Several dozen members of the University of Arizona Department of Medicine’s 15 fellowships accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) packed the house for a Fellowship Career Development Retreat hosted Aug. 11 at the BIO5 Institute.
For a photo gallery from the retreat, click on the image at left or here: DOM Fellows Retreat Photo Gallery [PDF]
The retreat was opened by an introduction from department Chair Monica Kraft, MD (pictured right), and Vice Chair for Research Jil Tardiff, MD, PhD. They underscored an emphasis on research participation, funding and protected time toward that end, and expanded research portfolios into innovative health care solutions of the future—whether those involve clinical advances or translational research targeting precision medicine or addressing disparities among different demographic groups.
To view video from the retreat, click here.
Drs. Kraft and Tardiff were followed by four junior faculty members who discussed their varied career paths—not always a straight line—to date, including how they approached mentors and research in their own fellowships, and the following topics:
- Clinical research—Cristine Berry, MD, MHS (at right), assistant professor of medicine, UA Reynolds Scholar in Applied Geriatrics and medical director of the Pulmonary Function and Exercise Physiology Laboratory
- Transition from Clinical to Basic Science Research—Christian Bime, MD (at right below), assistant professor of medicine and medical director of the Medical ICU at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson
- Population Research—Archita Desai, MD, assistant professor of medicine and research associate, UA Liver Research Institute
- Clinical Research—Tara Carr, MD, assistant professor of medicine and surgery, director of the Adult Allergy Program and director of the Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Program
Afterward, Anne Wright, PhD, professor of pediatrics and senior associate dean for faculty affairs at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, spoke about “Becoming a Leader”—offering suggestions on the importance of participation in different committees, picking ones where you have something to offer and choosing those where you feel passionate about the outcomes, as a way to advance your career.
UA Health Sciences Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Research Administration Lauren Zajac then offered an amazing overview of “Career Development Resources,” particularly funding that fellows will want to pursue whether those are from the National Institutes of Health, the UA Health Sciences or other sources.
Next, Sai Parthasarathy, MD (at right), professor of medicine and medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders, gave a lively, entertaining discussion about “Mentoring”—including the value of a mentor, the two-way street with mentees, expectations and making it work for you.
Acknowledging mentors must be chosen carefully, he humorously pointed out not all great physicians make good mentors, noting basketball icon Michael Jordan wasn't a great coach (or baseball player). He encouraged fellows to take actor Samuel Jackson's advice to “get in the game”—a quote that prompted him to get more involved in research and mentoring himself.
It obviously worked because, in May, Dr. Parthasarathy was one of six professors named recipients of the 2016 College of Medicine (Tucson) Faculty Mentoring Awards.
One of the retreat's planners, Dr. Tardiff said: "The goal for our inaugural 'Fellows Retreat' was to introduce fellows across our department to the opportunities available for scholarly pursuits during their training here with a focus on how to establish an academic career. One of our concerns has been that many fellows may think if they haven’t pursued research prior to fellowship that they have little chance of success. We wanted to strongly emphasize there is a very broad range of career paths in academic medicine and, while all of these paths are well represented at the University of Arizona and Banner – University Medical Center, we recognize navigating these paths can be challenging.
"Often, fellows don’t know how to even start the process," she added. "So, we designed this retreat to provide guidance and networking to facilitate academic progress across all disciplines. For this reason, one of the major themes for the evening was to emphasize both the importance of finding a good mentor (or mentors) and working together to plan a program that can be individualized to support all academic interests. Dr. Kraft and I are strongly committed to providing an academic atmosphere during training that fosters investigation and generation of new knowledge. Finally, we wanted to establish a collegial setting for fellows to engage with each other and departmental leadership so we can provide help at all stages. We have other programs in the works to continue this supportive program and will be announcing them in the near future."
A member of the UA Sarver Heart Center, Dr. Tardiff also is a professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Steven M. Gootter Endowed Chair for the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death.