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About EMPOWER Summit 1 (2017)


Women clinicians and scientists bring unique perspectives, strengths, and opportunities to AHCs. However, they have yet to achieve leadership positions proportional to the numbers being trained. The AAMC Faculty Forward Engagement Survey (2011-2014) supports the need to increase access to opportunities for professional development.


A multipronged effort to create a women’s leadership development summit was initiated.  A systematic literature review was performed first to identify common topics addressed in leadership development programs for AHC faculty.  The leadership competencies identified focused the summit curriculum: leadership skills, organizing strategy and alignment, management, self-assessment, finance and budget, change management, strategic planning, negotiation and conflict management.  Institutional stakeholders were engaged in planning.  UMMS graduates of the ELAM program (n=11) served as the advisory board with OFA leadership. Using the systematic review, advisors, and general principles of adult education and instructional design, a compact high intensity course for women’s leadership was formed.  Program goals were: (1) develop women leaders through facilitation of personal insights, knowledge, and skill acquisition needed to confidently and competently lead, and (2) create sustainable learning communities, in addition to peer and leadership networks, allowing for sharing of perspectives and expertise, support, and mentorship within and beyond the program.


The EMPOWER Summit, a 2.5 day, immersive, interactive, leadership development opportunity designed to prepare women for the leadership positions to which they aspire, and to enhance the skills of current and new women leaders, was held spring 2017. Nationally-recognized speakers engaged a diverse audience of women faculty (n=48) representing the school of medicine (90%, inclusive of primary and regional campuses), graduate school of biomedical sciences (6%), and graduate school of nursing (4%); assistant (38%), associate (51%), and full (17%) professors from 14 departments, and an array of campus leaders.  In pre/post self-report assessments of confidence, the cohort reported statistically significant increases in confidence for all competencies addressed (n=47). All respondents (100%, n=46) agreed or strongly agreed that the summit was a valuable experience and that they would recommend it to a colleague. Identified strengths were the opportunity to network and create a sense of community and solidarity with colleagues, and a sense of institutional investment for selected participants.  Suggestions for future events included avoidance of nights and weekends which are particularly challenging for women with childcare planning, and increased use of non-structured interaction with institutional leaders.  Among survey respondents, there was unanimous interest in a future summit (100%, n=45) and interest in post-summit engagement (98%, n=46).


The EMPOWER Summit was the largest gathering of women faculty for leadership development in UMMS history, and by measured short-term parameters was successful. This conference demonstrated value at an individual and institutional level. Future engagement of participants to facilitate peer mentoring, networking, and sustainable learning communities should be part of program planning.  The benefits of restricting participation to all women cohorts versus mixed-gender will be considered in planning future programs, acknowledging the importance of including men in the efforts to advance women in AHC leadership.

Schedule: Sessions/Speakers

Leading with Purpose in Dynamic Times
Ora Pescovitz, MD

Welcome & Orientation
Tiffany A. Moore Simas, MD, MPH, Med

Hunters & Gatherers:  Prioritizing Your Life
Ora Pescovitz, MD

Self-Assessment of Leadership Strengths and Challenges:  Working through differences
Mary Parish, MA

Leadership Round Table Discussions with UMMS Leaders and Graduates of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program, Members of the EMPOWER Summit Advisory Board and the Office of Faculty Affairs

Building Resilience for Leadership:  Self-care, managing energy, emotional intelligence, burnout, and stress management
Charlene Maria Dewey, MEd, MD

Vision Setting, Strategic Planning, and Change Management
Laura Schweitzer Gruenthal, PhD

Setting a Vision: Appreciative Inquiry
Laura Schweitzer Gruenthal, PhD

Strategic Planning Pitfalls
Laura Schweitzer Gruenthal, PhD

Change Management: Campaigns as a Strategy for Change
Laura Schweitzer Gruenthal, PhD

Business of Health Care and Health Care Systems:  How academic health centers interact to succeed in addressing multiple missions
Michele Streeter
John Lindstedt

Leadership Dinner including Special Guests
Eric W. Dickson, MD, MHCM, FACEP
Terence R. Flotte, MD

Influence, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution
Barry C. Dorn, MD, MHCM

Theory to Action – What’s next?
Luanne E. Thorndyke, MD
Tiffany A. Moore Simas, MD, MPH, MEd