Faculty Engage in AAMC Early Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar

May 21, 2024 by

Monique Vaughan, MD, Ashley Garneau MD, Susan Pollart, MD, Chelsea Braun, PhD, Catherine (Cate) Varney, DO, Kelsie Kelly, PhD

(From left) Monique Vaughan, MD, Ashley Garneau MD, Susan Pollart, MD, Chelsea Braun, PhD, Catherine (Cate) Varney, DO, Kelsie Kelly Smith, PhD, MPH

Recently, five UVA School of Medicine faculty members were selected to participate in the February 2024 AAMC Early Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar: Chelsea Braun, PhD, Ashley Garneau, MD, Kelsie Kelly Smith, PhD, MPH, Cate Varney, DO, and Monique Vaughan, MD. All received Leadership Development Travel Awards from the Committee on Women in Medicine and Science (COWIMS) to support their attendance at this important seminar that provides women at the assistant professor level with foundational leadership knowledge and skills that will enable them to achieve their career goals, advance, and thrive as successful leaders in academic medicine and science. COWIMS is glad to be able to support these faculty members on their career path.

The UVA faculty attendees of the February 2024 Seminar and the July 2023 Seminar (Dr. Carrie Cowardin and Dr. Lindsay Somerville) shared their experiences with the application process and some highlights from the conference for a virtual COWIMS Event on Tuesday, May 21. This COWIMS event was designed for people who are considering any of the AAMC conferences for women faculty and mentors/sponsors who want to know more about the application process and the benefits of attending these conferences.

The AAMC Early Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar (aka EWIM) focuses on helping the attendees establish personal leadership skills and practices to serve as a foundation for success as they prepare to advance to higher faculty ranks and navigate into leadership positions. UVA attendees reported learning from peers and experts. Dr. Vaughan, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, shared “I loved hearing about the experiences of my colleagues at other institutions, and ways in which they have overcome challenges to make their institutions more fair/equitable, and also advice from “experts” about these challenging situations.”

Dr. Kelly Smith, an assistant professor of public health sciences, shared a similar sentiment and also felt that the seminar helped to prepare her for the promotion and tenure process: the seminar “was a great opportunity to connect with other women in schools across the country. I truly appreciated learning about other PhDs experiences in medical schools and their processes toward tenure. It has positioned me well to prepare myself for the tenure and promotion process with confidence in negotiating and owning what I bring to the university, academic scholarship and mentoring the next generation of public health professionals.”

Networking was another theme that the attendees found very helpful. Dr. Garneau, an assistant professor of anesthesiology, shared, “The structure and content of the conference itself was fantastic, as was the ample opportunity to network with women from all over country (and world!) from across so many disciplines and specialties. I can’t recommend the conference enough!” Dr. Varney, an assistant professor of family medicine, reported that the conference was “an empowering journey. I left with renewed inspiration, a network of supportive peers, and a deeper commitment to advancing in my career with confidence and purpose.”

In terms of particularly important sessions, Dr. Braun, a research assistant professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health shared, “I was particularly impacted by the opening session presented by Diana Lautenberger, director of gender equity initiatives for AAMC, which highlighted the persistent issues that women continue to face in academic medicine and their root causes. This session served as a call to action for me —and emphasized the importance of developing leadership skills so we can all better advocate for gender equity in medicine.” Multiple participants also remarked on how helpful the session on school of medicine finances was because it helped them to understand broader financial concerns of large academic institutions.

Susan Pollart, MD, senior associate dean for UVA School of Medicine Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development is an EWIM veteran, having taught continuously in the program since 2006. Dr. Pollart is thrilled by the participation of UVA SOM faculty in EWIM noting the important role that EWIM and similar programs play in expanding the professional network for women faculty members and facilitating faculty engagement and vitality.

COWIMS offers Leadership Development Travel Awards to support assistant professor faculty members to attend the AAMC Early Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar and associate professor faculty members to attend the AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar. Contact Kate McManus, MD, chair of COWIMS, with questions about these seminars or the travel award.

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Filed Under: Faculty