Archive for the 'Women in Medicine' category

Twenty-Fourteen Travel Begins

Just one week into the new year, and I am already on the road. As I write this post, I await the first leg of my trip to San Antonio for the alumnae group of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine for Women. This every-other-year get-together will give me a chance to learn new stuff, reconnect with friends and mentors, and renew my professional self. 

One topic for this meeting will be fashion and image. Since we would be focused on these issues, I felt compelled to dress the part. This meant some planning via a spreadsheet:

WardrobPlannerPx

First I identified the key events for each day of my meeting. I then identified the most appropriate form of dress for those events. Since Friday will focus on fashion, it’s the day I want to shine in my nice suit. I do have some meetings on my travel days, but a nice pair of dark-wash jeans with a jacket or cardigan will work for these rather casual gatherings. The other two program days also require business attire, but not necessarily as polished as Friday. By planning items that coordinate with my suit and other accessories, I can maximize my wardrobe flexibility and minimize my luggage requirements. 

Spreadsheets are not just for accountants; they provide a great way to organize all sorts of data. 

By the way, for my friends in the north, San Antonio is supposed to be ~70 degrees while I am there. The deep-freeze should be well out of OKC by the time I get home as well. Not that I would taunt about that…well, actually, I would!

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What I Am Reading: Cake vs. Pie

Jun 12 2013 Published by under Women in Medicine, Women in Science

Really I would rather just have a spoon and a bowl of frosting. Chocolate frosting. With chocolate chips.

Love the gold fish!

Of course, this post is not really about desserts. It considers the purposes of mentoring.  I suspect that every job in the US above the fast-food server includes some sort of mentoring. Corporations and academia noted the role of informal mentoring in career success many years ago, and mentoring programs have become commonplace. Gender inequity in the workplace has been attributed, in part, to the lack of mentoring for women.  Make the Most of Mentoring: Capitalize on Mentoring and Take Your Career to the Next Level explores the components of common formal mentoring programs and contrasts them with the informal mentoring that inspired them. It's author, Susan Colantuono, founded Leading Women™.

According to Colantuono, women have not benefitted from these formal programs because they get too much CAKE and not enough PIE. Mentoring, informal or through formal programs, can provide a lot of different types of support. Most formal programs focus on CAKE:

  • Confidence
  • Aptitude/Attitude/Advice
  • Konnection to resources (yes, this took a twist to make the acronym work; get over it)
  • Encouragement

These aspects of career development are important. Too many women take themselves out of competition for new positions and assignments because they are missing these components. However, to really crack through the glass ceiling to the next level, you need PIE:

  • Performance
  • Image
  • Exposure

Performance is not just how someone performs; it also considers the performance of the business. Someone may be doing a great job, but they will never scale the heights of a corporation until they have responsibilities and demonstrate competency in operations and strategic capabilities for the core business.

Image incorporates appearance and attitude. Unless you look and act like a competent, confident professional, others will not see you moving up to the next level of leadership. This competency is more than wearing the correct clothes; vocabulary, body language, and other personal traits influence how a person is seen by others.

Exposure involves seeing how work is done at higher levels. Who makes strategic decisions? If you aspire to these positions, you need to be at the table for these sorts of activities.

The book paints a vivid picture of these differences, using real-life examples from the work world. Making the jump to academia is a bit problematic; given the broad mission of an academic health center, what is our core mission? How do I position myself close to key operations and strategy?

Buyers of the book also get access to a number of free online resources, including worksheets for those entering into mentoring relationships.

Make the Most of Mentoring provides a quick read with a new perspective on the process of grooming new leaders. Click here to learn more about Leading Women™ and the books of Susan Colantuono.

 

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Book, Paper, Blog

This week a perfect storm descended on me, including a book, a paper, and a blog post:

All of these deal with the ongoing gender bias in our society, but particularly in our workplaces. Yes, men are at fault, but we XX folks are not blameless, either. My full thoughts on the integration of these readings is over at Academic Women for Equality Now. Please read that post, then get the book and peruse the other materials online.

Now think about how we can overcome these subtle, less blatant issues. Comment here or at awenow.org or at Zuska's place. We need to work together instead of against each other!

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More on Sponsors Plus Bonus Squee

Aug 02 2012 Published by under Women in Medicine, Women in Science

I have written before about sponsors versus mentors. Today at my other place, Academic Women for Equality Now, Rania Anderson gives her advice on this topic. Rania is President of The Way Women Work, a career and business advice site for women around the world.

Click here to read her post.

As an added bonus, a friend sent me a series of photos yesterday. A deer has been visiting a cat, and the cat's staff (some would say owner, but we who live with cats know who serves whom) took photos. As a public service, I am posting one here:

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Update and Redirection

Jun 26 2012 Published by under Women in Medicine, Women in Science, [Etc]

Yuck!

I woke up Friday morning with a finger that was hot, swollen and tender. Obviously infected, in other words. After three days of antibiotics my wound is on the mend again. The stitches came out last night, and my left middle finger no longer sticks out like a permanent "bird."

Today I am here to point you to Academic Women for Equality Now, my other project. The current post came from the Office of Women Faculty Programs at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Under the lead of Elizabeth Travis, PhD, they developed a systematic approach to nominating and promoting women for honorific awards. Click on over and read their advice. It's good advice for anyone asked to write nominations or recommendations!

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Welcome to My Weekend

Empowering today's leaders to guide tomorrow's healthcare enterprise

I spent another weekend (OK, a long, Thursday through Sunday weekend) on the road in Philadelphia. This time I attended the first meeting of a group now called Women Executives in Science & Healthcare (WESH).  This group consists of men and women who have middle- and upper-level management positions in academic medicine and dentistry and public health. As part of our recent rebranding, we developed the following definition:

Integrated network of executive leaders in healthcare & science across the academic health enterprise

We want to bridge the walls between disciplines both within and outside of academia. We hope to attract C-suite women in healthcare: Chief Legal Officers, Chief Medical Officers, and others in healthcare management who do not necessarily have a healthcare or science degree. Managers in biotech and pharma will also be interested in the networking opportunities provided by this group.

The educational portion of the Spring Summit, dedicated to Renewal and Redirection, can be found here. While not the largest gathering of twitterati on the planet, a handful of folks provided enough thoughts to produce this Storify:

Want to know more about WESH or think you might want to join? Click the links and learn more at our brand-spanking-new web site!

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A Brief Interlude

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Women in Medicine, Women in Science

First, a hearty thanks to all who read my posts from Experimental Biology. Blogging a meeting was a challenging yet fun experience. It enhanced my experience, and I hope it gave those "reading at home" some new information.

I flew home on Wednesday and went out again on Thursday for a committee meeting in Washington, DC, arriving back in Oklahoma on Friday about midnight. I am now covering the inpatient service until Thursday...when I leave town again.

I have another post or two from EB waiting for me to organize my material.

In the meantime, I finally solved a problem over on my site Academic Women for Equality Now. I wanted to share a 10+ MB PDF that contains women leadership scores for every college of medicine (COM) in the US. That file exceeds the upload/download capabilities of my web host. Today's post over there provides links to access the file in Google Docs. I hope you will all click on over and download the file. If you work at a COM in the book, please share it's status with your leadership. I hear a lot of COM deans et al state that their place is doing fine. They have female faculty and some in leadership positions. Until they see where each COM stands in relationship to the others in the country, they can't really know how they are doing.

Stay tuned; I will be back with more science and other stuff later in the week.

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Speaking of Mentors: You Also Need Sponsors

I did make an LOL cat for today's retread

The past 24 hours featured a great deal of stress and little sleep. The book review on tap for today is not going to happen.

Since we were on the topic of mentors, and the potential for over-mentoring, a previous post from one of my other sites came to mind. Enjoy!

And hope I get some sleep tonight.

This post originally appeared August 25, 2010, on PascaleLane's Stream of Thought:

The September [2010] issue of Harvard Business Review includes a fascinating article by Ibarra, Carter, and Silva examining the reasons women still do not achieve as much as men. “Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women” identifies differences in the types of “grooming” that the genders receive, and the gaps that keep women from breaking through all of those glass ceilings.

One of the quotes in the first paragraph really hit home with me:

Now I am being mentored to death.

My former chair identified me as someone with leadership potential over a decade ago. He connected me with a variety of development opportunities; ultimately, I felt “developed.” Now I lead one of the faculty leadership courses for my institution. We encourage participants to learn about themselves and to identify mentors both within and outside of our academic home. We are beginning to examine achievement several years later, and a question persists: Why do men seem to do so much better than women, even after the same opportunities?

According to  a 2008 Catalyst survey, 83% of women and 76% of men reported having at least one mentor during their career, yet only 65% of the women (compared with 72% of men) were promoted by the 2010 follow-up date. If mentoring is the key to success, why aren’t these women succeeding?

Turns out, the mentors differ. Men were more likely to be mentored by a senior executive (78% vs 69%), one with the organizational power to advocate their advisee as someone ready and worthy of taking the next step. The authors’ go on to differentiate between mentors and sponsors. Mentors provide emotional support, feedback , and other advice. They serve as role models, and assist their charges with institutional politics. Their focus is generally on personal and professional development with increased sense of competence and self-worth. Mentoring provides satisfaction; sponsorship is a necessity, though.

Sponsors must be senior leaders in good standing who can provide connections within the institution to facilitate promotion. A sponsor will assist their advisee in attaining opportunities and assignments, as well as protecting them from negative situations. Most important, a sponsor will fight for promotion of their people.

The senior management with the power and connections to make good sponsors are, unfortunately, overwhelmingly male. Such high-achievers often lack the sensibilities of a mentor, and throwing in the potential pitfalls in relationships (or perceptions thereof) between senior males and junior women, well, you can see why this relationship can be difficult.

So how can women get sponsors? Institutions interested in promoting high-potential women must establish sponsorship for them. The involved parties must be clear on the relationship; promotion is the goal! Such efforts cannot circumvent the woman’s current boss and job responsibilities, nor should mentorship be completely ignored. The leaders may also need to consider their own views on gender issues; women still have trouble navigating “the fine line between being ‘not aggressive enough’ or ‘lacking in presence’ and being ‘too aggressive’ or ‘too controlling’.”

What happens if a high-potential woman does not get appropriate sponsorship within her institution? In this study, at least, she leaves:

At Deutsche Bank, for example, internal research revealed that female managing directors who left the firm to work for competitors were not doing so to improve their work/life balance. Rather, they’d been offered bigger jobs externally, ones they weren’t considered for internally.

One of the development opportunities provided for me, the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program for women, included a bunch of structured interviews. Participants had to meet the dean and all sorts of C-suite officials for their institution. At the time, I found this activity useful because once I have met a person I feel pretty comfortable contacting them again. In light of this article, the activity provided another benefit- it put me on the radar of the people at my place of employment as someone with the potential to move up in the organization. I did not achieve true “sponsorship,” but if I were to do this again, that would be on the list.

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You Know You Want It...

Mar 01 2012 Published by under Women in Medicine, Women in Science

I have finally recovered officially from my stomach bug, tested at a local Mexican eating establishment last night with salsa and margaritas.  I have done actual science in the last 24 hours, and I have caught up on some other stuff.

The big news today is over at Academic Women for Equality Now, my Vision2020 project. I finally have the Female Faculty Friendliness Grade Cards for every US College of Medicine compiled into a single document, along with a bunch of the supporting data and analyses. This material originally appeared as a series of posts over 4 months. Now, you can more easily compare medical colleges by region, by type of position, you name it.

Unfortunately, the size of the document exceeds that of the upload capacity of my site (for now). I have a work-around, as you will see on the site.

Go ahead, click on over and get the PDF...you know you want it...

I am still looking for collaborators on the site: guest posts, people with other data sets to analyze, etc. If it deals even remotely with gender in the Ivory Tower, I will welcome your participation. Drop me a line!

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Am I Science? Yes, #IamScience

Compared to the other stories posting via this meme, I feel almost traditional.

I do not remember a time when science was not part of my life. I recall fondly reading and re-reading All About Dinosaurs. I had a tiny kit containing most of the minerals in Moh's scale. Mom refused to complete my set with her jewelry, so I had to imagine the upper levels of hardness. Biology clearly won my heart, though. How things could be alive fascinated me to no end.

Unlike many scientists, I was not the outdoorsy type. I read fashion magazines, did a bit of modeling, and entered some teen-queen pageants. I often joke that a hotel without 24-hour room service is my idea of camping. I love air conditioning and indoor plumbing; I fail to see how doing without these conveniences constitutes "fun." This quirk effectively ruled-out a career in paleontology or biological field work. I do love people. Having a father in academia, and coming of age during the 1970's PhD glut, teachers suggested aiming for an MD which guaranteed employment.

Click for source

Admission to medical school was fiercely competitive in that era, and I aimed my sights on a relatively new program at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. The medical curriculum began on day 1 out of high school and went 11 months each year for 6 years. Getting in meant avoiding the cut-throat competition among pre-med students on many campus. Its goal when pitched to the legislature was producing primary care physicians for under-served areas of Missouri, not academic physician-scientists. My second year there, I got a work-study job as a lab assistant for a fresh-out-of-post-doc carcinogenesis researcher needing cheap labor. This year provided my first experience with real science as I worked with the doctoral student and another lab to set up our efforts. Everyone, including this 19-year-old part-timer, needed to generate data. I learned to do short-term lymphocyte cultures, murine surgery, and a number of assays. The principal investigators of these labs strongly suggested that I figure out a way to pick up a PhD to go with my MD, since I loved the science so much.

The next few years brought more intensive courses and clinical work with overnight call, making meaningful lab time improbable if not impossible. I love science, but another kind of love intervened, along with a big princess wedding. By the time I graduated with my BA and MD, the idea of getting another advanced degree sounded exhausting and unnecessary. I headed off to pediatric residency with the intention of becoming a hematologist-oncologist, building on my background in carcinogenesis. Of course, I met a whole bunch of nephrologists and their patients who convinced me to take my talents elsewhere. After all, urine is golden!

My first 6 months of fellowship were a gray blur. Post-partum depression plus a prolonged period of call without a break left me feeling bleak. January in Minnesota is not exactly rosy, but I entered a lab and felt alive again. More than 100 patients with diabetes of various stages had kidney biopsy material stored for study. I began to ask questions about diabetic kidney disease, learning to do electron microscopy along the way. I published papers, completed my training, and landed a faculty position. National funding followed, along with a better position in Omaha, a great place to live and raise our offspring.

Eventually, my science hit the wall. One project just would not work, no matter what we tried. Another project got shot down by reviewer 3 at the same time the NIH budget tanked. I realized that I could not write a better grant than what I had submitted. The probability of getting the funding expected at my professional level was incredibly close to zero. Even efforts with smaller agencies to get funding for pilot data failed, as these foundations cut back support to established investigators during the recession.

The kids left the nest, and my hubby had an amazing job offer in a warmer town. We moved on last year, and I am turning my problem solving skills back to the clinic and to research in faculty development. I still have a grad student back in Nebraska (who is proving reviewer 3 wrong; take that!), and I love the chance to talk science on a regular basis. I do not miss the grant pressure or knowing that several other people will be out of a job if I fail.

Am I still science? When I see a patient, I gather data through a history and physical exam. I create a hypothesis as to what I believe is wrong, and I test that diagnosis through laboratory studies or treatment. If I am wrong, I go back, readjust my hypothetical diagnosis, and test again. Sounds like the scientific method to me.

I may not have a full-time lab. I may not be a funded PI. I still believe that I am science - with incredible fashion sense, of course.

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