Vol. 12 No. 4 - November, 2009

Building an inclusive faculty community

faculty
Robert Carlin Photography
Page Morahan, PhD, ELAM founding director (above), and Diane Magrane, MD, ELAM current director, led a workshop on faculty teamwork, inclusiveness, engagement, recognition and access to institutional leaders.

According the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), nearly 50 percent of incoming medical students are women. Yet, an internal study completed in 2008 revealed that women fill about 37 percent of academic leadership positions and 34 percent of mid-level management roles at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center. While these numbers are better than AAMC averages, UMMS leadership is committed to dramatically improving those statistics and fostering an inclusive and diverse faculty; this commitment was formalized in the UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial joint academic health sciences center strategic plan.

Efforts to achieve this essential goal were underway at UMMS even before the strategic plan was developed. A variety of initiatives address two priorities, the first of which is to increase the number of women in higher academic ranks, which is typically a prerequisite for strategic leadership positions. But it’s about more than numbers. “The other piece is creating an environment that qualitatively supports women’s advancement and leadership,” explained Judith Ockene, PhD, MEd, MA, the Barbara Helen Smith Chair in Preventive & Behavioral Medicine and professor of medicine and interim vice provost for Faculty Affairs.

In 2007 UMMS began sponsoring annual fellows for the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, the nation’s only in-depth program focused on preparing senior women faculty at schools of medicine and dentistry for strategic leadership roles. Fellows Deborah M. DeMarco, MD, and Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, both professors of medicine and 2009 ELAM scholars, have joined fellow UMMS “Elums” Michele P. Pugnaire, MD, professor of family medicine & community health, and Julia V. Johnson, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics & gynecology.

In addition to supporting women faculty in attending early- and mid-career symposia offered by the AAMC, the Office of Faculty Affairs (OFA) is developing a leadership lecture series and the Faculty Advancement and Development Liaison Committee was established last year to identify and coach promotable individuals, especially women. And, in 2010, the Women’s Leadership Working Group, a volunteer body, will focus on work/life issues for faculty. “Our approach is strategic and multi-pronged, using strategies on several levels to establish a strong foundation for women’s advancement and leadership,” noted Dr. Ockene.

Our approach is strategic and multi-pronged,

using strategies on several levels to establish a strong foundation for women’s advancement and leadership.

Judith Ockene, PhD, MEd, MA

Earlier this month, the Dean’s Office, the OFA , the Women’s Leadership Working Group and Women’s Faculty Committee sponsored a day-and-a-half long leadership symposium led by Page Morahan, PhD, ELAM founding director and Diane Magrane, MD, ELAM current director, with themes that included teamwork, inclusiveness, engagement, recognition and access to institutional leaders. One of the highlights was a participatory session, “Building an Inclusive and Engaged Faculty Community,” at a special faculty luncheon. The session featured an interactive discussion about what it means to feel included and what strategies could be used to create and sustain an inclusive faculty.

Attended by Chancellor Michael Collins and Provost and Dean Terry Flotte, UMass Memorial CEO John O’Brien and UMass Memorial President Walter Ettinger, as well as women faculty in leadership positions at UMMS, the symposium was an example of leadership’s commitment to inclusion and equity.