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In this edition:

Message from the Chair

Dear CFAS Colleagues and Friends,

We are now in March, which means spring is upon us, despite one last burst of snow and cold in Washington, DC, this month. Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. In most time zones, we moved our clocks forward and enjoy an extended hour of evening daylight.

It is also a time of personal renewal for me. After a rather challenging first half of the academic year, my wife and I decided to take a vacation for six days. Rarely do I go anywhere that is not in some way connected to an academic activity, such as a visiting professorship or a conference. However, we decided to take time with another couple, long-time friends, and visit a place that they have not been—the Grand Canyon. It is one of the most extraordinary natural wonders of the world, and it is in our country. We also included four days in Sedona, a place of serenity and beauty. I share this with you because I want to emphasize that we all need to take time away to renew and refresh. I am actively doing so and hope you will as well in the coming weeks.

Paying attention to self-care is something we need to practice and to model to others: for our colleagues, for our learners, for our patients, for our families, but also for our leaders. Self-care is not self-indulgent or a luxury, but an essential and vital element of being healthy.

Meanwhile, the CFAS Administration Board and the CFAS committees have been working intently to finalize programming and activities for the spring. This month’s CFAS Connects featured a conversation with AAMC President and CEO David Skorton, which is a unique opportunity for CFAS representatives and one of our most popular sessions. By the time you read this message, the conversation will be available online to review.

CFAS Chair-elect Nita Ahuja has led a hard-working Program Committee to plan the CFAS Spring Meeting (April 11-13, 2022), and registration is now open. While the meeting will be virtual, it will offer all of us an opportunity to be engaged and connected to one another. We have a terrific lineup of speakers and topics, including a large number of deans and health system leaders who will be joining us in conversation. You will also hear updates on the work of several of the CFAS committees, with a focus on the work of the Mission Alignment Committee, led by Stewart Babbott, and the subcommittees led by Dina Calamur, Mark Danielsen, and Vin Pellegrini. I look forward to seeing you there.

Lastly, I want to mention the important work of the Nominating Committee, led by our past-chair, Gabriela Popescu. Her committee is busy finalizing the slate for the next election of the CFAS Administrative Board. If you are interested in being more active on CFAS committees or serving on the Administrative Board or have any questions at all about our committee activity, please reach out to Gabriela at popescu@buffalo.edu or Eric Weissman at eweissman@aamc.org.

I close with a somber note. We are witnessing a time of upheaval and tragedy, as we watch the war in Ukraine with no real end in sight, and the world issues pronouncements while innocent civilians are being killed. It is more than heartbreaking – it is a moral outrage. It may seem incongruous to go about our daily lives while the war is unfolding in Europe. I admit that I am conflicted.

We are in the midst of unprecedented change in our institutions, and we need to hear from you now more than ever. So, let me end by thanking all the school and society representatives. Thank you for stepping up to your role as a CFAS rep and representing the faculty voice in academic medicine.

Yours in good health and wellness,

Aviad “Adi” Haramati, PhD

CFAS Chair

Representing the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health

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Register for 2022 CFAS Virtual Spring Meeting

Registration for the 2022 CFAS Virtual Spring Meeting is now open. This year’s meeting will feature more deans and academic health center leaders than any previous CFAS spring meeting.

The event provides an opportunity for faculty to learn, collaborate, and connect with CFAS school and society representatives, educators, clinicians, and researchers in academic medicine. Among the presenters are Julie Freischlag of Wake, Nancy Brown of Yale, Lee Jones of Georgetown, Sam Hawgood of UCSF, James Hildreth of Meharry, Louann Woodward of Mississippi, and two former CFAS reps who are now deans, Carolyn Meltzer of USC, and Adrian Tyndall of Morehouse.

The theme of the meeting, “strengthening the faculty community,” will play out throughout the program, and will culminate not just with our distinguished speakers, but with each of you, bringing your unique perspectives to the conversation.

Some of the meeting’s topics include collaboration between faculty and institutional leadership; shared governance; the journey from faculty to leadership; and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic medicine.

If you have not done so already, please register now.

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CFAS Connects: A Conversation with AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD

CFAS Connects returned on March 16 and featured a wide-ranging and engaging discussion with AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, on the most important current issues facing faculty members. Summary materials, including notes and a link to a video recording of the session, are available on the CFAS Resources webpage. The next CFAS Connects will be on Thursday, May 19, from 3 – 4 p.m.

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CFAS Society Profile: The American Physiological Society (APS)

The American Physiological Society (APS) comprises nearly 10,000 biomedical researchers and educators from all over the world including North, South, and Central America; Europe; Asia; New Zealand; and Australia. Membership includes a large number of medical school faculty, and most APS members hold a PhD in a basic science field.

“While the majority of our members are research scientists, a significant portion of our members are also physiology educators,” said Scott Steen, Executive Director of APS. “Our policy agenda includes issues like the ethical use of animals in research, science funding, and the regulatory burden for scientists. We’re also deeply focusing on gender equity and racial and ethnic diversity within science and looking at some of the more systemic issues that have been impediments for non-majority scientists and educators.”

APS members participate in annual meetings including Experimental Biology through FASEB, and beginning in 2023, APS is reinitiating is own stand-alone annual meeting. Many members became involved with APS as trainees and have been mentored and developed through the society. APS grants $1.2 million in awards each year, and members who receive these awards and recognition early in their careers often stick around to mentor the next generation of society members.

“While we are known primarily as a scholarly publisher, many of our members feel like APS is a family. We are their professional home and they become part of a vibrant community. Through this community, we provide our members access to excellent science. We sponsor a wide variety of scientific meetings and publish 16 scholarly journals, including the top journal in our field, and our journals cover the gamut of physiological research,” said Steen. Over the past 20 years, Gary Sieck, PhD, the CFAS rep for APS, has served as the editor-in-chief of two of these 16 journals, the Journal of Applied Physiology and Physiology.

Dr. Sieck, a Professor and Distinguished Investigator in the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering at the Mayo Clinic, expressed a concern he said is shared by many APS members: burnout among basic scientists. While burnout on the clinical side tends to garner more attention, the causes of burnout among basic scientists are both unique and acute. In many cases, basic sciences as unique disciplines are disappearing as stand-alone departments, and with that the discipline-based identity of basic scientists. Also, funding opportunities are highly competitive, with part of their salaries at risk if funding is lost. Furthermore, the role of basic scientists as teachers is being usurped.

“It would be great to see CFAS explicitly emphasize the interests of basic science disciplines and the causes of burnout among basic science faculty,” Dr. Sieck said.

According to Dr. Sieck, physiology as a discipline is currently facing an identity crisis. Much of the curricula being developed at medical schools focuses on introducing clinical education and training much earlier at the expense of reducing or – in some cases – eliminating basic sciences – specifically anatomy and physiology. In the new medical school curriculum, students are still exposed to anatomy and physiology but not as stand-alone courses. Most medical school course are now organized around organ systems, so anatomy and physiology are introduced in the context of pathology and pathophysiology.

Without physiology as a stand-alone course, the distinction of physiology as a clearly defined discipline is being lost and this causes identity problems for those of us who are used to being considered faculty members in a well-defined physiology department. In fact, in many medical schools, basic science departments are being eliminated, reduced in size, or merged. Strangely, in some medical schools even with physiology departments, physiologists do not teach physiology, which is being delegated to clinical specialists in narrowly based pathophysiology of disease courses. While the clinical perspective and pathophysiology are very important, the ability of more broadly trained physiologists to integrate across organ systems is critical.

“This year, we are in the process of launching our new Center for Physiology Education. The center will focus on strengthening physiology education from the undergraduate level through medical school. As there’s more clinical knowledge for medical students to absorb, basic science can get crowded out and we believe that results in poorer medical education,” said Steen.

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AAMC Leadership Team Profile: Yvonne Massenburg, MBA, Chief Human Resources Officer

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

I manage the human resources function at the AAMC, including recruitment; compensation; employee relations; policy; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); learning and development, and human resources information systems. I am responsible for overall talent management and facilitating employee engagement, culture, and climate for organizational effectiveness. Talent management involves ensuring we we attract, retain, develop, and provide growth opportunities for employees to ensure they are able to contribute to our important mission.

CFAS: What are some the important traits and skills for professionals to build when they are hoping to become leaders?

To be an effective leader in general, it’s important to develop a compelling vision for the work that you do and then be able to articulate it well. Leaders need to be able to help the people they’re leading or managing understand and align themselves to that vision. Leaders should be clear about what it takes to accomplish the mission so that people have the skills needed to contribute. A leader can be someone who manages programs and not necessarily people, but they still need to influence people.

Communicate effectively with the people you’re leading and helping them contribute to the vision requires being clear on what motivates individuals and what gets them engaged, and feel valued, and understanding what skill and coaching they require to be successful. Leaders don’t have to be completely selfless, but they do need to understand and find ways to accomplish work through others.

These leadership qualities also apply in academic medicine broadly and at the AAMC. The AAMC has six Core Competencies that we develop in our employees including Ensures Accountability, Collaborates, Instills Trust, Decision Quality, Customer Focus, and Communicates Effectively. The ability to develop talent, drive a vision and purpose, as well as having organizational savvy becomes important for senior directors and other internal leaders.

CFAS: What are the some of the most important human resources issues that you are excited to see the AAMC address in the future, and which also might appear in other workplaces, including in some academic health centers?

The top three most important issues are the shift to a hybrid workplace model; the increased competition for talent; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Adapting to the new hybrid approach to the workplace is going to be important for everything we do and organizations that don’t adapt to this new approach will fall behind when competing for talent. I haven’t seen such a transformative shift in the workplace since the .com transition of the 1990s, so it’s an exciting time to be experience and lead!

As the AAMC adapts to this new hybrid, collaborative, virtual workplace dynamic, we’re also attuned to the increased competition for talent which is being acknowledged as a “war on talent.” We have to find ways to retain people and some of that will be compensation-related, but it also involves ensuring that people feel engaged in work that’s meaningful to them. We are also very focused on pursuing DEI to the fullest extent to ensure we have diverse representation in the organization and that that everyone feels included and valued, that their perspectives are appreciated, and that the organization is equitable.

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

I love spending time with my two wonderful teenage kids, I love to read and I’m a member of book club, and I enjoy working out by running and working with a personal trainer. I’m also a big TV junkie and enjoy binge watching shows like Ozark!

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Update on Work of CFAS Mission Alignment Committee’s Subcommittees

The CFAS Mission Alignment of Faculty as Educators Committee currently has two major initiatives: Gender parity and underrepresented minorities (URM) parity in academic medicine, and exploring aspects of alignment between faculty, chairs, and institutional governance.

The Gender Parity Project submitted a publication to Academic Medicine titled, “Rank and Tenure in Academic Medical Centers: Over 50 Years of Gender Disparities Documented by the AAMC’s Faculty Roster,” which has been accepted for publication. This project is led by CFAS Ad Board member Adam Franks, MD, a school rep from Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The URM Parity Project is working on another publication titled, “Rank and Tenure in Academic Medical Centers: Over 50 Years of Racial and Ethnic Disparities Documented by the AAMC’s Faculty Roster.” This project represents a collaboration with the CFAS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee chaired by Monica Baskin, PhD.

The subcommittee focused on faculty evaluation and other issues related to faculty is led by Dina Calamur, MD. The subcommittee has currently identified the following issues:

  • Fulfilling the institutional academic mission while generating income for the medical center. Either the expectations placed on the medical educator are unrealistic or the medical educator is not designated enough support to help them rise through the academic ranks.
  • Assessing the use of newly developed Milestones for Medical Educators and relationship to metrics for promotion.

The subcommittee focused on chairs is led by Vin Pellegrini, MD, and has so far identified the following productive strategies that must be pursued:

  • Advocate for the value of the academic mission to health system/affiliated hospitals.
  • Seek to find value of the expanded system to support the core academic mission.
  • Promote the bidirectional value of education as currency in the health system and school of medicine.
  • Critical role of a system CEO that values the academic mission and pedigree.
  • Redefine the system role and purpose of departmental leadership in the system.
  • Assess/analyze current AHS structures and recommend a “best practice.”

The subcommittee focused on governance is led by Mark Danielsen, PhD, and has already identified some important issues, including the following:

  • In clinical departments, key decisions on clinical service are increasingly being made by an administrator who does not report to the chair and sometimes not even to the dean.
  • In basic science departments, largely financial concerns have led to the expansion of the teaching portfolio, particularly master’s programs. These teaching programs have led to an increase in faculty on biomedical educator tracks that are often not tenure eligible.
  • This evolution has led, in some institutions, to a workforce where most of the education is performed by one group of faculty, while most of the research or clinical care is performed by other groups. The governance structure needs to adapt to these changes in order to support faculty in these roles.
  • The governance system can have a strong influence of equity in representation of the diversity of the faculty based on the duration of leadership appointments (term limited or unlimited) and approaches to selection of new leaders.

The work of these subcommittees will be addressed on the first day of the 2022 CFAS Virtual Spring Meeting as part of a conversation on faculty governance. The work will also be discussed at length in a summary of the meeting that will be made available to all CFAS reps.

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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.

Read previous editions:

February 2022  |  January 2022  |  December 2021

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