Volume 8, No. 2

FROM THE PRESIDENT--------------------------

Taking Stock

As my year as President of SELAM International draws to an end, it seems like a good time to take stock of the organization’s progress over the past year. To say that I am extremely proud of what the Board of Directors and the entire membership have accomplished would be a gross understatement.

Last year I set out with many audacious goals for my year as President, all geared to help SELAM on its quest to come of age. We have ventured hard to meet our goals for the year.  The accomplishments of your Board of Directors and the membership are too many to list here, so I am highlighting some of the most significant:

  • The first weekend-long Board of Directors’ retreat: your entire Board gave up a July weekend to work in a cramped hotel room at O’Hare Airport to plan the year ahead. What dedication! One outcome was a major update of our “written memory”, the Policies and Procedures document, first developed by Past President Alice Speer.
  • Increased effectiveness of Board of Directors meetings – everyone is involved!
  • Increased time commitment by Tori Odhner, our SELAM Administrator, now spending 40% of her time on SELAM business.
  • Tighter working relationships with ELAM (Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine) and the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), now partnering actively in several of our functions.
  • High-performance committees, making us look oh-so-good. Some examples:
    • The Communications Committee, led by MaryLou Voytko, has brought us into a new era, with many accomplishments:
      • A new logo, wonderful give-aways – to keep SELAM visible.
      • An Assistant Editor for the newsletter, SELAM International News – Leilani Doty and Chief Editor Kris Lohr are a dynamic duo.
      • SELAM International News is now entirely electronic and therefore will be able to come out more frequently (packed with great articles and wonderful information – at 38 pages, the last printed one required a small wheelbarrow for portage).
    • The Finance Committee, led by Elizabeth Kunkel, our strictest and most effective Treasurer yet, has revamped our portfolio, with earnings already coming in. We are more fiscally sound than ever, albeit not “rich”.
    • The Membership Committee, under the guidance of Pam Zarkowski, has processed new applications in a much more timely fashion, communicating with new members, and preparing the first ever Membership Certificates. (For those who have not received theirs yet, they are on their way!)
    • The Program Committee, in one conference call, pulled a rabbit out of a hat, and accomplished more that I thought ever possible. Thank you, Co-Chairs Kathleen Sazama and Lindsey Grossman!
    • The Nominating Committee: the ballot full of superbly qualified candidates resulted in a tight election; our future is in great hands.
  • Our first formal Annual SELAM Report (by your dedicated Secretary, Helen Li, who is prompt and highly polished with her tasks and persistent in reminding us to complete our tasks.  What a breath of fresh air – even during a hurricane evacuation, Helen kept plugging along…WOW)!
  • Increased membership and participation by members with more volunteers serving on committees.
  • Increased visibility with current ELAM fellows and non-ELUMs (ELAM alumnae).
  • Increased presence at American Dental Education Association functions.
  • Formation of the President’s Advisory Committee (past ELAM Presidents and other leaders) – thank you for your ongoing expertise!
  • Expansion of our Awards with the 1st Presidential Award for Excellence and the 1st Distinguished Member Award.
  • Establishment of Regional SELAM Conferences. The first one will occur in Aspen CO, Au gust 10-12, 2006.

This organization has grown every year, thanks to the hard work of my predecessors and colleagues. Each one has taken SELAM to a new level.  I am proud of our year of accomplishments and turn the Presidency over to the capable hands of Chris Abrass. Serving as your President has been such a pleasure and an extreme honor. Thank you for the privilege.

Roberta E. Sonnino, MD, FACS, FAAP
President, SELAM, 2005-06
Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs
Creighton University School Of Medicine 2500 California Plaza
Omaha NE 68178
Ph: (402) 280-1135
Fax: (402) 280-1410
[email protected]


Looking Ahead

It is with great pleasure that I look forward to serving as SELAM President starting in April. I see next year as a pivotal year in which SELAM will work to hone its success in developing women leaders with sufficient confidence in the current success of women to 1) support those who take risks to achieve greatness and 2) develop women leaders of the future.

As ELAM (Executive Leadership for Academic Women) celebrates its 10th year, we herald the effect this program has had on the advancement of women in academic medicine. Whether or not we had the opportunity to be an ELAM fellow, the impact of this program is widely evident. Women are now represented in all areas of leadership in academic medicine. The path that this lights for younger women will maximize the development and realization of their talents to influence the evolution of our profession.

SELAM is an excellent complement to the ELAM program. It offers continuing education and networking for ELUMs and non-ELUMs alike. Through partnerships with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and other societies, SELAM amplifies the effects of our commitment to the development of women in leadership in academic medicine and dentistry. SELAM activities provide one day of the ELAM fellowship experience, which helps to ensure that this program will continue to benefit future generations of women. These are some of the past accomplishments. I have the benefit of climbing atop the broad shoulders of those who led before me to continue to provide foundation and support for the year ahead.

So what's next?

As most leaders know, achieving a leadership position seems easy, once one is faced with the responsibility for visionary guidance and problem solving in the face of growing challenges. Leaders succeed in leaving their profession better than they found it through support and wisdom from trusted colleagues. At this stage, developing a network of talent is critical to support women leaders, so that they will thrive and continue to serve as examples of success for others.

We must also be an active force in bridging the generation chasm that exists in academic medicine. We must reach back and assist women students and trainees in defining a path to success that is consistent with the future that they will experience.

I invite each of you to join in crafting this next phase.

Christine K. Abrass, MD
President, SELAM, 2006-07
Professor of Medicine
University of Washington School of Medicine
Seattle WA
Ph: (206) 764-2002

Fax: (206) 764-2022 [email protected] 

© SELAM International

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From the President

Ask Dr. Susan

Editor’s Corner

Communications Committee

Board of Directors

Book Reviews

Issues in the Workplace
  • Changing Interactions
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Physician Executive’s Coach


Strategic Career Planning


Special Features

ELAM 2005-06 Report

Meeting Highlights

Message from Saralyn Mark

Photo Gallery

Woman Knows


Membership Information

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Due date for inclusion in next newsletter:
July 15th

Photo Credits:
Roberta Sonnino, M.D., F.A.C.S, F.A.A.P.
Deidra Lyngard, M.F.A.
Kris Lohr, M.D.