MSTP Leadership Workshop II – August 2023
by Seth Reasoner (G4)
Leadership Workshop II is a biennial event for senior students in the MSTP (G4’s, G5’s and M4’s). Leadership Workshop II has been a regular part of the MSTP leadership development curriculum since 2006. The objective of Leadership Workshop II is to reinforce principles introduced during Leadership Workshop I, prepare for leadership challenges encountered in residency and early-career stages, and clearly communicate a leadership vision.
The workshop consisted of three sessions, aimed to provide tangible skills for students nearing the end of their MSTP training. Dr. William Cooper, from the Department of Pediatrics and the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, once again facilitated the workshop. Dr. Cooper brought enthusiasm to the workshop and engaged the attendees in case studies and role-playing activities. Alongside Dr. Cooper, three highly accomplished leaders from our medical center presented portions of the workshop. Throughout the event, these faculty members sat among the students and participated in the interactive sessions. Students repeatedly expressed their appreciation of the faculty members’ involvement throughout the day.
The morning began with a session on fostering healthy team dynamics. Dr. Kyla Terhune, VUMC Vice President for Educational Affairs, discussed key elements of productive teams and barriers to teamwork. Small breakout groups discussed practical steps that they could employ to promote collaborative teams in clinical and research settings. Next, Dr. Kelly Dooley, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, discussed a framework for addressing variations in performance or disruptive behaviors in a team. Students practiced informal “cup of coffee” conversations to intervene in situations of subpar performance or behavior. The final session focused on articulating a career vision and expressing one’s professional passion. Dr. Karen Winkfield, from the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, gave a captivating story of her passion for eliminating health disparities. Students used a worksheet to articulate their central passion, and how clinical, research, educational, and service components contribute to that purpose. Faculty members helped students clarify and refine their vision statements.
Following the three sessions, the faculty members graciously took questions from the MSTP students. The panelists built on the prior sessions of the workshop and shared details from their leadership experiences. The panel discussed their philosophies of leadership, emphasizing the importance of self-awareness and humility. Despite their extraordinary leadership successes, all panelists reiterated the importance of maintaining mentors and coaches throughout one’s career. The day concluded with an informal cocktail hour where MSTP students and faculty presenters mingled and networked. In all, student attendees indicated that the workshop was a valuable use of their time and cemented key leadership principles.
The workshop planning committee consisted of Bryn Sierra (MSTP LT), Kimmy Bress (G2), Kaitlin McKernan (G2), Matthew O’Neill (M4), and Seth Reasoner (G4).