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Leadership Workshop II – August 2021

   The upper-level students of the Vanderbilt MSTP gathered on Saturday August 28th to participate in the 2021 Leadership Workshop II. This biennial event is a signature component of the MSTP curriculum, focusing on developing the leadership skills that are all too often absent in traditional didactic curriculums. Donning masks, students broke away f
rom Eskind to spend a lovely Fall day in the Kissam Student Center honing pertinent skills for leadership success as future residents, postdocs, and early-stage investigators. 

   Dr. William Cooper, MD, MPH, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy, returned this year to facilitate the workshop with a contagious enthusiasm, engaging the attendees through interactive presentations, cases, and anecdotes. Dr. Cooper drew on the expertise of young clinicians and investigators to demonstrate leadership lessons and values in scenarios students are apt to encounter in the lab and the wards. Following opening remarks, the morning began with a session by Kyla Terhune, MD, MBA, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, focused on promoting optimal teamwork. She shared inspirational experiences organizing the early COVID-19 wards and staffing here at VUMC. Next, Yash Choksi, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, shared advice for the often-difficult task of handling variations in performance, in both clinical and research contexts. Following a lunch break, Mary Philip, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, guided students through articulating a vision for their research and expressing their passions. Students were provided with a framework to think about a clear career vision, a critical strength when competing for highly competitive research funding and coveted tenure-track positions. 

   Following the facilitated sessions, the students were treated to an amazing panel of diverse leadership perspectives. The panel’s seasoned experiences spanned academia, administration, and industry, drawing on the voices of Andre Christie-Mizell, PhD, Vice Provost for Graduate Medical Education, Jane Freedman, MD, Physician-in-Chief of Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, Pamela Jeffries, PhD, RN, Dean of the School of Nursing and Mace Rothenberg, MD, former Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer. Students learned about the nuances of leadership approaches within different levels of organizations, the importance of advocating for one’s team, strategies used when implementing difficult decisions, and much more.

   Another successful iteration of Leadership Workshop II has provided our students with important skills as they prepare to transition back to medical school and residency. As a student-planned event, we acknowledge the hard work of the Leadership Workshop II planning committee, Jay Kang (G4), Ben Fowler (G4), Matthew O’Neill (G2) and Seth Reasoner (G2). Chris Williams, Bryn Sierra, and Lourdes Estrada are especially thanked for their assistance throughout the event planning, especially as the team worked through the logistic challenges presented by the delta variant. We look forward to future events to come. 

by Matthew O’Neill