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    CFAS Rep Bulletin February 2021

    In this edition:

    Message from the Chair

    Dear Colleagues,

    With COVID-19 positivity rates declining and vaccination numbers rising, we can begin to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel of uncertainty, isolation, and anxiety. Whether you have been vaccinated already or are scheduled to receive the vaccine, you can begin to plan for a post-pandemic era. If anything is certain, our daily lives, including our professional lives, will have been transformed by the experience.

    For the spring semester just starting, and also going forward into summer and fall, medical educators will continue to offer hybrid in-person and online classes; clinicians can begin to plan for more elective procedures, with perhaps more telemedicine than ever; and scientists can look forward to schedules determined by experiments rather than by personnel shifts. The CFAS community can help all of us to consider more creatively how to return to optimal levels of activity and interaction, and what that new optimum will be.

    Over the past two weeks, I have convened a meeting of all CFAS Committee Chairs, and a meeting of the CFAS Administrative Board. At these two meetings, which also engaged AAMC staff and leaders, we discussed priorities for the coming months and optimal ways to engage with you, and to provide you with means of collaboration and knowledge sharing. I invite you to take advantage of the following three upcoming engagement opportunities with CFAS and AAMC.

    Our next CFAS Connects, organized by the CFAS Programming committee chaired by Adi Haramati, PhD, will feature a conversation with CFAS Communication Committee Chair Alan Dow, MD, a CFAS school rep from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine on Feb. 25, 3-4 p.m. (you all should have received an Outlook appointment with a link to join). Then, a month later on March 25, AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, will engage with the CFAS community through CFAS Connects and will take  your questions and suggestions on how the AAMC can assist faculty in our academic, clinical, and research missions. Much more information about this special event and a calendar appointment will be coming your way soon.

    In April, we will be hosting a virtual CFAS-GFA (Group on Faculty Affairs) joint spring meeting that will focus on the state of faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic, how it will transform academic health centers in the future, and how the AAMC will respond. More information about the meeting appears in this edition of the CFAS Rep Bulletin.  

    Lastly, I encourage all of you to participate in CFAS committees. Remember that most committees are open to all CFAS reps. Your participation is encouraged! All committee meetings are promoted on the CFAS listserv and include calendar appointments for anyone who wishes to participate.

    I look forward to engaging with you and as always, I welcome your feedback and reactions on CFAS events and activities, including this bulletin. Make this your council by sharing your ideas and your ideas for making CFAS more effective. Importantly, please nominate yourself or a deserving colleague for the open positions on the Ad Board and for CFAS Chair-elect. Nominations are open until Friday, April 23, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Submit a nomination at this page: https://www.aamc.org/professional-development/affinity-groups/cfas/administrative-board-nominations

    I greatly appreciate your direct feedback and look forward to hearing from you.

    Stay well,

    Gabriela K Popescu, PhD
    CFAS Chair, 2019 - 2021

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    Report from the CFAS Ad Board

    The CFAS Ad Board met Tuesday, Feb. 9, to discuss the broad portfolio of initiatives underway throughout the council and its various committees. The ad board has been working with committee chairs to formalize committee rosters and committee work generally. The open committee structure will continue to be an important part of CFAS culture, but ad board members agreed that each committee should have a core roster of members who are accountable to committee work and advancement, and who can receive credit for their efforts on behalf of a national organization. Committee chairs will begin to roll out updated rosters and integrate these ideas into future committee meetings in the near future.

    As a reminder, with the exception of the CFAS Program Committee and the CFAS Nominating and Engagement Committee, all CFAS reps are invited to participate in committee activity that interests them. Committee meetings have been announced via our listserv and include a link for a virtual meeting. If you ever wish to have the link sent to you by an Outlook appointment, feel free to request that by sending email to eweissman@aamc.org.

    The Ad Board also heard an update from CFAS Immediate Past Chair Scott Gitlin, MD, who serves as chair of the Nominating and Engagement Committee. The most important news from the Nominating Committee is a recently announced extension of the deadline for new administrative board members and the next CFAS chair-elect. The committee is extending the deadline to April 23 – a week after our joint spring meeting with the Group on Faculty Affairs. The prior deadline had been Feb. 21.

    The committee made the scheduling change for a variety of reasons. First, with the new reality of virtual meetings and elections, CFAS is able to decouple the nominating process from in-person meetings. By extending the deadline to after the meeting, the committee hopes to increase interest among reps for these positions. Finally, the committee recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the ability of many of us to get things done. As a result, giving you more time to consider and pull together a nomination seems like the right and equitable thing to do.

    An important note: If you already have submitted a nominee or nominated yourself, we have it! No need to do anything more. But if you were considering a nomination, you will now have extra time.

    We also have put the nominating form and instructions on our website at https://www.aamc.org/professional-development/affinity-groups/cfas/resources.

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    CFAS Committee Activity

    CFAS committees have been staying busy over the winter months, holding virtual meetings, working on papers, and sponsoring CFAS Connects webinars. The CFAS Diversity and Inclusion Committee met on Friday, Jan. 22, and discussed challenging issues around diversity and inclusion in light of the dramatic events that unfolded during the presidential transition, including the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

    The CFAS Advocacy Committee met on Monday, Feb. 8 and had a conversation with special guest and frequent New York Times op-ed writer Theresa Brown, RN, who discussed how to write effective advocacy pieces on important and timely health care topics. The committee also heard from AAMC Senior Director of Advocacy and Engagement Erica Froyd on the most recent legislative and regulatory developments affecting academic medicine.

    Also, the Promotion and Tenure/Gender Parity Subcommittee of the CFAS Mission Alignment Committee continues to meet on an almost-weekly basis and has submitted a paper for publication, and a new group of chairs and faculty interested in the relationship between faculty and chairs got together on Feb. 17 to scope out future CFAS work related to academic medicine department chairs. CFAS, given the large number of reps who serve as chairs and chairs’ societies that are counted in our membership, is uniquely positioned to have an impact on the role and effectiveness of department chairs. Expect to hear more from this newly forming group in the future.

    If you are interested in joining the work of a CFAS committee, you can find a list of committees on this page and email the committee chairs directly.

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    Update on CFAS Connects Sessions

    Summary notes and a link to the recording of the most recent CFAS Connects session are available online at the CFAS Resources webpage. This most recent session was led by CFAS Ad Board member and new chair of the CFAS Faculty Resilience Committee Catherine Florio Pipas, MD, and focused on wellbeing in academic medicine. The session explored the work of the Faculty Resilience Committee and discussed findings from a survey led by Dr. Pipas, Jon Courand, MD, and Megan Furnari, MD, that examines the lack of standardization in job descriptions for wellness champions at academic health centers.

    On Jan. 26, the CFAS Administrative Board also had its regular quarterly conversation with AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, to discuss a range of issues that affect faculty in academic Medicine. Dr. Skorton will join the CFAS Connects session on Thursday, March 25 for an open town-hall style conversation with the CFAS community. But before that, the CFAS Communication Committee will host a CFAS Connects session on Thursday, Feb. 25, from 3-4 p.m. Communication Committee Chair Alan Dow, MD, and committee member Kimberly Lumpkins, MD, will focus on the work of the CFAS Communications Committee and a community dialogue on the challenges and silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic as experienced by medical school faculty and academic societies. Reps and society execs are encouraged to attend. You should have the appointment on your calendar already, but if you don’t and wish to have it, please send an email to eweissman@aamc.org.

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    CFAS Society Profile: American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

    The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) is the professional organization that unites and organizes on behalf of addiction psychiatrists worldwide. “More than 95% of our members are addiction psychiatrists but our grant activities are much broader with a focus on all health professionals including prescribers (MD/DO, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and allied health professionals), social workers, pharmacists, and other health professionals,” said Kathryn Cates-Wessel, the AAAP’s Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director. AAAP is an accredited continuing medical education (CME) provider and also an interdisciplinary accredited provider for continuing education (CE) for all health professionals.

    AAAP is a collaborative organization with a focus on mentorship of trainees and support of its membership and other interested providers. AAAP provides myriad opportunities to get involved at both regional and national levels through participation in various committees and activities. AAAP’s Annual Scientific Meeting, for example, brings together leaders in the fields of mental health and substance-related and addictive disorders and provides state-of-the-art updates and training in the science and practice of addiction psychiatry. Members of AAAP have a shared interest in caring for a highly stigmatized population, which unites and drives the membership in collaboration.
    On the policy front, AAAP advocates for workforce expansion, the expansion of education and training throughout medical school and residency programs, and continuing education for practicing providers on evidence-based practices for prevention and treatment for substance use disorders (SUD). AAAP also advocates for addressing mental disorders, which are often overlooked. AAAP is especially focused on highlighting the mounting tolls SUDs and mental health issues are taking on the population during the COVID-19 pandemic, which have been compounded by the pre-existing opioid crisis.

    “While the full extent of the pandemic's effects is likely to take years to fully emerge, there is ample evidence that the pandemic has worsened an already catastrophic substance use and suicide crisis and set the stage for a broader mental health crisis. Being prepared to meet the behavioral health needs of our communities in a post-COVID world will therefore require all clinicians to become more confident in the identification, diagnosis, evaluation, and management of mental health and substance-related and addictive disorders. In the process, all clinicians will be challenged with meeting and disarming the insidious effects of stigma in relation to individuals with substance-related and addictive disorders, as well as those with mental illness,” said Jeffrey Devido, MD, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and a new CFAS representative to AAAP.

    Dr. Devido highlighted the versatility of addiction psychiatrists in meeting the nation’s mental health and substance abuse challenges, noting their dual expertise in evaluation, treatment, and education about both mental health disorders and substance-related and addictive disorders (“co-occurring disorders”).

    There are many areas of overlapping concern and interest where CFAS and AAAP can collaborate. For example, AAAP spearheads several large, national initiatives that may be of interest to CFAS, including:

    • Provider Clinical Support System (PCSSnow.org) coordinates a large coalition of 23 national professional organizations predominantly in medicine with a repository of over 800 resources including webinar series. This initiative also warehouses clinical and other resources for providers, organizes mentorship opportunities, and orchestrates buprenorphine X-Waiver trainings all at no cost.
    • The Opioid Response Network (opioidresponsenetwork.org) is led by AAAP and works closely with the Addiction Technology Transfer Center at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and Columbia University in coordination with 40 partner organizations nationwide to provide a vast network of technical assistance in developing and providing evidence-based practices in addressing substance-related and addictive disorder treatment programs.
    • The Recognizing and Eliminating disparities in Addiction through Culturally informed Healthcare (REACH) initiative supports efforts to increase the numbers of racially and ethnically underrepresented minorities (URM) in the health care workforce who provide substance-related and addictive disorder treatment. The initiative also strives to increase the expertise of the existing addiction specialty workforce in working with URM patients with substance-related and addictive disorders (reachgrant.org).
    • The Expansion of Interprofessional Practitioner Education initiative is a collaboration with Yale University, the American College of Academic Addiction Medicine, and 34 health care schools nationwide. The “Prac Ed” grant supports piloting a foundational interprofessional course for all health professionals on the prevention, identification, and treatment of substance-related and addictive disorders. The goal is to integrate SUD training in all health professional training schools and to gain accreditation as a result of the course.

    All these initiatives are funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and represent only a sampling of AAAP’s efforts. They are available at no cost.

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    Plans Underway for Joint CFAS-GFA Spring Meeting

    On April 14-16, the CFAS constituency will meet virtually with the AAMC’s Group on Faculty Affairs for a joint meeting exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted faculty, how academic medicine will transform as a result of this extraordinary year, and how the AAMC has re-tuned its work and strategy to address the challenges. While it’s still too early to announce speakers (invitations are just now going out), we plan to have a roster of significant leaders and change agents from our community joining us for the meeting in April.

    In addition to plenary sessions, the meeting will feature Ignite-style presentations from CFAS and GFA reps, pre-recorded breakout sessions followed by live Q&A, and virtual small group discussions on critical topics affecting faculty today. As is the custom with CFAS meetings, the virtual event will generate detailed materials and downloadable resources that you, as a CFAS reps, will be able to take to present back to your schools and societies describing the work of the council.

    You will start seeing much more information about the meeting and its program in your inbox in the coming week, along with details on registration and how to make the most out of our first-ever CFAS virtual spring professional development conference.

    Tell Us How You’re Doing in Response to the Pandemic

    During this unprecedented public health crisis, 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 Weissman at eweissman@aamc.org, or call Eric 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.