Hamita Sachar, MD, assistant professor of medicine (digestive diseases), and vice chief of gastroenterology (GI), has been recognized as a rising leader nationally by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), which recently selected Sachar for its GI Organization Leadership Development (GOLD) Program.
“I am very excited to further develop my leadership skills to continue to support the Section’s growth,” said Sachar, who is also the associate chief of GI for the Digestive Health Service Line at Yale New Haven Health. “This program is about skill-building, networking, and growing my national reputation as a leader in GI.”
Sachar was one of 15 gastroenterologists nationally selected to participate in the 12-month program, which is run by ASGE in partnership with the Association for Physician Leadership. The GOLD program aims to enhance leadership and career development for mid-career ASGE members. Participants are offered a range of activities and learning opportunities that cover strategic communication skills, practice management issues, negotiation techniques, financial acumen, and conflict resolution.
Sachar recently completed the Emerging Leaders and Advanced Emerging Leaders Programs at Yale, conducted jointly between the Yale School of Medicine, Yale New Haven Health System, and Yale School of Management. In addition, in 2018, she was selected for the ASGE’s Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) course, which supports the development of promising female leaders in gastroenterology. The GOLD program seemed like a “natural next step,” and she is excited to hone her leadership training in a way calibrated to the unique nature of gastroenterology.
“I am interested to see what strategic growth looks like for GI, how to lead gastroenterologists, and how to successfully lead academic practices in particular,” said Sachar. “When you’re academic, one is always pulled in so many directions. You have to educate, do research, be innovative, see patients, and also be an active citizen in the larger academic community. It’s not easy to lead and support physicians who have to manage these different priorities, so it’ll be interesting to see how this course will help me learn more about how to do that. ”
As the Vice Chief of GI, Sachar is focused on growing the depth and breadth of gastrointestinal care with the support of Section Chief Loren Laine, MD. Sachar said that the core mission of the section is to build a cohesive, productive, and mission-driven faculty who provide superlative care and advance the frontiers of medicine. “It’s easy to say that,” said Sachar, “but the effort that goes into recruiting, supporting, and developing talent is tremendous. It requires leadership, aligned priorities, and a great clinical and research infrastructure.”
Sachar, who came to Yale as an intern in 2008, rose to her current leadership position by taking initiative and identifying opportunities for improvement. “I’ve never been focused on stacking up titles or getting a specific position,” she said. “I’ve consistently been driven to enhance systems of care and support the growth of the Section. When I first started, I said, ‘I’m going to fix this endoscopy scheduling because it’s inefficient.’ I was not recruited as a leader, but I took it upon myself to fix that. As opportunities arise, I’ll go wherever they take me - but the next step has to be driven by something more than just financial or reputational gain.”
While delivering care to an individual is incredibly rewarding for Sachar, she said that a greater satisfaction comes from improving the quality of care across a broader patient population through leadership and organizational change. “It’s more satisfactory and it serves Yale’s core mission. It’s something you can be proud of, something that will have a legacy. I want to leave a mark and make sure that mark is well worth all the effort put into it,” said Sachar.
Since forming one of the nation’s first sections of hepatology and then gastroenterology over 50 years ago, Yale’s Section of Digestive Diseases has had an enduring impact on research and clinical care in gastrointestinal and liver disorders. To learn more about their work, visit Digestive Diseases.