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Equip Program

Mid-career women faculty need strong, versatile communication skills to navigate high-stakes presentations, meetings, interviews, and negotiations to achieve their career goals and strengthen the joy and meaning of their work.  They are often cornerstones of clinical, research and educational programs yet face obstacles to career advancement[1] and suffer higher rates of burnout and lower job satisfaction.[2]  

The Equip program brings these faculty together for peer-coaching and skills-based practice of workplace communication that advances their immediate and future career goals.   Participants in our 2023 program saw improvement in their communication skills (see results below) and gave this feedback:

“I was able to utilize the skills developed in the Equip program immediately in my work. This program gave me the confidence and drive to explore additional leadership opportunities.”

“Networking with people at a similar career stage was helpful and energizing.  Having dedicated time and opportunity for these sessions helped with refocusing and invigorating my career.”

“I really liked the role play which was thoughtful and well-prepared.  We could use our own true circumstances to do the role-playing, which was exceedingly helpful.”

Format:  6 two-hour sessions from January to March 2024 when participants will practice elevator speeches, brief high-impact presentations, effective use of social media, negotiation skills, navigating workplace conflict, and managing up via simulation with feedback from peers and expert facilitators.

Location: iCELS (simulation center) at UMass Chan Medical School

Facilitators: Jennifer Reidy, MD (course director), Emily Green PhD (assist vice provost, faculty affairs), Mary Ahn MD (vice provost, faculty affairs) and guest speakers

Nomination process:  faculty must be at the level of associate professor or assistant professor for more than 6 years.  They are nominated by their department chair who ensures they have protected time for the program sessions.  Deadline for chairs’ nominations is November 3, 2023.  Course leadership will then reach out to nominees for their CVs, statements of interest and commitment to the program schedule by December 1, 2023.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Reidy, MD, course director, at 

2023 Equip graduates:
Sandra Almeida, PhD                          Department of Neurology
Elena Byhoff, MD                                Department of Medicine
Stephanie Carter-Henry, MD               Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Amy Costigan, MD                              Department of Emergency Medicine
Janice Dominov, PhD                         Department of Neurology
Lela Giannaris, PhD                           Department of Radiology
Cynthia Jeremiah, MD                        Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Heidi Leftwich, DO                             Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
FNU Nutan, MD                                 Department of Dermatology
Mayra Tisminetzky, PhD                    Department of Medicine

2023 Participants’ self-rated communication skills (n=9/10 participants)


Pre-Equip self-rated score (mean)

Post-Equip self-rated score (mean)

% change

Delivering an elevator talk




Giving a brief, high-impact presentation




Crafting a message on social media




Utilizing negotiation skills




Navigating difficult workplace conversations




Managing up and across




2024 Equip graduates:
Isabel Castro, DO                              Department of Medicine, Division of Palliative Medicine
Deepika Devuni, MD                          Department of Medicine
Lara Kovell, MD                                 Department of Medicine
Anila Medina, MD, MPH                    Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine
Teresa Pazdral, MD, FACEP             Department of Emergency Medicine
Karen Salomon-Escoto, MD              Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology
Zheni Stavre, MD                              Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology
Peggy Wu, MD                                  Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology

[1] Richter KP, et al.  Women physicians and promotion in academic medicine.  N Engl J Med 2020;383:2148-57.

[2] Provider Wellness Survey (PWAC instrument), administered in 2020 at UMass Memorial Health/UMass Chan