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In this edition:

  • Message from the Chair

  • CFAS Faculty Resilience Committee Produces Report on Well-Being

  • December CFAS Connects Materials Online

  • Learn Serve Lead 2021: The Virtual Experience Summary Materials Online

  • CFAS Committee Profile: Communication Committee

  • CFAS Society Profile: AcademyHealth

  • Save the Date: 2022 CFAS Spring Meeting

Message from the Chair

Dear CFAS Colleagues and Friends,

I am honored to write my first message to you as CFAS chair. For the past two years, we had the pleasure of reading and learning from Gabriela Popescu, PhD, who, as CFAS chair, used this communication platform effectively to keep you, our CFAS representatives, engaged and informed about the work of the council. My intent is to continue her practice of regular outreach in this forum. I hope you find the CFAS Rep Bulletin, and my messages, worthwhile reading.

In last month’s Bulletin, Gabriela thanked the outgoing members of the CFAS Administrative Board who concluded their terms. We owe them all a debt of gratitude, and, in particular, I want to thank Scott Gitlin, MD, who has completed his term as CFAS immediate past chair and rotated off the CFAS Administrative Board, after serving effectively and passionately for many years.

Our new CFAS Administrative Board has begun its work in earnest and held its first meeting earlier in December. For those who do not know, the Ad Board meets regularly, most often on the second Tuesday of each month. My sincere thanks go to Nita Ahuja, MD, who has actively embraced her role as chair-elect (which brings with it the added responsibility of Program Committee chair), and the new members of the Ad Board: Monica Baskin, PhD, Nick Delamere, PhD, Lee Eisner, PhD, Neil Osheroff, PhD, and Deanna Sasaki-Adams, MD. Working together with the returning members of Ad Board, I can state with great pride that we have a high-functioning and effective group focused on leading CFAS.

Turning to my own aspirations for CFAS, I want to share two key goals. The first is that we must continue to provide an effective voice for faculty in academic medicine. This means that we, as representatives of the faculty, must engage with our colleagues in our schools of medicine and in our academic societies, understand the views and perspectives they have on key issues affecting their work and their lives, and share those at our CFAS events and programs. The credibility of CFAS in providing the faculty voice to AAMC and institutional leaders depends on our being informed and aware. It is also an opportune time to invite schools and societies that have not yet named representatives to CFAS to do so, thereby ensuring that their voices are heard.

A second goal I wish to share at this time is the importance of publishing the work of our committees as papers and reports that can help provide information and direction to address faculty-relevant issues in academic medicine. One shining example of this is last month’s publication by AAMC of a report by Cathy Pipas, MD, Jon Courand, MD, and others from the CFAS Resilience Committee, entitled, The Rise of Wellness Initiatives in Health Care: Using National Survey Data to Support Effective Well-Being Champions and Wellness Programs. If you have not seen the report, it is available for free – and you most assuredly can share it with your colleagues at your schools or within your societies (https://store.aamc.org/the-rise-of-wellness-initiatives-in-health-care-using-national-survey-data-to-support-effective-well-being-champions-and-wellness-programs.html). The report was a collaborative effort between the team of authors and AAMC staff especially Anne Berry, Valarie Dandar, and Eric Weissman. Thank you to all for this extraordinary publication.

In future CFAS Rep Bulletins, I hope to share additional goals and aspirations I have for CFAS in the next two years. However, I want to close with a note of gratitude to the team that supports CFAS at AAMC: Stephen Barry, Anne Berry, Alex Bolt, and, of course, Eric Weissman. Your work on behalf of CFAS is vital and deeply appreciated.  

To all the CFAS representatives and friends, I look forward to a wonderful and engaging new year ahead and wish all of you a joyous Holiday season.

Yours in good health and wellness,

Aviad “Adi” Haramati, PhD

CFAS Chair
Representing the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health

CFAS Faculty Resilience Committee Produces AAMC Report on Well-Being

As mentioned above, members of the CFAS Faculty Resilience Committee, chaired by Cathy Pipas, MD, have published The Rise of Wellness Initiatives in Health Care: Using National Survey Data to Support Effective Well-Being Champions and Wellness Programs, which presents data from two recent surveys that highlight common elements of wellness programming and describe the roles of the well-being champions who lead and support wellness efforts. The report also presents 10 recommendations for how medical schools and teaching hospitals can promote a culture of well-being and develop as well as support wellness leaders and initiatives.

The research surveyed wellness champions at academic medical centers across the country and found that, while the numbers of wellness programs and chief wellness officers are on the rise, there is a lack of standardization in the titles, roles, and support given to these wellness champions. More specifically, many well-being champions have no formal training and no full-time-equivalent allocation for their wellness role.

We commend Dr. Pipas and her colleagues for this achievement and look forward to seeing other CFAS committees undertake similar efforts as CFAS becomes a mature AAMC council.

December CFAS Connects Materials Online

On Thursday, Dec. 16, CFAS Connects returned for the final session of 2021, with a presentation on the research conducted by CFAS Faculty Committee Chair Cathy Pipas and members of the committee. The survey results and the publication can be accessed at https://store.aamc.org/the-rise-of-wellness-initiatives-in-health-care-using-national-survey-data-to-support-effective-well-being-champions-and-wellness-programs.html. Feel free to share the free publication with your colleagues within your academic health center or your society.   

Summary materials and a recording of the full CFAS Connects session will be available on the CFAS Resources webpage in the coming days.

Learn Serve Lead 2021: The Virtual Experience Summary Materials Online

Summary materials, including PDF and PowerPoint presentations of plenaries and other highlights from this year’s AAMC annual meeting, will be available on the CFAS Resources webpage in the coming days. We want to thank CFAS reps for once again making great contributions to the meeting’s programming, including by organizing two concurrent sessions: “Science Matters: Defending Public Health Facts in an Age of Empirically False News” and “We Can’t Afford to Burn Out: Addressing Wellness and Supporting the Role of Well-being Champions.”

As always, the purpose of these summaries is to provide CFAS reps with a tool they can use to present valuable information to their faculty peers and colleagues as well as their society colleagues. CFAS is founded on the concept of bidirectional communication, and we give you these materials to help make it easier to share information. Upon downloading the materials from the CFAS website, you should feel free to edit, reorganize, or otherwise modify them to suit your needs. If you have any questions, please reach out to Eric Weissman.

CFAS Committee Profile: Communication Committee

Chair, Alan Dow, MD, Professor, Seymour and Ruth Perlin Professor of Medicine and Health Administration, and Assistant Vice President of Health Sciences for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

What is the charge of the CFAS Communication Committee?

The CFAS Communication Committee develops mechanisms to allow CFAS and AAMC leadership and staff to communicate effectively with CFAS representatives; to allow CFAS representatives to communicate effectively with their CFAS colleagues; and to explore, test, and implement innovative methods to engage medical school and teaching hospital faculty in bi-directional conversations and learning on critical issues affecting academic medicine. We seek to increase communication between and among all CFAS constituencies including medical schools, academic societies, the AAMC, and, of course, CFAS representatives.

What are some current projects or initiatives underway?

We have regular meetings to develop new initiatives and projects. Our biggest focus during the pandemic has been hosting CFAS Connects sessions and tweet chats to try to keep interaction going as we have had to live in a virtual environment. Historically, tweet chats that have been especially impactful were the ones we hosted at our in-person meetings, but it’s helpful to continue doing these activities during the pandemic to keep people connected and talking. One of our most successful tweet chats during the pandemic was one we hosted on the topic of the racial health disparities highlighted by COVID-19.

What are the committee’s most important achievements so far?

I think our biggest contribution is how we have brought in external voices to CFAS activities. For example, working with the AAMC’s Group on Faculty Affairs or some schools’ DEI offices to collaborate around activities, such as the tweet chat we hosted with the GFA leading up to our joint meeting with them, which helped raise awareness of the meeting and the issues the meeting would address. In previous years, the committee also took an active role in suggesting changes and updates to the CFAS webpages on the AAMC’s website.

What does the committee need from CFAS or the larger AAMC to achieve its future objectives?

Engagement! We’re here to help other committees and our reps spread their voices. We love to collaborate with and bolster anyone else’s work.

What issues does the committee examine?

Our primary focus is how to best communicate and build relationships across our diverse constituencies that fundamentally share the same purpose: improving human health. The committee also provides input to the CFAS Administrative Board on how CFAS can most effectively communicate between its various committees, the Ad Board, the AAMC, and faculty across the country. The committee’s meetings also provide participants with the opportunity to discuss many of the important issues affecting faculty at a high level, such as promotion and tenure concerns, clinical productivity, the role of basic science in academic medical centers, well-being, and medical education pedagogy.

How does the committee communicate with faculty on these issues?

All of our committee meetings are open so that’s the best venue to engage and share your ideas. We invite all CFAS reps to our meetings to engage the broadest cross-section of our membership as possible to inform our efforts. We also have periodic tweet chats, CFAS Connects sessions, and other events.

How can CFAS reps join the committee and what can they expect?

Participation in the committee has given many reps the opportunity to meet and interact with CFAS leadership and also to engage in strategic communication initiatives that improve the work of various committees and lead to more connection and collaboration within CFAS as a whole. Just come to our meetings. We’re a friendly group and expect an hour of wide-ranging, thoughtful discussion.

CFAS Society Profile: AcademyHealth

AcademyHealth is a multi-disciplinary organization with about 3,000 members and partners who are committed to producing an evidence base for health and health care. AcademyHealth advocates for improvements to how science is done in terms of how it’s reviewed, who gets funding, and what the priorities should be. “Our policy platform is driven by our mission, which is to improve health and health care for all by advancing evidence into practice and policy,” said president and chief executive officer of Academy Health Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP.

AcademyHealth focuses on three primary areas of advocacy: science innovation; health systems improvement and capacity; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Recently, AcademyHealth has been active on promoting the diversity, equity, and inclusion within biomedical research and has submitted comments to Congress, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the NIH on issues of equity, diversity, and social determinants of health. Also, AcademyHealth’s “Day of Impact and Action” is an initiative that was designed by volunteer leaders to help people in academic research organizations understand and address the impact of racism on their faculty and staff. The program provides specific tools to help the group take action on their enhanced understanding and deepened commitment to addressing racism in all its manifestations (internalized, interpersonal, structural, and systemic) and creating a more equitable and inclusive environment. AcademyHealth is collaborating with AAMC and other organizations to scale and spread this innovation.

AcademyHealth supports robust funding levels for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the VA, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). AcademyHealth is the home of the “Friends of AHRQ,” a voluntary coalition of organizations, including AAMC, who advocate for AHRQ’s appropriations and programs, and the organization’s representatives participate actively in the steering committees for the Friends of NCHS and the Friends of VA. AcademyHealth is also actively advocating for the inclusion of more health services research and evaluation in the proposed Agency for Advanced Research Projects – Health (ARPA-H), to include a robust focus on delivery science and improving equity. Dr. Simpson co-authored a recent blog post on this topic in Health Affairs, which was an open letter to Congress on the proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency – Health (ARPA-H).

AcademyHealth’s portfolio of work includes programs that run the whole life cycle of research, as well as those that help develop the workforce. For example, AcademyHealth is working with the VA as a coordinating center for their learning health systems research fellowship and also runs a Delivery Systems Science Fellowship. AcademyHealth also hosts other research training initiatives for members and focuses on patient engagement and patient partnership in research with support from PCORI. “We do a lot of work in partnership with patient organizations to improve how research is done and to make sure it’s inclusive. The final step of advancing research is dissemination and implementation and we support that by training researchers how to communicate the impact of their work with stakeholders and policymakers. We also actively bring research findings to policymakers for more targeted dissemination and implementation,” said Dr. Simpson.

Membership in AcademyHealth includes both individuals and organizations and members also include faculty, staff, students, and researchers who participate in private research organizations or health care systems. Government officials in the federal government and state governments are also members. “Part of our strength is that we bring together all the voices and perspectives that are needed to understand the complex issues of health care delivery and policy,” said Dr. Simpson.

There are four main categories of benefits for members: benefits that come from being part of the unique community that AcademyHealth brings together, being exposed to thought leadership and career advancement opportunities, gaining greater visibility, and receiving financial discounts such as registration discounts at conferences and reduced subscription costs. Individual members are eligible to be nominated for awards and for participating in voluntary activities that advance their careers such as leading abstract review panels.

There are 18 interest groups in AcademyHealth around various topics (e.g. quality and value or health disparities) and getting involved with one of these groups can be beneficial for one’s career advancement, said Dr. Simpson. It’s also beneficial for someone’s career advancement to present their work at one of AcademyHealth’s major meetings, such as the Annual Research Meeting, the National Health Policy Conference, or the Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health. Members also have the opportunity to write for the AcademyHealth Blog, and their blog post is widely promoted to drive visibility and engagement. AcademyHealth also provides quarterly policy briefings to organizational members to keep them abreast of relevant policy developments in the nation’s capital.

Save the Date: 2022 CFAS Spring Meeting

The 2022 CFAS Spring Meeting will be held virtually from April 11 – 13, 2022, from approximately noon – 4 p.m. (ET) each day. More details will be coming early in 2022 as the CFAS Program Committee pulls together sessions and speakers. The meeting will be highly interactive and will offer many opportunities for reps to engage with one another, society leaders, and medical school deans. It is the Program Committee’s goal to ensure we have a virtual spring meeting that is engaging, innovative, and worth your time in an age when we understand that Zoom fatigue is a very real thing. Please stay tuned for more information and registration details in early 2022.

Tell Us How You’re Doing During the Pandemic

During the pandemic, we ask you to 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 eweissman@aamc.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.

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