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Learning opportunities highlight IU’s commitment to women in medicine

Kathi Miller

Indiana University School of Medicine<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=za"> is driven to engage women and help them in their career journeys. Whether by providing mentorship, professional lectures and programs, or opportunities for career development, IU School of Medicine strives to enhance the journeys of women in medicine.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

One impactful program that many IU School of Medicine faculty have been involved with is the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. This program<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=za"> is a year-long, part-time fellowship for women faculty in schools of medicine, dentistry, public health and pharmacy. The program is dedicated to developing the professional and personal skills required in today’s complex health care environment, with focus on the unique challenges facing women in leadership.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

This year, IU School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA nominated Kathy Miller, MD to participate in the ELAM program. Miller<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=za"> is the Ballvé-Lantero Professor of Oncology at IU School of Medicine and the associate director of clinical research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. Miller was chosen to participate in ELAM through the Women’s Advisory Council’s competitive selection process.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

“I actually first learned about the ELAM program from several of the alumni of the program who were on the faculty here,” Miller said. “They both reached out to me personally as a potential candidate for the program—a program they thought would be helpful for my own career development.”<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

Though excited by the opportunity, Miller said she knew it would mean a lot of juggling, acknowledging “many of our faculty wear a lot of hats at work and a lot of hats at home.” As much as she wanted to be a part of the program, she said it was vital for her to talk with her colleagues, supervisors and family about her time commitment to not only this program, but her other duties as well. She was met with understanding and support and has been preparing for her first in-person session in September.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

With faculty “wearing lots of hats,” IU School of Medicine leaders understand how difficult it might be to be involved in programs such as ELAM. However, the dean’s office is dedicated to finding ways to support all women who are wanting to excel in their profession.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

Miller said that programs such as ELAM, as well as other aspects of IU School of Medicine, foster an inclusive environment.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

“I think there is a huge amount of data that shows organizations that are more inclusive—not just of women, but of people of different races, different ethnicities and different cultural backgrounds—are more successful in whatever they do,” said Miller. “This is a clear reason why it is important to IU. Valuing diversity and inclusion has helped us recruit the best talent and the best students.”<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development Mary Dankoski, PhD agreed with Miller on the importance of attracting top talent to the institution. According to Dankoski, the focus for IU School of Medicine must be on creating an environment of inclusivity and excellence that will appeal to best and brightest. .<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

“Our faculty are the greatest resource we have. To be a premier medical school and achieve our goals of improving health and transforming health care, we must foster an inclusive climate and invest in the recruitment, retention and advancement of all faculty,” Dankoski said<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

“We know that across the country, and here at IU School of Medicine, we need more women and faculty of color in leadership positions and in advanced faculty ranks. We take the responsibility of supporting faculty, and especially women and persons of color, very seriously. As a result, we make significant investments in IU School of Medicine programs and in sponsoring women to attend external programs as well.”<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

In addition to Miller’s nomination for ELAM, Lois Travis, MD<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=za"> is also being sponsored for an external program. Supported by the Women’s Advisory Council’s competitive selection process and formally nominated by Dankoski, Travis will be attending the Rudi Ansbacher Women in Academic Medicine Leadership Scholars Program at the University of Michigan. She is the Lawrence H. Einhorn Professor of Cancer Research at IU School of Medicine and a researcher at the IU Simon Cancer Center. Recognized as an expert on cancer survivorship, Travis is devoted to her cancer patients’ health and providing treatments that protect them from long-term side effects.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

She is the first woman from IU School of Medicine to participate in this program. The program<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=za"> is an intensive 18-month leadership development program designed to accelerate the development of women for senior positions in academic medicine and health care. It is open to all leadership roles who have a demonstrated commitment to supporting the advancement of women.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

For Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development Megan Palmer, PhD supporting opportunities for female faculty members to explore continuing education opportunities is important to the school’s continued success.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

“Female faculty at IU School of Medicine will find various programs and workshops available to help support their needs and aid in their professional development. This includes activities sponsored by the Women’s Advisory Council, such as the Women in Medicine and Science Conference and the Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity (FAPDD) Stepping Stones in Women in Leadership series,” Palmer said.<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

“It also means FAPDD sponsoring women to attend AAMC national meetings. We are committed to the success of each member of our faculty and know that women in medicine experience unique challenges.”<~ ink.aspx?_id="92302C6E9AFF496F9C96F9952B50ABB7&_z=zp">

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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IU School of Medicine

With more than 60 academic departments and specialty divisions across nine campuses and strong clinical partnerships with Indiana’s most advanced hospitals and physician networks, Indiana University School of Medicine is continuously advancing its miss...