Commentary: Interim Leadership of Academic Departments at US Medical Schools
ABSTRACT Medical schools and teaching hospitals are experiencing more frequent turnover of department chairs. Loss of a department chair creates instability in the department and may have a negative effect on the organization at large. Interim leadership of academic departments is common, and interim chairs are expected to immediately demonstrate skills and leadership abilities. However, little is known about how persons are prepared to assume the interim chair role. Newer competencies for effective leadership include an understanding of the business of medicine, interpersonal and communication skills, the ability to deal with conflict and solve adaptive challenges, and the ability to build and work on teams. Medical schools and teaching hospitals need assistance to meet the unique training and support needs of persons serving as interim leaders. For example, the Association of American Medical Colleges and individual chair societies can develop programs to allow current chairs to reflect on their present positions and plan for the future. Formal leadership training, mentorship opportunities, and conscientious succession planning are good first steps in preparing to meet the needs of academic departments during transitions in leadership. Also, interim leadership experience may be useful as a means for "opening the door" to underrepresented persons, including women, and increasing the diversity of the leadership team.
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ABSTRACT: One of Abraham Flexner's legacies was the concept of a professional faculty community responsible for teaching, scholarly work, and the creation and nurturing of the academic environment in medical schools. Dramatic shifts in society, health care, and educational practice have occurred over the century since Flexner's report, and these shifts have resulted in changes and challenges for medical school faculty. Fundamental principles that were articulated in Flexner's work remain relevant today: medicine is a profession, and as such is responsible for the education of the next generation of physicians; and the essential work of the medical school is the education of current and future generations of physicians. Medical schools must reconsider and restate the required characteristics and work of faculty members. Furthermore, we must develop a core faculty with primary responsibility for the educational program, the teaching of students, and the creation and nurturing of the academic environment. Enhancing the diversity of the faculty community, providing necessary faculty development, and further clarifying the forms of scholarly work in medicine are three ways that individual schools and national organizations can advance the educational mission through support of the faculty.Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 09/2010; 85(9 Suppl):S45-55. DOI:10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181f13618 · 2.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The number of women in academic medicine has steadily increased, although gender parity still does not exist and women leave academics at somewhat higher rates than men. The authors investigated the reasons why women leave careers in academic medicine. Semistructured, one-on-one interviews were conducted in 2007-2008 with 20 women physicians who had left a single academic institution to explore their reasons for opting out of academic careers. Data analysis was iterative, and an editing analysis style was used to derive themes. A lack of role models for combining career and family responsibilities, frustrations with research (funding difficulties, poor mentorship, competition), work-life balance, and the institutional environment (described as noncollaborative and biased in favor of male faculty) emerged as key factors associated with a decision to leave academic medicine for respondents. Faced with these challenges, respondents reevaluated their priorities and concluded that a discrepancy existed between their own and institutional priorities. Many respondents expressed divergent views with the institutional norms on how to measure success and, as a consequence, felt that they were undervalued at work. Participants report a disconnection between their own priorities and those of the dominant culture in academic medicine. Efforts to retain women faculty in academic medicine may include exploring the aspects of an academic career that they value most and providing support and recognition accordingly.Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 06/2011; 86(6):752-8. DOI:10.1097/ACM.0b013e318217e83b · 2.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To explore factors that may be involved in the persistent paucity of women leaders in U.S. academic medicine and to provide baseline gender-related data for developing strategies to promote gender equity in academic medicine leadership. Using data sets from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the authors examined the relationship of gender to career progression and to deanship characteristics by conducting descriptive and correlation statistical analyses for 534 full and interim deans (38 women; 496 men) appointed between 1980 and November 2006 (inclusive) to serve U.S. Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)-accredited medical schools. Although the number of women deans increased during the 27-year study period, the representation of women remains low (they constitute only 15% of deans appointed from 2000 to 2006) and has failed to keep pace with the percentages of women medical school faculty and students. On average, women deans-most with deanships at less research-intensive medical schools-obtained their initial doctorates from similarly less research-intensive schools, held more business-related advanced degrees beyond the original doctorate, took longer to be promoted to full professor, and had shorter tenures than did their men counterparts. Women leaders of U.S. LCME-accredited medical schools have taken longer to advance through the academic ranks, serve at less research-intensive institutions, and had shorter tenures than did men deans. These results underscore the challenges women leaders face in traditionally male-dominated organizations, and they provide baseline data to inform medical schools building inclusive senior leadership teams.Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 06/2012; 87(8):1015-23. DOI:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31825d3495 · 2.93 Impact Factor