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In this edition:

Message from the Chair

Dear CFAS Colleagues,

It has been wonderful to enjoy a summer vacation with my family and even more wonderful to disconnect from work without feeling guilty or anxious, knowing that my colleagues and collaborators are supportive and glad to help during my absence.

As I returned to my research lab, my trainees were eager to share exciting experimental results they had obtained during my absence. Also, I was pleased to learn that the CFAS election had been completed successfully, the June meeting of the CFAS Administrative Board was productive, and even the June issue of this bulletin was published as scheduled! Wow! I’m so proud to work with healthy, robust, and cohesive teams, in which we can encourage and support each other to take worry-free vacations. I hope you too have plans to disconnect from work, to relax, and recharge and I hope you too will support and encourage your trainees and colleagues to do the same.  

I recently chaired the July meeting of the Administrative Board where we reviewed the CFAS activities that have taken place last month. We heard about the industrious work many of you have invested in several of our Thematic Committees. Specifically, Cathy Pipas, MD, MPH, the chair of the CFAS Faculty Resilience Committee, reported on the results of a survey on institutional wellbeing champions, which will be soon published. Stay tuned for details. Also, Adam Franks, MD, a CFAS Ad Board member and a member of the CFAS Mission Alignment Committee, reported on progress with a new publication focused on gender equity among faculty in promotion and tenure. And Adi Haramati, PhD, in his capacity of Chair of the Program Committee reported on the success of the June CFAS Connects, where about 50 of you participated. Thank you! And I also learned about all the progress in planning the second CFAS Society Summit which took place last week. This important event helps keep our society executives and staff connected to the AAMC, providing them with a way to align and collaborate not just with CFAS, but the AAMC generally.

Although we will not have a CFAS Connects session in August, the CFAS Program Committee is already pondering topics for a new series to resume in September. Please send your suggestions to Eric at eweissman@aamc.org.

In closing, I want to take a moment to congratulate David Skorton, MD, on his fast-approaching second anniversary at the helm of the AAMC, and to thank him for steering this organization through unprecedented challenges with a reassuringly strong and steady hand. As I read his Colleague to Colleague letter, which arrived in my inbox last week, I am touched by his message, as always generous, candid, and forward-looking. I am reminded of how much has gone well in academic medicine overall and at the AAMC, and how much remains to be done. I too feel privileged to be of service and as always, I will be grateful for any suggestions or feedback you can offer on how we can do better.

Stay well,
Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD
CFAS Chair, 2019 – 2021

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AAMC Leadership Opportunities

CFAS reps benefit from exposure to various leadership opportunities both within the council and the broader AAMC. The CFAS Administrative Board just recently completed its annual leadership votes, welcoming Nita Ahuja, MD, as Chair-elect and Nicholas Delamere, PhD, Shirley “Lee” Eisner, PhD, Deanna Sasaki-Adams, MD, and Neil Osheroff, PhD, as new members in seats that will take effect this coming November. Now, the AAMC Board of Directors has announced a new seat for a junior faculty member and CFAS reps are encouraged to apply. You can find detailed information and criteria for the roles on the CFAS website, but for questions about this opportunity or for general questions on leadership opportunities within CFAS and the AAMC, email Eric Weissman at eweissman@aamc.org.

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CFAS Society Summit Welcomed 60 on July 22

CFAS society leaders and staff, along with a handful of CFAS reps, attended the virtual CFAS Society Summit on July 22, where they engaged in discussions with the AAMC Leadership Team on how the AAMC and CFAS can continue to provide valuable benefits and services its member societies.

The conversation focused on a range of issues that registrants identified in a survey, designed to focus on collaborative opportunities and to ensure that the work of CFAS is aligned with the interests of our member societies. The topics executives and other attendees identified and wanted to cover with the AAMC and peer organization included diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with anti-racism efforts in academic medicine and higher education. Society execs also wished to focus upon clinician wellbeing, the transition to GME and GME learning generally, how the pandemic has affected society work, including with meetings, education, and outreach. There was also a great interest in discussing advocacy efforts at a national level, funding for biomedical research, and a range of topics related to medical education and training.

In addition to leadership team presentations and Q&A, attendees heard from AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, who discussed the important role faculty play in general in advancing the work of the AAMC, and also how the interdisciplinary structure of CFAS, which represents the interests of a broad array of specialties and disciplines, makes it a unique environment to explore some of the biggest challenges faced by academic health centers today.

During the program, society leaders also broke into small discussion groups to explore collaborative opportunities and to identify challenges that they face within their own organizations.

While the session was not recorded in order to provide a space where people felt free to share, detailed notes will be published on the CFAS website in the coming days, along with a range of slides and online resources that societies can use to advance their work along with the AAMC.

As always, member society leaders are free to attend CFAS programming and should reach out to CFAS staff or their reps when they have questions and suggestions about the work of the council.

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June CFAS Connects Summary Materials Online

The June CFAS Connects session featured a presentation outlining the CFAS Mission Alignment Committee’s newest initiative, which involves the formation of three subcommittees to focus specifically on faculty, chairs, and institutional governance. The Mission Alignment Committee is chaired by Stewart Babbott, MD, professor of general medicine, geriatrics, and palliative care at University of Virginia School of Medicine; the subcommittee focused on faculty is led by Dina Calamur, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine; the subcommittee focused on chairs is led by former CFAS chair Vin Pellegrini, MD, vice chair of orthopaedics at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; and the subcommittee focused on institutional governance is led by Mark Danielsen, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology at Georgetown University School of Medicine. For those interested in joining one of the subcommittees, you can email Eric Weissman at eweissman@aamc.org.

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AAMC Leadership Team Profile: Diana Bourke, Chief Strategic Operations and Data Officer

CFAS: Please describe for CFAS reps your role at the AAMC.

Bourke: I joined the AAMC as Chief Information Officer (CIO) almost eight years ago and have found a very rich career in serving in a number of different roles over the years. I assumed the role as Chief Data Officer in addition to the CIO role and for three years served as Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for Services, IT, HR, Finance, and Legal. With the launch of the AAMC strategic plan under David Skorton, MD, I began my current role as the Chief Strategic Operations and Data Officer.  

In this role, I’m responsible for execution of the strategic plan and specifically the 10 action plans as agreed to by the AAMC Board and Leadership Team. Working in a highly matrixed structure, I partner with Bill Mallon, senior director of strategy and innovation, as well as other chiefs to direct and facilitate the execution of very specific plans. I also continue to be responsible for the AAMC surveys and standard reports through the great work of Hersh Alexander, senior director of Data Operations and Services, (DOS) and his team. In addition, Brianna Pyfrom, senior director of organizational effectiveness, and her team support the AAMC with best practices and training in change management, project management, process excellence, management of enterprise policies, and human subject review for AAMC surveys.

CFAS: How has the pandemic affected the AAMC’s services data collection and reporting?

Bourke: The AAMC has always been successful in standard data collections related to LCME and other AAMC reports. During the pandemic, the most significant change was related to having our great Data Operations and Services team becoming more comfortable with ad hoc surveys and reporting related to the pandemic. We take very seriously our commitment to students, members, constituents and others to protection of their information. At the same time, we have found ourselves at a very important point in data collaboration to further research on diversity, equity, and inclusion; outcomes; and improving health equity and justice. We have spent the last 18 months working with other organizations to identify the needed infrastructure changes across academic medicine to support research and improved understanding for achieving better outcomes relative to workforce diversity and health equity. Some infrastructure changes involve adoptions of common standards for data which includes support from the MedBiquitous team in the Academic Affairs cluster.

We’ve had great uptake and receptivity to our data standards for race and ethnicity. We’re also creating standards around data sharing and a common data use agreement to improve collaboration with other associations and boards. Our focus is on facilitating more agility in the sharing of data while continuing to protect the information with which we are entrusted. MedMO is a recent initiative under the leadership of Dorothy Andriole in Academic Affairs with support from the DOS team. MedMO pulls together AAMC data on medical students over a number of years into single place so we can start getting a clearer picture of outcomes for medical students.

The AAMC also offers its constituents the ability to make custom data requests, pulling from a wide variety of our many routine surveys, reports, and data collections. For more information on the AAMC data available to constituents, visit our website.

CFAS: What are some lessons learned from your experience that would be helpful for business leaders in academic medicine to know?

Bourke: My career can best be described as very “eclectic” because it’s spanned many industries, including heavy manufacturing, financial services, information (D&B), proxy voting, and health care insurance. I’ve led operations in a Contract Research Organization (CRO) and an IRB, in the program management office for Cigna during their implementation of a transformation project, a CME organization, and medical publications. I’ve had a very blessed career and have learned that there is more the same than is different in every organization.

As I have moved across decades, industries, and disciplines, I have stayed true to two things – the data and the people. Data will tell you what you need to know and people will tell you what needs to change. Both are of equal importance to get successful execution and results. I have been asked about my technology strategy. It’s best summarized by the belief that no technology changes bad behavior and bad practices, only people can do that with a good technology to enable them. I also focus on a principle of “stop getting worse.” Sometimes we get overly focused on fixing the past when how to proceed in a better future is obvious. You can make changes about how you go forward without needing to fix everything in the past. Perhaps my career is best described as continuous intellectual curiosity grounded by a fearlessness about what I did not know combined with a certain confidence that general leadership skills always prevail. The AAMC has been a wonderful place to bring my diverse experiences to a mission-based organization.  

CFAS: What do you like to do in your free time?

Bourke: I like to knit, crochet, sew, garden, and cook. This is very much part of my Midwest upbringing. I was also blessed with mentors and allies (mostly allies) in my career who taught me to “never settle or succumb.” I was able to be a mother and working professional for more than 40 years with the wonderful support of family and colleagues. Now I can be a working grandmother! At work, I most enjoy being a mentor to others and sharing stories and experiences while helping others create their own stories.

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CFAS Rep Profile: Kirsten Lorenzen, MD

Associate Professor, Medical Director, Outpatient Internal Medicine Clinic, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine; Senior CFAS Rep for University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

CFAS: Tell us about your experience as an internal medicine physician during the pandemic.

Dr. Lorenzen: I’ve been practicing internal medicine for over 30 years and for the last five years I’ve been solely focused on outpatient medicine in our clinic. At the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine it’s been a team effort where everyone has pitched in during the pandemic. We are a smaller institution and everyone wears many hats. Like many other institutions, we had to learn how to move all our meetings to virtual settings and we had to ramp up telemedicine very quickly. Clinicians and office staff had to transition to virtual work by themselves, whereas larger institutions have their IT professionals handle the majority of the work. Doctors and MAs were explaining to patients via telephone how to set up a zoom visit. The virtual setting required a lot of troubleshooting on all our parts, but we evolved like everyone else, we learned a lot, and our transition to telemedicine was successful. We also had to work through many issues that arose when our limited number of physicians and staff members became infected.

We got together with the university administration to address all the considerations of operating under lockdown, from drafting patient screening questions to creating a system to determine who could be in the office and when. Like many offices we had an outbreak requiring us to close the office, yet continue to function. Now we’re still discussing transitioning all staff back into the office.

CFAS: What are the most interesting recent trends in internal medicine?

Dr. Lorenzen: One interesting recent development that resulted from the pandemic was a new way of triaging which patients we need to see in person and which patients we can see through telemedicine. We are still determining ways to identify when a patient doesn’t need to come into the office. Another recent trend is learning how to accommodate the work preferences of some providers who wish to work from home. We appreciate we can be much more flexible than we once were, but need to determine if we should be more flexible just because we can be.

On the education side, there has been a transition from classic lectures, grand rounds, and noontime didactics to online learning for some time and the pandemic has only accelerated that. Over last few years, in person student attendance of lectures was plummeting even before the pandemic. Again we need to decide when it is important to be face to face, for learning, but also for support and social interactions.

As people returning to the office, we need to reestablish professional boundaries since everyone has become accustomed to working odd hours and having meetings from 7am to 7pm. Work-life balance has been disrupted for many.

CFAS: Talk a little about your teaching and your specific areas of focus.

Dr. Lorenzen: I’ve been teaching internal medicine full time for the last four years and I no longer see any patients privately in clinic. I’ve moved solely to precepting. I anticipated I would miss having my own patient panel, but I still see many of my patients who are now getting excellent care from our residents. That was an easier transition than I expected.

CFAS: What are some recent accomplishments or initiatives from the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine that would be interesting for other CFAS reps to know about?

Dr. Lorenzen: We created a drive thru clinic for COVID testing early on in the pandemic. Medical students volunteered to help with testing, which was hugely helpful to the institution and also helpful to the students because it gave them some patient interactions as well as an opportunity to be a valuable asset in the COVID experience.

A major change for our School of Medicine is developing a formal integration with Renown Regional Medical Center, which will start in October. In current times a school of medicine is just not sustainable without a real partnership with a medical center. We are in the midst of sorting out that affiliation.

Renown has integrated with several other physician groups but this is the first time they’re having an affiliation with an academic center and that is different. It’s important for hospital partners of medical schools to understand that we have learners to think about and that involves different considerations than RVUs and patient care. Our academic mission is a major priority for us and we anticipate a win-win for both sides in this affiliation. This type of affiliation is increasingly common has been discussed by CFAS members. I hope to get involved in the CFAS Mission Alignment Committee’s faculty-focused subcommittee to contribute to the conversation on this topic.

The work that is done by CFAS and AAMC has become even more important to me because I have a daughter who is a PGY3 and is going to be a chief resident next year. She plans a career in academic medicine. So where the world of academic medicine goes is especially important to me.

CFAS: What do you like to do in your free time?

Dr. Lorenzen: I’m a big outdoors person, a common reason people are drawn to Reno. I do a lot of cross country skiing, hiking, and trail running. Living in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during COVID has been great for me, because even at the height of the lockdowns, I felt like could always find a remote place to go running outdoors – without a mask.

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Update from Cathy Pipas, MD, MPH, Chair of the CFAS Faculty Resilience Committee

The CFAS Faculty Resilience Committee continues its work to advance dialogue and knowledge-sharing around issues impacting faculty wellbeing. At its July 27 meeting, we focused on “Brainstorming Collaborative Opportunities for Interdisciplinary and Institutional Wellbeing Initiatives” with leaders from KERN National Network (KNN) for Caring & Character in Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin to inform the CFAS community about the committee’s current and future efforts in this space, and identify opportunities for partnership. We welcome participation from any CFAS members interested in this topic.

In our May meeting, members were informed of the collaboration of several committee members on an organizational wellbeing survey to assess the emergence of wellbeing champions and wellbeing programs across healthcare settings, disciplines, and levels of training. The survey closed at the end of May, and the authors are currently writing up the results to be published as an AAMC publication in the fall. The planned release of the publication will align with the AAMC’s annual meeting, Learn Serve Lead 2021, at which members of the committee will present findings from this survey during one of the concurrent session. Please mark your calendar on Wednesday, Nov. 10 from 2 – 3 pm ET for “We Can’t Afford to Burn Out: Addressing Wellbeing and Supporting the Role of Wellness Champions.”

If you are interested in learning more about the committee, or becoming involved, please email the committee chair, Cathy Pipas, MD, at Catherine.F.Pipas@dartmouth.edu, or email AAMC CFAS committee liaison, Anne Berry, at aberry@aamc.org.

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CFAS Tweet Chat on COVID Research

CFAS is planning a tweet chat with other groups within the AAMC where we will highlight research broadly related to the pandemic happening at medical schools and academic health centers across the country. The goal is to illustrate how research going on at AAMC member institutions has had a major role in battling the pandemic. We are specifically eager to spotlight the work being done by junior researchers, particularly women and other underrepresented groups who have been disproportionately affected during the pandemic. The date of the chat is to be decided and we are currently identifying people who would be willing to co-host the conversation. If you would like to be considered for the role of co-host, or would like to learn how to participate in a tweet chat, please reach out to Alex Bolt at abolt@aamc.org. More information will be made available in the coming days.

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

During this 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 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.

Have you received an honor or award from your society or school? Or have you published a recent paper that you’d like to share with your CFAS colleagues? Please send a note to Eric Weissman or Alex Bolt and we’ll let the rest of the CFAS community know.

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.

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