: women’s health and the careers of women in medicine. The focus on women’s health has evolved over time from one in which we addressed conditions that affect women exclusively to a broader effort that looks at how sex and gender impact health conditions, especially those conditions that disproportionately or differently affect women.
CFAS: What are the opportunities for AMWA and CFAS to pursue issues of mutual interest? Are there areas for potential collaboration?
Dr. Templeton: There are many areas of potential collaboration. AMWA is very grateful to CFAS and the AAMC for its partnership and all the work being done to advance women in academic medicine. There is opportunity to continue exploring ideas for supporting women in academia, assuring that their career and leadership goals are met, and that their wellbeing is prioritized. In addition, there is a lot of opportunity for collaboration with CFAS and the AAMC on incorporating an understanding of sex and gender differences into the medical education curricula. A past CFAS Connects webinar explored some of the issues that are important to AMWA, and in-person CFAS meeting sessions have also extensively covered how to advance women’s health and their careers in academic medicine.
CFAS: From your perspective, what are some recent areas of progress for women in medicine and where does progress still need to be made?
Dr. Templeton: There is a greater understanding of the unique challenges that women physicians face around well-being and burnout, which were especially highlighted by the pandemic. Although progress has been made, there is still much work to be done around the issue of well-being. Some of the focus is still on individual interventions. While part of the answer, these are insufficient on their own because well-being challenges are system-level problems. A major contributor to burnout for women is that they already have too much to do, so asking them to do additional activities to help their burnout at best may not help or have little impact.
One hopeful sign of progress for women in medicine is that at least half of medical students are women, so at least the pipeline is there. However, many specialties, such in the surgical fields, still have low percentages of women. More women are coming into medicine, but not every specialty seems to be able to attract women into training in that field. There are also still barriers to promotion and leadership for women that are problematic. For example, there are increasing numbers of women with decanal titles, but these are a small percentage, and we still have a long way to go. Lastly, when looking at careers in medicine, perhaps “pipeline” is the wrong mental image. Some leave the workforce for a variety of reasons for variable periods of time, and we need to find ways to facilitate their re-entry into medical and research careers.
Finally, there is still much work to be done on ensuring that sex and gender-based differences are accounted for in research and medical education. Much of published research does not disaggregate data or report results data based on sex or gender of the study participants. Not accounting for these differences can have primary impacts on patient care, by making it challenging to translate study results to individual patients, and secondary impacts on care by limiting the information that can be used to inform health care curricula, clinical practice guidelines, and health policy. Sometimes the number of people enrolled in a study is too small to disaggregate data based on sex or gender and doing so could lead to spurious results. However, unless researchers consider and look for differences based on sex and gender, they won’t find them.
If the study population doesn’t lend itself to sex or gender analyses, researchers could explicitly state why they couldn’t examine sex-based differences. Perhaps future, larger studies would be sufficiently powered for this type of analysis. AMWA has been working to raise awareness of the importance of these considerations through various healthcare professional education and curriculum summits. I and other members of AMWA, along with leaders from the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, were co-authors of a recently published a paper in Academic Medicine on the history of sex and gender in medical education.
AAMC Awards: Honoring Gabriela Popescu, PhD, Neil Osheroff, PhD, Lisa Bellini, MD, and Denise Jamieson, MPH
CFAS leaders past and present received prominent awards as part of the AAMC’s Learn Serve Lead Annual Meeting this year.
Gabriela Popescu, PhD, received the Distinguished Service Membership Award from the AAMC. A member of the CFAS Administrative Board since CFAS was established, Dr. Popescu became CFAS Chair and joined the AAMC Board of Directors in 2019. Her active engagement, her consistent and regular consequential contributions as a faculty and basic science leader at the University of Buffalo, and her overall service to the AAMC all contributed to her recognition for this award. Dr. Popescu was notable for her leadership as a woman basic scientist on the ground working as a medical educator to undergraduate and graduate medical students and trainees, and as the leader of an expanding NIH-funded laboratory.
In addition to that perspective, she brought to CFAS her skills as a communicator and a methodical thinker, making a lasting impact on the outreach the council does for its representatives by re-imagining our CFAS Rep Bulletin monthly newsletter and initiating process improvements to the CFAS administrative board and the work of the CFAS Nominating Committee. She additionally led a successful effort to recruit candidates for the first dedicated junior faculty seat on the AAMC Board of Directors.
Dr. Popescu provides a uniquely strong voice for women in basic science and is a stalwart supporter of the AAMC and CFAS, coining a phrase popular among junior and senior reps alike, “Once in CFAS – always in CFAS,” lending a sense of long-term commitment and dedication to the organization.
Her institution, the Jacobs School of Medicine at the University of Buffalo, also recognized this achievement.
Neil Osheroff, PhD, received one of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awards. The award represents national recognition of faculty members who have distinguished themselves in medical student education. Dr. Osheroff is a member of the CFAS Administrative Board and Chair of the CFAS Biomedical Research and Training Committee. He serves as a professor of biochemistry and medicine and the John G. Coniglio Chair in Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Lisa Bellini, MD, MACP, received also received one of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awards. Dr. Bellini is a former CFAS Administrative Board Member, a former CFAS representative for the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine, and was a critical member of the AAMC working group that studied the definition of faculty. She is senior vice dean for academic affairs and a professor of medicine at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Denise Jamieson, MD, MPH, received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation David E. Rogers Award, which recognizes a medical school faculty member who has made major contributions to improving public health and health care. Dr. Jamieson is a former CFAS representative for the Emory University School of Medicine and currently serves as vice president for medical affairs and dean of the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.
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.