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Engagement and Leadership

May 31, 2023

To the YSM Community:

I recently had the opportunity to speak with participants in the Advanced Emerging Leaders Program, a leadership program developed through a collaboration between Yale Medicine (YM) and the Yale School of Management. The group asked many insightful questions, but one echoed a common query from faculty—how can faculty interested in contributing to the school identify opportunities for involvement and leadership?

For the individual faculty member, it is important to identify citizenship (and later leadership) roles that are aligned with your passions, career developmental stage, and the needs of the institution. An intention of the new Faculty Development Annual Questionnaire (FDAQ) is to provide you with the opportunity to reflect on your goals and aspirations, share them with your chair or section chief, and have a robust conversation about how you can best contribute while advancing those goals.

Early in one’s career, a faculty member best contributes by mastering their chosen discipline. For the clinician, early leadership skills may include leading clinical teams, conflict resolution, quality improvement, and patient advocacy. Clinical excellence, command of these skills, and passion for a particular clinical problem or disease state may lead to the building of destination programs or participation in the operational leadership of outpatient and inpatient clinical programs. For an early researcher, even as they are learning to ask impactful questions and test hypotheses with rigor and novel approaches, they must also learn how to run a laboratory, determine priorities, develop a team, integrate learners, and hold others accountable. The mastery of these skills can lead to increased leadership roles in the school, such as serving on thesis committees, developing programs, or performing national service on study sections and committees. For the educator, the maturation of early skills in teaching, clinical precepting, and small group facilitation may give rise to leadership roles in designing new pedagogies or curricula, assessment methods, course directorship, and advanced mentoring and advising.

For those who aspire to contribute more broadly to shaping the future of the school, uncertainty about how to participate and seek leadership opportunities may pose a barrier. Here again, conversations with mentors and the annual conversation with your section chief or chair are critical to identifying the right opportunities. I would also like to ensure that you are aware of other specific opportunities to participate in strategic decision making.

The dean’s office publishes an online recommendation form (including self-nominations) whenever we are filling a leadership position: Current Searches Yale School of Medicine. Expressing an interest in a position, even if the fit or time is not right, serves to make others aware of your interests and talents.

The Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) plays a critical role in ensuring the insights and ideas of our faculty are heard and influence policy and strategy. Faculty members who wish to serve on FAC may self-nominate or be nominated by their peers. Chairs, vice chairs, deputy chairs, associate chairs, section leaders, and faculty members with a formal role in YSM administration may not serve as representatives. The number of representatives per department is determined by the size of the department with one representative per 50 faculty members. There are also three elected representatives from among our associate research scientists. The dean’s office chief of staff solicits nominations from the constituents in each department, with constituents then voting for their representative.

Our faculty affinity groups provide advice and guidance on ways to make YSM a more inclusive community. They include the: Minority Organization for Retention and Expansion (MORE), Committee on the Status of Women in Medicine (SWIM), and Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC) on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Affairs. Faculty who wish to become more involved in advancing the school’s diversity strategy may want to review the school’s Diversity Strategic Plan (Faculty Section) and may also speak to Deputy Dean Latimore about the school’s Diversity Advisory Council.

For faculty developing careers as educators, Faculty Engagement Opportunities provides contact information for those who want to become involved in admissions, curriculum, mentorship and advising, student research, and global and community health activities with our students. The school seeks broad representation of the general faculty on our committees for admissions, curricula, education policy, student progress and strategic initiatives. Faculty members may be nominated or self-nominated in response to an annual call for nominations sent out each summer by the Office of Medical Education. Selected faculty are recommended to the dean and deputy dean for education, who approve the appointments.

There are numerous opportunities for clinicians to become engaged in citizenship. Full-time YM faculty may serve as one of four at-large YM Board members. The board chair issues a call when a term is up, and eligible candidates submit an expression of interest and curriculum vita to the chair of the board’s Nominating and Governance Committee, which recommends candidates for full board vote. In the new aligned physician enterprise, faculty may serve on consensus committees for the development of clinical pathways to promote a consistent enterprise-wide approach to driving quality. Over the next year as we stand up a physician-led Clinically Integrated Network (CIN), a call will go out for faculty to participate in committees related to quality, technology, contracting strategies, and coordination of care and case management approaches. In addition, faculty engagement in patient safety initiatives and risk reduction, such as service on committees of our malpractice carrier, Medical Center Insurance Company (MCIC), provide additional opportunities for faculty to develop leadership skills.

YSM attracts highly motivated, innovative thinkers who bring novel perspectives to solving problems and identifying unique opportunities. There are many opportunities for you to help shape the future of our school. I encourage you to consider and pursue these opportunities as they align with your professional and personal career goals.


Nancy J. Brown, MD
Jean and David W. Wallace Dean of Medicine
C.N.H. Long Professor of Internal Medicine