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Achieving XXCellence in Science: Role of Professional Societies in Advancing Women in Science - Proceedings of a Workshop AXXS 2002 SESSION III Reports of Breakout Sessions
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Achieving XXCellence in Science: Role of Professional Societies in Advancing Women in Science - Proceedings of a Workshop AXXS 2002 Reports of Breakout Sessions After the presentations, workshop participants attended breakout sessions to elicit suggestions that might be taken back to the societies represented. Groups were asked to try to identify the specific obstacles that prevent women from advancing in clinical research and then to determine what could be done to address and overcome these obstacles. Some of the topics for discussion were leadership, visibility, and recognition; mentoring and networking; best practices (e.g., how can societies implement a five-year plan to ensure that leadership reflects each society’s demographics); and oversight, tracking, and accountability. Breakout group members were encouraged to ask themselves what specific steps societies can take to ensure that more women assume leadership roles, and how societies can be convinced that diversity is in their own best interest, that it is critical to their mission? What successful approaches, model practices, and programs have worked? How can they be adopted by other societies? What would an ideal program look like, and what would it take to make it happen? Leaders of the breakout sessions then presented summaries of the suggestions identified in each of the groups. These suggestions reflect the views of the individual presenters and do not necessarily represent the views of workshop participants as a whole.
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Achieving XXCellence in Science: Role of Professional Societies in Advancing Women in Science - Proceedings of a Workshop AXXS 2002 NANCY ANDREWS, M.D., PH.D. (HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL) LEADER, BREAKOUT SESSION 1 This group took a “strategic” approach to its mandate: Think strategically. Capitalize on the current culture and mindset: remind those in leadership positions that they will be missing opportunities to enrich their own societies, their own institutions, if they do not capitalize on the women in science. Take advantage of the current culture of networking: it’s not just the old boys’ network anymore. Change the current culture and mindset: (1) look at the definition of academic success in the appointment, promotion, and tenure process; (2) value mentoring for what it is and recognize it as a very important part of academic success; (3) look at the definition of scholarship, emphasizing and developing better metrics to incorporate and reward those who engage in collaborative and clinical research. Act strategically. Collect better data on clinical researchers. A survey might be undertaken with the lead of AXXS to determine the demographics of societies and whether the leadership and staff of those societies reflect their memberships. Look at some of the other equity issues such as salary, perhaps starting with the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), which does comprehensive salary surveys each year. Collect hard data on recruitment versus retention costs to suggest just how cost saving retention is. Related to this, promote a strategy of internal recruitment of women as well as external recruitment of women. Once these data are available, disseminate the data, with the help of the societies, to department chairs and the society memberships. Search for models, institutional-based and society-based, in three areas: Career development, which covers the categories of financial, academic, and scholarship. Specific areas might include grantsmanship, conflict management issues, negotiating skills, full career development workshops. Mentoring: determine awards and rewards societies are developing in this area so these models can be shared with others: The American Society of Hematology awards big grants for the mentee in which some of the evaluation criteria are related to the mentoring skills involved. Now the society is working toward rewarding the mentor financially. Recruiting and advancement: awards from national societies might be used to award department chairs or other leaders for appropriately recruiting and advancing women in science.
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Achieving XXCellence in Science: Role of Professional Societies in Advancing Women in Science - Proceedings of a Workshop AXXS 2002 W. SUE SHAFER, PH.D. (INSTITUTE FOR QUANTITATIVE BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH) LEADER, BREAKOUT SESSION 2 This group identified four action items that it thought could be implemented through the professional societies: Facilitate and highlight the value of mentorship through mentorship awards sponsored by the national societies. Look for ways to institutionalize the accountability and value of mentorship. Provide a mechanism for ongoing interaction between mid-level and senior-level women through society meetings and by societies working together to share information. Encourage editorial boards of societies to ensure that their boards reflect the demographics of their memberships. Governing bodies and elected officers should likewise reflect the societies’ makeup. Promote collaboration and interaction among societies. They should share information, avoid duplication, highlight well-functioning models, and continue the conversation begun at this workshop. MICHAEL LOCKSHIN, M.D. (WEILL COLLEGE OF MEDICINE OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY) LEADER, BREAKOUT SESSION 3 Our group started with rather small problems and then moved into the larger issues. It made the following suggestions: Analyze the infrastructure issues that affect women and men in the workplace: flexible work schedules, social support for child rearing and child care, administrative support, space issues. Recognize that local institutions (such as universities, hospitals, and research centers), societies (such as AAMC), and national institutions (such as the National Institutes of Health) can all put forth the arguments required to instill the flexibility needed in the system. Promote mentoring at all career levels, from predoctoral on up, that can be supported by individual institutions, societies, and national organizations. Seek role models of successful women who have managed to balance families and successful careers and make them highly visible. By constantly seeking new role models, one can avoid overburdening a few people.
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Achieving XXCellence in Science: Role of Professional Societies in Advancing Women in Science - Proceedings of a Workshop AXXS 2002 Publicize fiscal models that support retention of staff, comparing the cost of attrition with that of training new staff. Specific programs include debt forgiveness, staff reentry programs, and flexible arrangements. Present these issues as cutting across disciplines to funding agencies and Congress. HERBERT PARDES, M.D. (NEW YORK-PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL) LEADER, BREAKOUT SESSION 4 This group identified five areas that require emphasis. Ways in which women can more successfully balance their personal lives (including elder care and child care) and professional development. The criteria for promotion and tenure in universities. Organize a consensus conference on such criteria? Mentoring, from defining it to finding incentives for its adoption. Mentors must feel valued, and so links should be established with the criteria for promotion and tenure. The following concerns were raised about mentoring: Within research institutions, it is better that mentoring relationships be established between the mentee and more than one senior person (mentor)—for example, a mentee might have both a personal and a scientific mentor. Mentoring raised concerns because established clinical researchers seem to live more fragile lives than some of the basic scientists; placing young people in mentoring relationships with those whose own lives are precarious may present problems. In a related area, basic scientists may find it easier to extricate themselves from the mentor’s lab and establish their own independence than clinical researchers, who are so highly entangled in clinical investigations and collaboration. What is special and different about the clinical research environment. Young men and women from a medical training environment have far less in the way of basic training in research methodology, statistics, and many other areas that allow a researcher to succeed. As a result, more programs based on the curriculum programs run by the NIH are needed, and stipends should be attached. As for the role of the NIH, its debt forgiveness programs and financial support for mentors are laudable. It is also paying greater attention to the review of clinical research to ensure that clinical research gets a fair shot in its reviews rather than being overseen by a review panel made up of 11 basic scientists and a token clinical researcher. But the NIH should be in continuing contact with its consumers, its grantees, to see how it can better foster careers, and it should
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Achieving XXCellence in Science: Role of Professional Societies in Advancing Women in Science - Proceedings of a Workshop AXXS 2002 reconvene a clinical research panel similar to the one chaired by NIH Director Harold Varmus five to six years ago, because that kind of panel becomes a continuing prod and kind of overseer to ensure some of these things happen. Societies as agents for the development and advance of young clinical researchers. They can provide courses in how to negotiate and how to request resources and support from a university. If societies see themselves as allied with new scientists coming into clinical research, and as agents who will help these scientists succeed, they may often be able to do things that universities cannot do in this area. JEANNE SINKFORD, D.D.S., PH.D. (AMERICAN DENTAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION) LEADER, BREAKOUT SESSION 5 This group addressed three questions: What obstacles do societies face? What effective practices are already in place? What would we suggest as the outcome of this workshop? Obstacles Clinical research is usually viewed as a second-class citizen within institutions and societies, and in many contexts, not the least of which are promotion and tenure, it does not have the same impact as other areas. Therefore, efforts to encourage people to undertake this kind of research will not fly when there’s no reward for it. Financial issues and lifestyle issues are obstacles as well. Clinical researchers are often not well funded, and many have loans to repay. They need better salary and better revenue. As for lifestyle concerns, they are pinched from every direction—clinical research, service activities, family care, and myriad other demands. Everything more they do in their professional life takes away from family or personal life. A lot of women do not feel that they are role models. That perception needs to be changed, because everyone is a role model regardless of her level. Lack of access to information channels and grantsmanship channels is a barrier. Effective practices The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has programs already in place to reach out to medical students. A small minority of those students become family practitioners, but they have had access to some clinical research programs. An AAFP committee on special constituencies looks at the needs of different groups. The Society for Teachers of Family Medicine at its national meeting
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Achieving XXCellence in Science: Role of Professional Societies in Advancing Women in Science - Proceedings of a Workshop AXXS 2002 encourages resident and student research presentations that then are used as a basis for discussion at the main sessions of the meeting. These students or residents are paired with senior mentors before the meeting, and the latter guide the young people through the meeting and encourage them to get involved in clinical research. The National Institutes of Health has a very successful loan repayment program. The Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) and its tax-exempt foundation have several successful programs that include a clinical research fellowship in minimally invasive surgery funded by Ethocon Endosurgery, a visiting professor program for women, its “Pocket Mentor,” and an online mentoring program. Action items To move clinical research out of the role of second-class citizen, define criteria for excellence in clinical research, present them in some venue such as a meeting of the Council of Deans of Medical Schools, and seek endorsement of the criteria by the academic health centers so that they can be used as valid criteria for promotion and tenure. The societies would have to play a very significant role in such an undertaking, because each specialty would have to develop its own criteria of excellence in their area. Encourage each society, with the help of the talent present at the AXXS workshop, to put on leadership programs in the context of the national society meetings or research training programs. Encourage the individual professional societies to collaborate with the NIH and the private sector for joint funding. When the funding from a K award (NIH training) grants is not enough, make it allowable for the professional society to add its particular grant and not exclude people because they already have another form of funding. Pursue the possibility that through AXXS a pool of funding could be established for the initiatives just outlined.
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