Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center Opens
While one student regaled the hall with a relaxing piano concerto, her classmates made themselves comfortable in the common study space at the opening of the Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center. Late last month, with the Philadelphia skyline on display from several vantage points, we spoke to students and the former denizens of “Suite 100” about the School’s latest address.
Mark Etherington, M’16, was enjoying lunch in the atrium when we asked him for his first impressions of the new space. “It’s definitely an upgrade. It’s really beautiful. I wish I had more time to spend in this building. Maybe it will persuade me to be a resident and get involved with the medical students here. I love it already.”
“We’ve been looking forward to moving into this space for a long time,” explained Gail Morrison, M’71, FEL’76, Senior Vice Dean for Education and Director of Academic Programs. “But in many ways, we are better off than had we created a new education center 10 years ago. We have a much better picture today of how to train students for the future. This is the right place at the right time.”
Students shared in Dr. Morrison’s optimism. Dale Kobrin, M’18, offered, “There’s a lot of really usable classroom space, personal study space, and computer labs. The lecture hall is really well set up, too. It met all of my expectations. It’s great.” Dale’s classmate Annie Toulmin, M’18, agreed, saying, “There is a lot more light and open space here, as compared to the Morgan building. The Jordan Center is also more intuitive in terms of the layout of the lecture hall and small group rooms. It’s really nice having everything in one space.”
One purpose of the new center is to win over prospective student candidates. Julia Rood, M’18, GR’18, who started medical school in 2009, is confident on this score. “I’m impressed and quite jealous. So much has changed since I matriculated. It’s kind of mindboggling. I’m currently in a lab, but will probably restart medical school in 2016. The Center is light and airy; and it’s nice to have such a place devoted just to the students.”
The fact that the Jordan Center is opening during the School’s 250th anniversary year just adds to the uniqueness of this time in the history – and future – of Penn Medicine. “It brings our educational facilities into the 21st century,” explained Dr. Morrison. “It is unique in that it unites faculty and students, embedded within the translational research facility, outpatient facility, and connected to where the new bed tower will be. Everything is happening here,” she said.
On Turning 250
Q&A with Stephanie Abbuhl, MD, INT’83, PAR’13, Executive Director of FOCUS on Health & Leadership for Women
FOCUS is celebrating its 20th anniversary of leading the Perelman School of Medicine effort to advance the careers of women in academic medicine and to promote education and research in women’s health and leadership.
We spoke to Stephanie Abbuhl, MD, INT’83, PAR’13, who has led the program since 2001.
Q: Is it fair to say that FOCUS is one of the few programs of its kind?
A: Absolutely! Many medical schools have “Women in Medicine” programs or an “Office for Women in Medicine,” but FOCUS is unique in that we have a much more robust, comprehensive program than almost anywhere else with 12 ongoing initiatives and a significant research component. We offer leadership and career development programs and conduct the research to determine best practices. This distinguishes us as national leaders committed to advancing women faculty.
Q: What challenges do women in medicine face today?
A: There are several, with some obvious ones (balancing work and family) and others that are more subtle, such as unconscious bias. Nationally, the percentage remains low of women department chairs (15%) and deans (16%) at U.S. medical schools. Consequently, there are fewer women role models in leadership to encourage and guide junior women to seek these positions. At the Perelman School, we currently have 4 permanent women department chairs out of 28 total chair positions. We are trying to address this underrepresentation of women in medical leadership positions. Recent FOCUS data show that we have a slightly higher proportion of women associate and full professors at Penn compared to the national average. In general, however, women continue to be significantly underrepresented at the more senior levels of associate and full professor at Penn and nationally.
Q: What makes you especially proud of the FOCUS program?
A: The impact that we’re having! The successful evolution and growth of the program since it was founded in 1994 by Jeane Ann Grisso, MD, MSc. Our innovative research and efforts to create a culture at Penn that is supportive of women faculty — encouraging them to take on leadership positions — put us in the national spotlight as a leader in women’s career advancement in academic medicine.
In the early years, FOCUS had three programs. Currently, we have twelve active, ongoing initiatives utilizing a “top-down, bottom-up” approach to institutional change. At our first annual conference, we had approximately 40 attendees. This fall, our 17th annual FOCUS conference drew over 160 women faculty from diverse specialties and in all career stages. President Gutmann delivered an inspiring welcome address. Three other nationally renowned speakers presented dynamic plenary sessions and workshops for a fantastic day of skill development, networking, and community building for women at Penn Medicine.
What makes us credible and distinctive is our scientific approach. We developed a rigorous research agenda that features a multidisciplinary research team and a trial funded by a four-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grant. The NIH-TAC (Transforming Academic Culture) trial is the first-ever cluster-randomized controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of an intervention across an entire medical school. We tested an innovative three-tiered intervention to see if it would improve academic productivity, job satisfaction, and overall quality of life for junior women faculty in intervention departments compared with their counterparts in control departments.
We presented our programmatic initiatives and current research at the annual meetings of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and we are very proud to have won two awards from the AAMC — one in 2004 and one in 2012.
Q: What are the most important findings so far?
A: We have already learned a great deal from this landmark trial and have three peer-reviewed papers published thus far with two more about to be submitted. We strongly believe that research on how to best support the careers of women faculty — and all faculty — is key to establishing the best practices that will advance faculty who will be at the forefront of outstanding clinical care, research, and teaching. FOCUS is a leader in this area both at Penn and nationally.
In summary, our key results to date:
- We developed a reliable and valid “culture measure” tool that can be used to assess the supportiveness of the culture and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to enhance the environment for women faculty. The culture measure consists of four distinct but related dimensions: equal access to opportunities, work–life balance, freedom from gender biases, and supportive leadership.
- Women working in departments with more supportive cultures were more satisfied and more committed to their departments. Department/division culture plays a key role in mitigating the effect of long work hours on work–family conflict.
- A task force process to develop and implement local department/division changes resulted in unique initiatives to support faculty (both men and women).
- The three-tiered intervention was effective for subgroups of junior faculty defined by degree, years in rank and level of engagement. Given the heterogeneity of faculty careers, interventions tailored to specific groups may achieve maximal impact. The results of this trial provide important insights toward achieving the goal of creating environments where women faculty can succeed fully in their careers.
Q: While the trial is ongoing, are you able to apply what you’ve learned?
A: We are developing and implementing a new program, the Penn Faculty Pathways Program, for the Vice Provost of the Faculty of the University, who asked us to take our lessons from the NIH-TAC Trial and create a leadership development program for faculty across the University in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
Pathways, now in its second year, is designed for men and women assistant professors (selected from applications of faculty; 18 to a class). It has been exciting for FOCUS to partner with two colleagues — one from Wharton (Stew Friedman, PhD) and one from the School of Engineering (Susan Margulies, PhD) — to take FOCUS expertise and expand our vision of developing talented faculty to be the best they can be while creating a supportive cohort peer group.
Q: What is next for FOCUS?
A: FOCUS continues to grow, expand, and add initiatives to meet our missions and respond to continual requests from faculty and leaders to provide mentoring and professional development for women. We have added several key programs to address the opportunities and challenges that women face across the lifespan of academic medicine. One example is the FOCUS Section for Women Residents & Fellows. This new section tailors programming for Penn women at this early and important stage of their careers and equips them with skills to negotiate their first job and salary, “manage up,” and balance work–life responsibilities.
Development efforts! The Dean has designated us a priority program, and we are reaching out to prospective donors with the ultimate goal of endowing the FOCUS program to make it self-sustaining and ensure it will be here for future generations. With 12 ongoing FOCUS initiatives, there are multiple options to appeal to donors with various interests ranging from modest to momentous, and all are important, as every gift counts.
Q: Finally, what do you find most notable about the School’s 250th Celebration?
A: 250 years is remarkable. That kind of longevity is a result of the dynamic interplay of longstanding institutional academic traditions with a talented and bold faculty who experiment with change. To thrive another 250 years, Penn Medicine will need to continue to develop the talents of an ever-more diverse faculty who bring the breadth of ideas, perspectives, and talents needed to succeed in our world.
For information on giving to FOCUS, please contact Brett Davidson, Executive Director, Development and Alumni Relations at
215-898-9175 or go to www.med.upenn.edu/focus/.
250th Grab Bag
Winners, Challenges, and News
Congratulations go to two winners this month. Bill Mullis, M’68, RES’76, was the first to correctly answer last month’s trivia question: Which prominent 20th century Penn physician and Chair of the Department of Medicine revolutionized diagnostic cardiology when he accelerated an experiment so he could return home for a party? And what was his innovation?
The correct answer was Francis C. Wood, M’26, INT’30, HON’71, chair of the Department of Medicine from 1947 to 1964. His son Lawrence (Larry) C. Wood, M’61, RES’65, became a co-winner for providing new details of the discovery. He explained that his father “designed the chest leads for the EKG by putting leads directly on the front of a dog’s heart. He proved that the design was a good one just before his wife called from home to ask why he wasn’t there to help prepare the house for a party of friends. Dr. Wood’s innovation in the 1930s led to the use of chest leads in human electrocardiograms, thus improving detection of early signs of heart trouble.
Dr. Larry Wood has written a book about his late father, The Life and Legacy of Francis C. Wood, which will be published later this year. He is also the lead author of one of the leading reference works on thyroid health, Your Thyroid: A Home Reference. Dr. Wood will serve as a panelist on Saturday, May 16th during Medical Alumni Weekend in May at the 10 – 11 am panel “Front Row Seats: Penn Medicine Alumni Share their View of Penn’s Leading Role in Medicine.”
250th Celebration Fundraising Challenge: 25 Days to Show Your Pride
A generous Annual Fund donor is funding a special challenge to reward Annual Fund participation from March 1 to March 25. Please look for details in your email to unlock a $250,000 scholarship gift!
Get the Facts
Penn Medicine Facts and Figures 2015 is now available.
Please go here for the latest news and data on current
research, education, patient care, clinical facilities, as
well as historical perspective on a quarter of a millennium
of medical practice at the country’s first medical school.
And to read about some of the specific ways in which
Penn Medicine cares for the Philadelphia community,
please read “Simply Because: A 2015 Community
Benefit Report” right here.
“I love Penn and I love New York. It was great to connect with people that I knew from medical school, residency, and fellowship. And hearing about the cutting edge research at Penn and the amazing students, with such big plans and careers ahead of them, is always a thrill.”
--Medical Alumni Advisory Council member Martin Kanovsky, M’78, INT’79, RES’81, FEL’83,
Marty was among the hundreds of alumni who have attended regional events in Washington, DC, Chicago, New Jersey, and the Penn Club in New York City since last September.
Read on for your chance to catch regional events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paradise Valley, Arizona, and Boston this spring and a sample of what’s on tap for Medical Alumni Weekend 2015.
Saturday, March 28, 2015 – Paradise Valley, AZ
Featured speaker: Lee A. Fleisher, MD, C’82, PAR’15, Robert Dunning Dripps Professor and Chair, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Penn Medicine
For information, contact Nicole McGarry at
215-898-8302 (or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Medical Alumni Weekend Highlights – Philadelphia, PA
Friday, May 15, 2015
8:45 am – 9:45 am
Reunion Panel: Our 50 Years of the Story
Rubenstein Auditorium, Smilow Center for Translational Research
Join members of the Medical Class of 1965 as they look back to the School’s 200th anniversary and reflect on the history they have witnessed in 50 years of medicine. Moderator: William W. Beck, Jr., M’65, INT’70
10:00 am – 11:25 am
Faculty Panel: The Next 250 Years of Medicine
Rubenstein Auditorium, Smilow Center for Translational Research
Hear the insights of experts from across Penn Medicine as they consider the future of health care.
Moderator: Glen N. Gaulton, PhD, Executive Vice Dean and Chief Scientific Officer
11:30 am – 12:10 pm
Alumni Awards Presentation
All medical alumni and their guests are invited to join Dean J. Larry Jameson to recognize our rich tradition of alumni involvement and service.
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Ribbon Cutting of the Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center and Lunch,
Led by J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President, University of Pennsylvania for the Health System, Dean, Perelman School of Medicine, and Gail Morrison, M’71, FEL’76, Senior Vice Dean for Education
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Inspiring History: The Founder’s Itinerary
Rubenstein Auditorium, Smilow Center for Translational Research
As the founder of America’s first medical school, John Morgan sought out the best in medical education. Prominent speakers representing Dr. Morgan’s preceptors in Europe and America present a lively guided tour of the origins of our tradition of excellence.
Class Reunion Dinners
Check the alumni website for the time and location of your class reunion dinner.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
8:30 am – 10:00 am
All Alumni Brunch
Lobby, Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center
10:00 am – 11:00 am
Front Row Seats: Penn Medicine Alumni Share their View of Penn’s Leading Role in Medicine
Law Auditorium, Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center
Distinguished alumni offer viewpoints on Penn Medicine’s leading role, and
share the significance of the 250th Celebration.
Moderator: Maryellen Gusic, M’90, Chief Medical Education Officer
at the Association of American Medical Colleges
11:30 am – Parade Lineup Starts
12:00 noon – 4:00 pm
250th Penn Medicine Alumni Parade and Picnic
Wynn Commons, between College Hall and Houston Hall
Help lead the nation’s first medical school across campus in the parade to commemorate our 250th year.
6:30 pm – 11:00 pm
250th Celebration Black-tie Gala
For more on Medical Alumni Weekend as well as the 250th Gala, please click here.
To register for Medical Alumni Weekend click here.