News Update

Welcome to the first issue of the SELAM International News Update! This will be a more rapid way to let members know what’s going on, spiced with career development articles that you expect in SELAM International News. Please complete this survey on the newsletter, so we can target your needs.

I am pleased to report that SELAM is having a banner year. There is more productive and organized committee activity than we have seen in a long time, membership is growing, and members are volunteering for offices and committees more than ever before. The afternoon workshop at the annual AAMC meeting, summarized below by Dr. Helen Li, was a resounding success. (If you attended this meeting please fill out the evaluation, for access to a special transcription of the flip charts from the small groups. Your input is very valuable to us!) Suffice it to say that with 40 pre-registrations, we anticipated an attendance of approximately 60 people. For those of you who stood in line to register on site, it will come as no surprise to know that we had over 60 onsite registrations, bringing the attendance to over 105 people. I have never been so happy to run out of chairs, handouts, etc. The discussion continued well past the scheduled end of the session. At the workshop, we introduced our new logo, with magnets and post-it note give-aways. We are also preparing a lapel pin to distribute to our members, that we hope will continue to raise the visibility of SELAM. We are very pleased with our enhanced partnership with AAMC, and hope it will continue to evolve.

The SELAM awards reception was also a huge success, with the room packed, requiring abundant use of elbows and “pardon me’s” to move around. The SELAM Award for Excellence was presented to Dr. Page Morahan and Dr. Walter Cohen (who will actually receive his at the ADEA meeting in March 2006), for their role in dreaming up the concept of ELAM. Needless to say, the entire room gave Page a standing ovation. Dr. Deborah E. Powell was the recipient of the first SELAM Presidential Award for Excellence, recognizing her as a role model for all women aspiring to leadership roles in academic medicine. That this presentation would fall on her last day as the first woman Chair of the AAMC Council of Deans seemed particularly fitting! The number of deans present in the room was unprecedented: thank you all for coming! The deans of the current ELAM fellows were asked to introduce their fellow. An interesting “adoption” program emerged for those fellows whose deans were not present: many of the deans in the room, as well as other members of the current ELAM class, took it upon themselves to introduce “orphaned” fellows, so none were left alone.

I am also pleased to announce the composition of the President’s Advisory Council:

Chair: Karen P West Immediate Past President (DDS) 2004-2005

Past Presidents:

Deans Advisory Committee

Thank you to all for agreeing to serve.

Please watch your email for important announcements in the next few weeks:

There is lots of enthusiasm within SELAM right now, with great plans and ideas. We hope to keep the momentum going. I encourage all of you to keep in touch with me or any member of the SELAM leadership, to give us feedback on how we can make your organization even better.

I want to offer my personal thank you to all of those who worked so hard over the past few months to make such an exciting time for SELAM. Without your hard work, none of it would be happening. I continue to be humbled by the incredible talent surrounding me in this organization.

To all the members of SELAM, their families and loved ones, on behalf of the Board, my best wishes for a happy, healthy and stress-free holiday season. May the New Year be a great one for all!

Roberta E. Sonnino, MD
President, SELAM International


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New Generations in Academic Medicine

Helen K. Li, MD (SELAM Secretary and ELAM 1999-2000)

The 2005 AAMC Annual Meeting was held in Washington DC (November 4 - 9, 2005). The Society for Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (SELAM) and Women in Medicine co-sponsored the workshop, Changing the Culture -- Gen-X’ers and the New Leadership Paradigm. It was standing room only. Presenters Janet Bickel, MA, and Ann Brown, MD, are co-authors of Generation X: Implications for Faculty Recruitment and Development in Academic Health Centers (Acad Med 2005 80:205-10).

Brown, Associate Dean for Women and Medicine in Science at Duke University Medical Center, began the workshop by describing the characteristics and profile of recent generations -- veterans, baby boomers, Gen-X’ers and Nexter’s. Brown’s insights addressed the tensions between the four generations in our work force and the implications for academic health centers. She suggested that awareness of generational differences would help academic health centers understand some of the challenges in faculty development. Differences manifest as gaps in expectations on mentoring and faculty careers and what the “ideal worker” looks like. Consciousness of generational differences helps form strategies for generations to work together more effectively. It also enhances recruitment and moving Generation X’ers into faculty and leadership roles. Academic health centers should be cross-generationally friendly to create high-performing work teams and attract the best faculty.

Bickel, president of Janet Bickel and Associates and previously AAMC ‘s Director of the Office of Women in Medicine and Vice President for Medical School Affairs, offered ideas to improve faculty recruitment and development. She discussed improving mentoring, adding flexibility to integrate personal and professional lives, and enhancing proactive leadership development. Bickel emphasized the importance of developing competencies in mentoring “across differences” and offered some common mentor pitfalls: pretending differences don’t exist, undervaluing other points of view, automatically communicating biased versions of “reality,” and unskilled or rushed feedback. Advice on mentoring Generation X’ers included: creation of a clear picture of what is to be accomplished and division of this into goals, focus on outcomes but letting the how-to to them, giving timely and specific feedback, identification of options for building skills, connection with other role models, and encouraging the protégé to mentor others.

Ms. Bickel believes proactive leadership development relies on effective mentoring. She suggested career and leadership development be incorporated earlier in undergraduate and medical education and holding leaders accountable for behavioral competencies. She cited some examples from the Veterans Affairs’ high performance development model - effectively involve team members in building consensus; use negotiation skills in work groups to resolve conflicts; share information readily; encourage employees to express opinions, ideas and concerns; listen empathetically; invite contact; and be easy to approach.