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Shlomit Schaal admitted to premier leadership program for women in medicine

Ophthalmology physician-scientist named newest UMass Medical School ‘ELUM’

  Shlomit Schaal, MD, PhD

Shlomit Schaal, MD, PhD

The Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia has announced that Shlomit Schaal, MD, PhD, professor and chair of ophthalmology & visual sciences, has been named a fellow in the class of 2017- 2018.

Dr. Schaal will participate in the intensive year-long program for women in medicine and dentistry which develops the professional and personal skills required to lead and manage in today's complex health care environment, with special attention to the unique challenges facing women in leadership positions. ELAM is a core program of Drexel’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership. It is the nation’s only in-depth program focused on preparing senior women faculty at schools of medicine and dentistry to effect positive change.

“As a new chair, I face many challenges that I have not experienced before in my previous role as a retina division chief,” said Schaal. “I anticipate that by participating in ELAM, I will develop my leadership and my communication skills, and acquire management skills and administrative knowledge that will allow me to better serve. It will also allow me to contribute to the advancement, growth and progress of our institution.”

ELAM fellowships are awarded following an in-depth application process, and acceptance into the program is highly competitive. Held both here and in residence at Drexel, the curriculum features small group workshops that build camaraderie and support among participants as it focuses on the skills, perspective and knowledge required to lead and manage effectively in today’s complex academic health center environment. The program year culminates in a one-and-a-half-day forum where the fellows, along with their deans and top experts, explore a new methodology or strategy for addressing a timely issue facing academic health center leadership.

For her project, Schaal aims to increase the engagement and alignment of UMMS physicians by working with the UMass Memorial Health Care Physician Engagement Committee in the thematic areas of communication, burnout and community.

“Increasing physician engagement and alignment should be top priority for academic health centers.  Recognizing that academic physicians are valued faculty members is imperative,” Schaal wrote in her project proposal. “We expect to make a significant difference in physician engagement through a united focus on the CBC approach.”

Schaal joins a growing core of women faculty leaders at the Medical School who have participated in ELAM. Other UMMS ‘ELUMS’ and their fellowship years are:

  • Vivian Budnik, PhD, the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research Chair and chair and professor of neurobiology (2014 – 2015);
  • Mary  Lee, MD, the Stoddard Chair of Pediatrics, chair and professor of pediatrics, professor of cell & developmental biology and physician-in-chief of the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center (2014 – 2015).
  • Ellen Gravallese, MD, the Myles J. McDonough Chair in Rheumatology, professor of medicine and cell biology and chief of the Division of Rheumatology (2012 – 2013);
  • Jean King, PhD, vice chair and professor of psychiatry and associate provost for biomedical science research (2011 – 2012);
  • Katherine  Ruiz de Luzuriaga, MD, the UMass Memorial Health Care Chair in Biomedical Research, professor of molecular medicine, pediatrics and medicine, and vice provost for clinical and translational research (2010 – 2011);
  • Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, the Worcester Foundation For Biomedical Research Chair II, vice chair and professor of medicine, associate dean for clinical & translational research and director of the MD/PhD program (2009 – 2010);
  • Deborah  DeMarco, MD, professor of medicine, associate dean for graduate medical education and senior associate dean for clinical affairs (2009 – 2010);
  • Julia Johnson, MD, chair and professor of obstetrics & gynecology (2007 – 2008);
  • Michele Pugnaire, MD, professor of family medicine & community health and medicine and senior associate dean for educational affairs (2006 – 2007);
  • Luanne Thorndyke, MD, professor of medicine and vice provost for faculty affairs (2001 – 2002); and
  • Joanna Cain, MD, professor of obstetrics & gynecology and director of faculty talent management for the Office of Faculty Affairs (1995 – 1996). 

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