Skip to Main Content

On Leadership and Climate

February 26, 2020

To Yale School of Medicine Faculty:

As outlined in the three climate committee reports posted on January 23, 2020, the Academic Leadership Committee proposed that effective leaders are guided by the values of integrity, reflection, and communication; diversity and inclusion; generativity; discovery, innovation, and scholarship; and building an engaged and productive community. Commitment to these values will lead not only to the effective implementation of the strategies proposed by the Faculty Engagement and Clinician Well-Being Committees but also to a more explicit focus on the behaviors and skills that reflect these values.

Realization of value-driven leadership requires an institutional investment in leadership development. To this end, we will be restructuring the Office of Faculty Affairs to become the Office of Academic and Professional Development (OAPD). I have asked Dr. Linda Mayes, co-chair of the Academic Leadership Committee, to assume the position of deputy dean for professionalism and leadership development, and to co-lead the restructured office with Dr. Linda Bockenstedt who will continue to oversee faculty affairs as deputy dean for academic affairs. In her expanded role, Dr. Mayes will continue those activities that were previously under the purview of the special advisor to the dean.

In addition, Dr. Mayes will work with members of the Academic Leadership Committee and others to implement several leadership development initiatives. These will include continuing work with recently appointed chairs and center directors and an additional focus on section chiefs and new program directors through trainings to be offered on an annual basis, as well as opportunities for ongoing support to reinforce effective leadership development. In complementary work, we will develop a transparent institutional process for nominating mid-level faculty for the Emerging Leaders and Advanced Emerging Leaders program run jointly with SOM and will work with departments to expand opportunities for faculty to participate in these programs. We will also develop trainings for leadership search processes to assist committees in assessing leadership capacities grounded in the values put forward for YSM.

At the same time, we recognize that effective leaders hold themselves and others accountable for their behavior and that attention to wellness and early intervention or remediation of unhealthy behavior can prevent more serious harmful behavior. When misbehavior does occur, leaders need to have the tools to handle it in an agile and consistent manner. In the next weeks and months, we will be honing standardized approaches to behavioral and disciplinary interventions for faculty serving in leadership roles across the school. We will develop coaching resources to support this work as well as clarify lines of reporting when concerns arise.

Dr. Linda Bockenstedt will continue to oversee those functions within the scope of the current Office for Faculty Affairs. This includes those activities related to setting faculty policies, hiring and promotion procedures, and career development. Beginning January 1, Associate Deans Samuel Ball and Jonathan Grauer have begun assisting Dr. Bockenstedt with career development activities for faculty in non-procedural and procedural departments, respectively. In addition, Dr. Bockenstedt will be examining strategies to streamline processes for hiring and promotion.

This restructuring to create the OAPD is a first step to implementing the recommendations of the Academic Leadership Committee and, subsequently, the recommendations of the Faculty Engagement and Clinician Well-Being Committees.

Finally, I recommend the book Learning to Lead in the Academic Medical Center: A Practical Guide by Jeffrey L.L. Houpt, Roderick W. Gilkey, and Susan H. Ehringhaus for insight on being an effective leader.


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