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AAMC Leadership Development Award

Welcome to AAMC Leadership Development Award

Our program was awarded the 2000 AAMC Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award. Janet Bickel (left) is shown presenting the plaque to Karen Sanders, M.D., Carol Hampton, MMS and H. H. "Dickie" Newsome, Jr., M.D., former Dean of the School of Medicine.

See Dr. Newsome’s nomination letter (below), AAMC President Jordan Cohen’s letter announcing the award [PDF], and VCU President Eugene Trani’s letter of congratulation[PDF].

Letter of Nomination from H. H. Newsome, Jr., M.D., former Dean, School of Medicine, VCU:

August 14, 2000

Renee Marshall Lawson
Administrative Assistant
Association of American Medical Colleges
2450 N Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037

Dear Ms. Lawson:

It gives me great pleasure to nominate the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Women in Medicine Program for the Association of American Medical Colleges’ 2000 Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award. The women leaders of the WIM Program have shown energy, creativity, and persistence in developing and achieving their strategic and operational goals, all the while improving the climate for both women and men in our institution. They have enjoyed widespread grassroots support and developed a credible and forceful organizational presence. In addition, they have spread their influence regionally and nationally through a series of excellent and highly regarded conferences, and have published both resource materials and academic articles in the field. Their successes both locally and nationally have earned them this honor.

The Leadership Conference, now in planning for its ninth year, is well known around the country. It has established a track record of success in reaching women health professionals across the country, especially on the East Coast. The number of participants is regularly about 250 and many participants are repeat attendees. The conference has explicitly tried to touch many types of participants, such as academic women physicians and scientists, but also community practitioners, housestaff, medical students, and allied health professionals. The conference series began back in 1992 at the genesis of the Women in Medicine Faculty Organization. The conference series took shape, and the first Leadership Conference took place in 1993. It was a small event, with mainly local faculty attending. However, the conference planners, who were also the Women in Medicine Faculty Organization officers, were already planning more ambitious activities. They invited both the University of Virginia and Eastern Virginia Medical School to join as conference sponsors. The University of Virginia joined as a participant in 1997, and the Eastern Virginia Medical School joined for the 1998 conference. Also in 1998, our women leaders contacted and invited the participation of both the Medical Society of Virginia and the Richmond Academy of Medicine. A wonderfully-opinionated group made up of members from all these sponsoring organizations has planned all conferences since that time.

Substantial grants ($5000) from each educational institution and significant contributions from the other sponsors (RAM and MSV) now underwrite the conferences. Thus, the conference is now able to attract nationally recognized speakers while still keeping registration subsidized for medical students and housestaff. Conference attendees have grown from approximately 50 in 1993 to over 250 participants at the conference in March 2000. Enclosed are the brochures from all of the conferences beginning in March 1993 up to and including the most recent one conducted this year, March 3, 2000. In addition, the next conference, to be held on March 2, 2001, is already in the planning stages, and a nationally known keynote speaker, Dr. Bernice Sandler, is already booked. I personally have attended the last three of these conferences, and have been amazed at the excitement and interaction that they have generated.

The VCU School of Medicine group has also instituted a Women in Medicine Professional Leadership Award, now in its ninth year. Nominations for the award are solicited from the Department Chairs of the School of Medicine and all faculty members. Eight women physicians have been the award recipients, recognized for their excellence in multiple professional domains, character, leadership, and their groundbreaking activities for the women who have followed them into medical careers. The University of Virginia Medical School and Eastern Virginia Medical School have emulated this awards process. All three medical school awards are now given out at lunch during the Leadership Conference.

Our Women in Medicine program here at VCU is composed of four distinct parts, each of which serves a specific purpose, and has been effective in pursing distinct, although related goals.

1. Women in Medicine Faculty Organization

First, the Women in Medicine Faculty Organization was organized into a coherent structure in late 1992. The organization was structured as a volunteer organization in order to be collaborative with, but outside of the organizational structure of the medical school. This gave the organization more latitude in creating a political agenda. The Faculty Organization developed bylaws, a nominations and voting process, and a process to have effective leadership succession. Many offices were created and several subcommittees of the Executive Council were formed. This structure has withstood the test of time, and has flourished through the terms of four presidents: Dr. Wendy Klein (1992–1994), Dr. Dawn Mueller (1994–1996), Dr. Karen Sanders (1996-1998), and Dr. Lenore Buckley (1998–2000). A new president, Dr. Joanne Bodurtha, is set to begin her two-year term in September of 2000, and a new president-elect, Dr. Marcia Carney, will also begin.

Some WIM Faculty Organization activities include:

Executive Council. The Executive Council has met monthly for approximately nine years. This group collects and prioritizes goals for the organization, plans and directs activities, and collaborates with other external and internal entities such as the Richmond Academy of Medicine. Composed of a diverse collection of basic scientists, clinicians, and administrators, the group is the driving force behind the success of the organization. The President of the organization chairs the Executive Council.

Executive Leadership and Academic Medicine Program for Women (ELAM). The organization has requested and received support for three ELAM fellows: Dr. Roberta Sonnino, Dr. Lisa Kaplowitz, and Dr. Mary Nettleman. The Women in Medicine Faculty Organization officers garnered the support and funding commitment for ELAM from my office.

Women in Medicine Faculty Organization Newsletter. The newsletter has been published continuously although irregularly for nine years. The newsletters have columns for education (promotion and tenure guidelines, for example), professional development information (AAMC Junior and Senior Women in Medicine Conference Announcements), book reviews, and interviews with selected women faculty. Several issues are enclosed.

Professional Development Seminars and Lectures. Special interest programs are organized several times a year. Many seminars have been held about promotion and tenure issues, such as understanding the promotion and tenure guidelines, understanding the different promotion tracks, and creating a teaching portfolio. Other topics include mentoring and career development. Speakers include both local and national experts, such as Dr. Lindsay Grossman (Fall 1999), Dr. Clyde Evans (Fall 1998), and Dr. Page Morahan (Fall 1997).

Enclosed are several examples of our local programming with participant evaluation summaries.

These programs serve a critical function of getting the word out about key institutional issues. Several sessions were held about promotion and tenure issues. These sessions, although planned as one-way educational sessions, were vehicles for raising issues, and letting faculty opinions be known. This in turn helped raise institutional awareness of these very important issues and facilitated the rewriting of some key clauses in our School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure documents.

The Committee on the Status of Women and Minorities

The second component of our Women in Medicine Program is the School of Medicine Committee on the Status of Women and Minorities. This Committee reports organizationally to my office and focuses on providing leadership and guidance regarding the progress of women and minorities in their achievement of their full potential within the School of Medicine. The Committee assesses and reports on various institutional issues, such as the representation of women in departments and in leadership roles, recruitment and retention of women and minority faculty, promotion and tenure issues, salary equity and benefits, mentoring and faculty development, and many others. Issues that arise through the committee structure may flow to the Dean’s Office, the Faculty Senate, University Council, MCV Physicians group, or other higher level offices. The Committee regularly engages in literature review, fact-finding, and benchmarking. This Committee spearheaded the faculty survey in 1997 to determine high-priority issues for career development. The survey, reported in two published journal articles, had an excellent response rate (62% response from 918 faculty), and pointed the way to several sub-committees and high-priority issues. The faculty survey will be the focus of a workshop at the October 2000 AAMC meeting, given by Dr. Lenore Buckley, Dr. Karen Sanders and Ms. Carol Hampton. Other products to come from the survey include the Mentoring Guide, which is now available nationally on the web. The Committee has most recently turned its attention to professionalism, space and facilities issues, chair recruitment, and minority student and faculty recruitment and retention.

School of Medicine 1997 Faculty Survey on Needs for Career Development and Mentoring—This was a project of the Committee with leadership by Dr. Surinder Kallar, former chair of the Committee, Dr. Lenore Buckley, now President of our Women in Medicine Faculty Organization, and Carol Hampton, Associate Dean for Faculty and Instructional Development. The results of the survey underscored the need for mentoring and resources for career development. The results were presented to chairs and distributed to all faculties. As part of scholarship and to share the data with others, the results also were published:

  • Buckley, L.M., Sanders, K., Shih, M., Kallar, S., Hampton C.L. for the Committee on the Status of Women and Minorities. Obstacles to promotion? Values of women faculty and career success and recognition. Academic Medicine. 2000; 75: 283-288.
  • Buckley, L.M., Sanders, K., Shih, M., Hampton, C.L. Attitudes of clinical faculty about career progress, career success and recognition, and commitment to academic medicine: results of a survey. Archives of Internal Medicine. In press, scheduled to appear September 2000.

Monitoring Representation of Women and Minorities. The Committee requested five-year data from the Dean’s Office in order to monitor representation of women and minorities in all 26 SOM departments, and then compared these with national data from AAMC. These data were presented to the chairs during the Dean’s Executive Council in January 2000. These data will be collected annually and shared with the Department Chairs and other institutional leaders in an effort to raise awareness of diversity and its importance.

Salary Equity. In the 1997 faculty survey, concerns were raised about salary equity. The Committee requested an analysis of salary across all departments and ranks from my office. I am personally monitoring these data and reported the results last fall to the Committee. Although this is a sensitive and difficult task, I have pledged to continue to monitor these data, and share discrepancies with the chairs as part of their own performance evaluations.

Mentoring Program in the Department of Internal Medicine. Using data from the faculty survey documenting the need for mentoring, especially for women faculty, several key faculty members have initiated a discussion of mentoring within the Department of Internal Medicine. The chair, Dr. Richard Wenzel, with assistance from Ms. Chequeta Allen, administrator, implemented a mentoring program in FY 1999-2000. A corner stone for this new program requires each division chair to arrange a mentor for every junior faculty member in the division. This responsibility will be included and evaluated as part of the annual performance review of each division chair in the Department of Internal Medicine. This pilot project has been shared with all Department Chairs as a possible sample for their own mentoring efforts.

Professionalism Proposal. This proposal was developed in response to medical student graduation survey data and LCME self study data. This proposal, still in draft form, outlines a structure and tasks to look at both curricular and institutional issues surrounding professionalism. The chair has been identified and the university attorney has given the green light to go forward. With guidance from the Committee, I will appoint a Professionalism Task Force to begin work this fall.

Minority Recruitment and Retention. This sub-committee is developing a minority student and faculty recruitment and retention plan. A rising M3 medical student, an African American, was hired over the summer by our Office of Faculty and Instructional Development (OFID) to assist with a special project. She has performed a search of the literature and has interviewed 11 of our 33 African American faculty members. She will draw conclusions about the environment for African-American faculties, and assist with drawing recommendations for recruitment and retention. She will present her report to the Committee in September.

Chair Recruitment. With staff support from OFID, the Committee has begun to review guidelines and procedures for chair recruitment. Resources from the literature and from other medical schools will be sought out. A subcommittee will be assigned this fall to develop guidelines for my consideration. The goal is to standardize and systematize the chair recruitment process in order to optimize our chances of hiring qualified women and minority candidates. This will better assure outstanding and diverse leadership in these key chair positions.

3. Women in Medicine Student Organization

The third part of the WIM Program is the Student Organization. For eight years, each medical student class has elected student representatives to the WIM Faculty Organization Executive Council. These representatives have taken part in the annual &ldquot;Become a Doctor Day,&rdquot; first for the Girl Scouts, and more recently working with the Virginia Area Health Education Consortia (AHECs) to host 50 rural high school girls as guests on our MCV Campus. The students have also sponsored monthly pizza luncheons on topics pertinent to both male and female medical students. Student activity fees and gifts from the SOM Annual Fund provide underwriting for the luncheons. A formalized faculty/student-mentoring program has just begun, initiated last fall by M2 female students and sponsored jointly with the WIM Faculty Organization. Interests vary with the student leadership each year. In previous years, they have written their own website, and have risen to assume leadership positions in AMSA, the American Medical Student Association.

4. Office of Faculty and Instructional Development

The VCU School of Medicine established the Office of Faculty and Instructional Development (OFID) in October 1994. The office incorporates faculty development, women in medicine, instructional design, the Computer Based Instruction Lab, and telemedicine. Carol Hampton is the Associate Dean appointed to lead the various programs. The goal of faculty development is to assist faculty in becoming accomplished, productive, and successful in their chosen endeavors of teaching, research, patient care, or administration, and in sustaining their vitality both now and in the future. Faculty development is an important goal for all faculty and especially women, who are under-represented at the highest levels of leadership in academic medicine. By integrating Women in Medicine as part of faculty development, the School of Medicine is able to provide a stable and funded locus to undergird, support, facilitate, guide, and conduct a variety of faculty development activities and programs for women. The WIM Faculty Organization supported the establishment of the OFID and the inclusion of women’s programs as part of overall faculty development. This OFID provides support to the components of the WIM program for their activities, especially the Leadership Conference, seminar and lecture logistics, financial support, and budget management. Some examples of programs developed by OFID that support the WIM program follow.

Faculty Mentoring Guide. This was developed by OFID as a follow-up to the career development survey, with advisory committee members from the Committee and Organization. It was distributed to all faculty members in August 1997. The Guide promotes mentoring as an excellent way to enhance professional growth. It includes characteristics of mentors/mentees, suggestions for finding a mentor/mentee, and provides checklists to evaluate mentoring. This has been peer-reviewed and is now distributed nationally by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and is used by the AAMC in Deans’ Council training. The Guide has been requested by some 50 medical schools nationwide and is available in print and on the web.

Advisory Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure, July 1997. At the request of the previous dean, Dr. Hermes Kontos, and to address a concern identified in the faculty survey, Advisory Guidelines were developed to complement the SOM promotion and tenure regulatory document. The Guide’s purpose is to assist faculty to more clearly understand the regulatory process required in both the tenure and collateral tracks. The document was distributed to all faculties and is maintained on the web. The project was managed by the OFID, which supported the Ad Hoc Task Force that developed the Guide.

New Faculty Orientation. Implemented in fall 1995, this full day event examines the educational, healthcare, and scientific environment in the SOM so faculty can better access institutional resources in support of their teaching, research, and patient care programs. Also presented are career development issues. This program is managed in collaboration with our Office of Continuing Medical Education and funded from gifts to the SOM Annual Fund.

University Guidelines on Prohibition of Sexual Harassment. These Guidelines were mailed to all faculties by the OFID with a cover memo from me. Some 330 faculty members signed and returned their acknowledgment of these guidelines. Carol Hampton serves as the liaison to faculty and channels potential sexual harassment concerns to school and university officials.

Matching Funds to Support Attendance at the AAMC Junior and Senior Women’s Professional Development Seminars. The OFID brokers professional development programs external to our SOM. This includes provision of matching funds for the AAMC’s junior and senior women’s programs. Four women faculty attended these seminars this past year, and two additional are accepted for this coming December.

Because of the work of our WIM Program, our institutional culture is changing and we are increasing our rich appreciation for women and what they bring to our School and University. The “halo effect” emanating from our WIM Program is evidenced in several other areas. Dr. Cynthia Heldberg, Associate Dean, leads our SOM Admissions Office, and Aileen Edwards is our Director of Admissions. The Chair of the Admissions Committee is a woman physician, Dr. Michelle Whitehurst-Cook, and 13 of 35 members of the Admissions Committee are women. Fifty-two percent of this year’s entering first year medical students are women, and 45% of our medical students across all four years are women.

In 1999, VCU established an Institute for Women’s Health with Dr. Susan Kornstein, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, as Director. The mission of the Institute s to improve the health of women through health education, research, clinical care, and leadership development and create synergy within VCU, and foster coordinated alliances within the greater community. The momentum for this Institute came from our women faculty. Four of the five members of the Institute’s Steering Committee are women. The Institute has recently competed successfully for a $2.7 million, five-year NIH award for junior faculty development in the area of “Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health.” In the review panel’s comments, there was particular praise for the environment for faculty development and our WIM Program at VCU: “There is a strong emphasis on faculty mentoring, demonstrated by a comprehensive Faculty Mentoring Guide compiled by VCU.”

The Women’s Health Track in Internal Medicine was initiated four years ago, and is one of only 11 such programs in the nation that offers comprehensive, interdisciplinary training in Women’s Health. Dr. Wendy Klein, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Obstetrics-Gynecology, is the founder and director. One of the factors that has led to the program’s resounding success is its strong mentoring component. Dr. Klein is also the founding president of our WIM Faculty Organization.

Dr. Joy Ware, Professor of Pathology, is chair of the search committee for the Chair of Biochemistry. An increased number of women are appointed as members of chair search committees. The top two candidates for chair of the Department of Human Genetics are women. The Chief Operating Officer of MCV Hospitals is a woman. The next Vice President for Research at VCU, effective September 1, 2000, is a woman. The newly created VCU Grace E. Harris Institute for Leadership headquartered on our Academic Campus has acknowledged the outstanding work of our SOM Women’s Program and OFID. I cannot attribute a direct cause-and-effect for these developments; however, it is my conviction that the efforts of this multifaceted WIM program have fostered an environment that is recognizing the strength women bring to our academic medical center.

I want to mention one additional successful outcome of the combined efforts of the leaders of our WIM program. Some background is required. During the winter 2000 legislative session, the Virginia General Assembly and the Governor authorized the establishment of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Authority, effective July 1, 2000. This new structure combines the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) Hospitals Authority, MCV Physicians, and the clinical functions of the SOM into a single organization, with one CEO, one budget, and a unified governance system. Oversight and leadership will be provided by the creation of the VCU Health Authority Board. The Board membership builds on the current 16-member MCV Hospitals Authority Board of Directors with five additional appointments representing our physicians. Through the work of the leaders of our WIM program, two of the five new physician appointees are women. These two women were appointed by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Governor and Speaker of the House, respectively. In addition, leaders in our WIM program facilitated the election of 3 women physicians as members at large (3 of 8 members possible) to the Board of the MCV Physicians.

In closing, I am proud to submit the VCU School of Medicine Women in Medicine Program for the AAMC 2000 Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award. These women leaders have quietly but persistently pushed uphill against various institutional obstacles in working for a climate of change. They have embraced principles of equity, fairness, opportunity, professionalism and diversity and have enhanced the environment for all of our faculty members. I personally am grateful to them for their ideas, their energy, and their persistence. They have scattered their ideas like seeds, not only locally here at VCU, but into many other institutions across the country. Their ideas and efforts continue to be the strength behind our work in the School of Medicine at MCV of VCU. It is a privilege to work with them and nominate them for this prestigious award.


H.H. Newsome, Jr., M.D.
Dean, School of Medicine