Melissa Bloodworth (G4)
November 29, 2016
Posted in Workshop News

Nancy Brown, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine, met with MSTP students as part of the Lunches with Leaders series to share insights on her career path, physician-scientist training, and leadership with a group of 6 MSTP students. Dr. Brown emphasized the importance of finding mentors who demonstrate admirable values with the group. She mentioned that mentors from outside institutions may also offer more objective advice during career transitions. Dr. Brown still solicits the wisdom of her mentors and colleagues at this stage in her career. Echoing the critique of many involved in physician-scientist training, Dr. Brown condemned the high average age of first-time R01 holders. She mentioned a recent initiative to shift MD/PhD training to a 3-year MD followed by a combined PSTP-PhD to cut down on total time spent in training and time away from research during training. This reworked model for physician-scientist training is under active consideration at the NIH. Nationally, leaders in academia are also moving towards establishing better support mechanisms to transition physician-scientist trainees to faculty within institutions. Dr. Brown quipped, "culture eats strategy," acknowledging that changing culture requires painstaking, consistent effort over time - much like lab work! Communication represents the most utilized skill in Dr. Brown's day to day work, who feels that she can never communicate enough nor stop improving upon her ability to communicate. She highlighted simplicity, shared vision, and delicacy as key aspects of effective communication. Situational awareness, practical wisdom, and the ability to face conflict have been instrumental to Dr. Brown's development as a leader. Dr. Brown schedules protected time to meet with her trainees and get her own work done throughout the work week. She also shared that she learned many leadership principles and practices through parenting.