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In this edition:

Message from the Chair

Dear Colleagues,

I’m writing while the academic semester is in full swing and we are all confronting new realities in the classroom, in the clinic, and at the bench. In addition, many of us are experiencing additional stressors in our career (think tenure and promotion) and personal life (homeschooling kids anyone?). I have heard some of you questioning whether our proverbial plates as faculty are becoming too full for both quality performance and some modicum of well-being. I’m asking you to join our monthly CFAS Connects virtual meetings and our standing CFAS Committees to discuss the most pressing challenges facing faculty in academic medicine and to develop possible solutions going forward.

As we approach Learn Serve Lead 2020: The Virtual Experience in November (register here), which also marks an annual renewal of the leadership of CFAS, I want to extend a warm thank you to all CFAS reps who cast ballots for our new CFAS Administrative Board members, and to all who took the time to join our annual Business Meeting last month. The results allow me to welcome two new members to the CFAS Ad Board: Serina Neumann, PhD, and Adam Franks, MD. And I have the privilege of expressing for all of us, our gratitude to Mona Abaza, MD, and J. David Warren, PhD, who will be moving onto new roles in November after their service on the CFAS Administrative Board.

If you have not done so already, please mark your calendars for Wednesday, Sept. 30, and block off the 3–4 p.m. ET hour to join the first session of CFAS Connects. (You also should have received a calendar appointment from Stephen Barry at the AAMC; if you have not, please email him at sbarry@aamc.org). The Program Committee, chaired by Adi Haramati, PhD, has unanimously decided to open this series with a discussion on race, social justice, and the clinical experience in academic medicine. The session will be moderated by VJ Periyakoil, MD, chair of the CFAS Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Stewart Babbott, MD, chair of the CFAS Mission Alignment Committee. I look forward to a robust conversation.

Lastly, please consider joining open CFAS committee meetings as they are advertised. Several committees, including the Basic Science Committee, the Advocacy Committee, the Communication Committee, and others, have had meetings, and will be announcing future meetings that are open to all. You will continue to receive email invitations to committee meetings and information on joining these virtual sessions, which will take place year-round to facilitate the bidirectional communication we are tasked with as CFAS reps. Know that committees have an active role in preparing content for future CFAS Connects sessions.

In closing, I will acknowledge that the events over the past several months have forced us to initiate many changes in how we do business in CFAS. I hope that some of these changes serve your needs and facilitate your ongoing engagement with CFAS and with the AAMC. I would be grateful if you would reach out to me or Eric (eweissman@aamc.org) with comments on our ongoing efforts and with suggestions on how we can serve you better.

I continue to look forward to working with you to help faculty in academic medicine stay safe and productive, and to support resilience and well-being in each other and in our students.

Stay safe and stay well, friends,

Gabriela K. Popescu
CFAS Chair 2019 – 2021

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CFAS Business Meeting Summary and Highlights

On Thursday, Aug. 27, in lieu of its usual in-person conference, CFAS held one of its twice-annual Business Meetings in a virtual format via WebEx. In addition to an active discussion on how to preserve the momentum of the council’s work through the “CFAS Connects” webinar series, CFAS announced its new leadership slate for the CFAS Ad Board. Serina Neumann, PhD, and Adam Franks, PhD, were elected as new members to the Ad Board; Nita Ahuja, MD, and CFAS Advocacy Committee chair Arthur Derse, MD, JD, were reappointed for second terms on the board; and Mona Abaza, MD, and J. David Warren, PhD, rotated off the board. They have been outstanding contributors to the work of CFAS and we thank them for their service!

Serina Neumann, PhD, Senior CFAS Rep for Eastern Virginia Medical School

Serina A. Neumann, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at EVMS, provides education and training in interprofessional education, behavioral medicine assessment, and intervention and research as part of inpatient and outpatient services to clinical psychology graduate students, psychology interns, medical students and psychiatry residents. Since 2006, she has mentored over 20 students from various programs and at varying levels of education in behavioral medicine research and has provided clinical supervision to numerous trainees across educational programs at EVMS.

Dr. Neumann is an active member of the American Psychological Association, Health Psychology Division 38 and Aging Division 20 and an elected board member of the national Council of Clinical Health Psychology Training Programs. Dr. Neumann has been co-directing the Wellness Curriculum for EVMS medical students since 2015, a curriculum which will be adapted and integrated into the health professions programs. In 2018, Dr. Neumann was appointed as the EVMS Wellness Officer and is chairing the Dean's Institutional Wellness Committee to help develop, implement, and evaluate institution-wide wellness programs. Her professional interests lie within the realm of gaining a better understanding of the psychoneurophysiological mechanisms of stress and health and clinical interventions to optimize health. Dr. Neumann's interdisciplinary research program aims to investigate psychoneurophysiologic pathways associated with psychological stress and disease risk and to evaluate interventions to target and improve these pathways.

Adam Franks, MD, Senior CFAS Rep for the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

Adam Franks, MD, is an associate residency director and a professor at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Dr. Franks has been leading rural residency training for 17 years as he has practiced his entire career in one of the family medicine department’s rural community-based clinics in an underserved region. Having completed a Certificate of Added Qualification in Advanced Maternity Care and Obstetrics, he provides both obstetric and pediatric care within that practice. Furthermore, he is the department’s vice chair for research and is involved in developing geriatric research, quality assurance, and improvement management groups.

The Business Meeting presentation and meeting notes are now available for download and more summary resources of the CFAS Business Meeting will be available later this week at https://aamc.org/cfas.

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Registration Open for Learn Serve Lead 2020

Registration has opened for Learn Serve Lead 2020: The Virtual Experience, which will be held virtually this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting will take place Monday, Nov. 16 from 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET, and Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET.

Featured speakers include:

  • Ibram X. Kendi, PhD, Bestselling Author, How to Be An Antiracist, Director, Center for Antiracist Research, Boston University
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, The New York Times; Creator, 1619 Project
  • Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director, NIH
  • Anne Schuchat, MD, Principal Deputy Director, CDC
  • Anthony Fauci, MD, Director, NIAID
  • Vivek Murthy, MD, former Surgeon General of the United States

Also, please look for information in the coming weeks on a CFAS New Rep Orientation session in November. While almost all reps have a one-on-one phone orientation when they join, the new rep orientation provides an opportunity to get a bigger picture view of the AAMC and to ask questions as a group about the role of reps. These sessions typically happen at our in-person meetings, including the Learn Serve Lead Annual Meeting, but will happen virtually this year. More information will be coming your way soon.

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CFAS Rep Profile: Monica Baskin, PhD

Monica Baskin, PhD, Professor of Preventive Medicine, Inaugural Vice Chair for Culture and Diversity in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Inaugural Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB; Senior CFAS Rep for the UAB School of Medicine.

CFAS: As the Vice Chair for Culture and Diversity in UAB’s Department of Medicine, are there things you would like to see CFAS do to improve or enhance its efforts to foster greater diversity and inclusion in academic medicine and broader society?

Dr. Baskin: First and foremost, CFAS could acknowledge the role of institutional racism in academic medicine’s diversity and inclusion problems. A key part of the solution to the problems of underrepresentation in our institutions is pushing for greater transparency in the reporting of demographic statistics. For example, each institution could make a commitment to creating visual dashboards of the percentage of faculty members and students who are from underrepresented backgrounds. Regular monitoring of this data is critical for achieving progress in diversifying the academic medicine workforce. CFAS could also help advance the idea that promotion and tenure committees should evaluate activities and efforts around diversity and inclusion as equal to other activities so that institutional champions of diversity and inclusion are rewarded for their efforts. Unfortunately, I’ve seen firsthand how these efforts often go unrewarded or penalized relative to other types of faculty service and scholarship.

CFAS: Tell us about your research.

Dr. Baskin: Historically, I’ve focused on addressing health disparities for minority communities, particularly in the area of cancer disparities. I work to disseminate evidence-based practices to underserved populations of color and communities in rural areas. A lot of these communities live quite far away from UAB School of Medicine, so we’ve been training local community health advisors to disseminate these practices. Topics for these evidence-based practices include weight loss and how to prevent cancer and other chronic conditions by increasing physical activity.” [Dr. Baskin also holds a secondary faculty appointment in the Department of Nutrition Science in the UAB School of Health Professions.]

Our cancer center is both a field site and coordinating center for a consortium of 17 NCI-designated Cancer Centers across the country and we are leveraging this expansive network to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer prevention and care and whether there are specific demographic disparities.

CFAS: How would you like to see the health care system change during and after the pandemic?

Dr. Baskin: I would like to see a concerted effort to really address population health. Academic medical centers must be dedicated to addressing population health by taking a hard look at health disparities, which will involve providing the adequate training and budgets to the teams that focus on population health. Our health system needs to understand that there are issues in the system that advantage some groups over others. We should harness the power of Quality Improvement teams to improve targeted care to underserved and underrepresented populations. Our health systems also need to continue to be engaged and build stronger partnerships with the communities immediately surrounding them in order to meaningfully address their social determinants of health. This means looking at what’s happening in our communities outside the walls of our academic medical centers.

Over time, we’ve realized that doing work that meaningfully addresses the intersections of racism and health causes the loss of some political capital, so institutions need to plan for that, but we can’t shrink from this because other ways of getting this done simply aren’t working.

CFAS: Are there any recent initiatives or accomplishments from the UAB School of Medicine that would be interesting to CFAS reps?

Dr. Baskin: The School of Medicine has taken a leadership role on developing a safe plan for reentry into our university system for faculty and staff. We’ve developed a mobile app tool called GuideSafeTM that tracks reentry and sends closure notifications. The app has been a great tool we can use to test people as they come back into the university system. It has exposure notifications and a “passport” where leadership can see where each person is in the testing process. The tool has helped us manage population health in our surrounding area.

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

Dr. Baskin: I love to travel and go to new places, but the pandemic has put travel on hold. My favorite vacation spot was in the south of France out in the Mediterranean Sea. My family and I wanted to go up to Alaska to see whales, but the pandemic disrupted those plans so now that’s back on our list of places to go. I have two daughters, and along with my husband, we’ve traveled to Venice and Paris a couple times and also completed a bike tour through Barcelona.

My second favorite thing to do is put together jigsaw puzzles. Recently, we just completed a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

[Dr. Baskin is also a member of the CFAS Diversity and Inclusion Committee and her biography page on UAB’s website reads, “For nearly 20 years, she has led an extensive extramurally-funded research program focused on reducing health disparities in the Deep South including residents of rural and urban communities and populations across the lifespan. Most of her research has focused on community-based participatory methods that link academic partners to community- and faith-based networks to better understand and address individual, family, and environmental factors associated with healthy eating, physical activity, obesity, and cancer prevention and control. Baskin’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and others.

Baskin’s work related to health equity has been nationally recognized as a member of the first cohort of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders Program and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Council on Black Health. She also serves in multiple leadership roles focused on advancing health equity in North Central Alabama. She is a trained and authorized facilitator of nationally-known training programs on unconscious bias for health professionals and equity, diversity, and inclusion.”]

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Ongoing CFAS Work

While recent CFAS activity has focused on developing CFAS Connects sessions, many of our topical committees have held meetings in the past few weeks to drive forward their projects and initiatives in the challenging landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. And CFAS new rep membership remains vibrant, with 29 new reps having joined since the pre-pandemic Learn Serve Lead 2019: The AAMC Annual Meeting.

Just this month, the CFAS Communication Committee, the CFAS Advocacy Committee, and the CFAS Basic Science Committee have all met to advance their respective goals and identify ways to support faculty, students, patients, and academic medicine broadly in these turbulent times. In August, the CFAS Diversity and Inclusion Committee also held a meeting to discuss in part its next steps in advancing work of racial justice within and beyond the CFAS community. Also on Sept. 15, the CFAS Faculty Resilience Committee, chaired by Mona Abaza, MD, co-hosted a webinar with the AAMC’s Research on Care Community titled, “Clinician Well-Being and Resilience: What the Data Show and How We Move Forward.” The webinar featured a presentation from Bernard Chang, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Earlier in July, the Faculty Resilience Committee also held a tweet chat on well-being in academic medicine, featuring special guest Stuart Slavin, MD, Senior Scholar for Well-Being at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. And committee chair Mona Abaza, MD, maintains a popular Facebook group focused on well-being and exclusively reserved for those working in health care.

If you are interested in joining a CFAS committee, please contact committee chairs on our website. While CFAS committees have a core membership of accountable reps, in almost all instances, those committees are open to any CFAS rep for participation. Only the CFAS Program Committee and the CFAS Nominating and Engagement Committee have closed memberships – but even in those cases, reps are regularly invited to nominate themselves or their rep colleagues to serve on the committee rosters. For questions about committees or how to become involved, please email Eric Weissman at eweissman@aamc.org.

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AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, Selected for Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People

Each year, Modern Healthcare compiles a list of the most influential people in health care and this year’s process is underway with a list of 300 nominees now available for reader voting. A number of prominent leaders in academic medicine are represented on the nominee list, including AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD and leaders of many academic medical centers. The deadline for voting is Sept. 29.

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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.

Previous edition:
April 2020 

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