Comments from Previous FAR Fund Recipients

School of Medicine Faculty Learning and Development Fund - Awardees and Feedback

The Faculty Learning and Development Fund is intended to provide all School of Medicine faculty members with the opportunity to participate in a broad range of professional development activities. These include, but are not limited to, formal training courses to improve teaching or to develop new professional skills; leadership development programs; academic and research training courses; conferences; and external professional consultations.

Below you will find summaries from past awardees on how the fund was able to make a difference in their professional career:

2017 Award Recipients

December 18, 2017

Dear Academic Senate Members,

Thank you for the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development in 2017. This support afforded me the opportunity to take intensive Spanish classes in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in April 2017. As much of my research focus is on Latino children’s health, and I currently follow two birth cohorts of Latino children primarily of foreign-born (Mexican) parents, the development support significantly allowed me to improve my Spanish language skills.

The additional improvement in my language skills has allowed me better access to the Spanish language childhood obesity and nutrition literature and greater breadth to compare my findings with other Latino cohorts. I am planning on attending the Child Obesity and Nutrition Conference in Barcelona, Spain in 2018.

Thank you again for the ongoing support.


Janet M Wojcicki, PhD MPM MAS

Dear Academic Senate Members,

I am writing to express my gratitude as a recipient of the 2017 Faculty Learning and Development Fund. With this fund, I was able to take a health informatics course online through Oregon Health & Science University. This fund allowed me to undergo formal training in informatics without interruption to my current responsibilities. Each session of the course provided a comprehensive overview of major topics in clinical informatics accompanied by exercises at the end of each module. Additionally there was an extensive reference list for each section which I found helpful for areas in which I wanted further review. Most importantly, the course provided me with a framework for how I approach clinical informatics related problems and a forum to meet and discuss important issues with other classmates from around the country who were all career professionals. Everything I learned in this course is directly applicable to the work I do or hope to do. I am extremely thankful to have had this opportunity.


Shobha Sadasivaiah MD, MPH

The Faculty Development Award allowed me to receive leadership training from a professional coach who designed a program that is specifically tailored to my needs. The topics we covered included (1) strengthening my vision for my research program; (2) improving my ability to lead the research team in my lab and execute my vision; and enhancing my contributions to and stewardship of graduate programs at UCSF. The training I received has been extremely valuable and I began to see results in the lab almost immediately. One of the most helpful activities was the development of an overall vision statement for the research in my lab. This document is meant to evolve over time and summarizes both the current work in the lab and the plans for the next 3-5 years. Drafting the document helped me to organize my ideas, and it has been a useful guide that I refer to when I am advising people in the lab on their projects, considering new projects, and setting priorities. The training also helped me to define the value I place on different facets of an academic career, which is allowing me to be more intentional with my choices. The input from the leadership coach was an essential part of this process and the training she provided is distinct from and complementary to the type of guidance I receive from other sources, such as my peers at UCSF.


Todd Nystul, PhD

Dear Academic Senate Members,

I would like to express my sincere thanks at the support provided by the Faculty Learning and Development Fund to pursue further study in echocardiography. As a specialist trauma anesthesiologist, our need to develop a diverse range of skills is essential to provide high quality care when time is of the essence. When appointed to the Director of Trauma Anesthesia role in the beginning of 2017 one of the major objectives was to improve the overall level of comfort with using echocardiography in trauma amongst all the faculty. This course, which I successfully completed and am now extending to the Graduate Diploma level, has enabled me to drive change within our group. It has provided me with the core knowledge and skills to mentor, advocate for change, and care for our patients to a greater extent than previously.

The Chancellors Fund has enabled me to accelerate my personal professional development, and now act as a greater resource for my department an patients. I am indebted to the program for its generous support.


Benn Lancman MBBS MHumFac FANZCA

Dear Academic Senate Members,

The awarding of funds from the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development allowed me to visit the Anatomy Department at Monash University in Melbourne Australia. The group at Monash, led by Paul McMenamin has been at the forefront of utilizing 3D printing and silicone molds for creating authentic anatomical models for medical education.

During my trip I was able to learn their process of scanning, editing and printing 3D models from DICOM files and from actual cadaveric specimens. This relatively inexpensive method will provide opportunities at UCSF to create numerous life-like cadaveric models that can be used to teach challenging anatomy anywhere on campus. I plan to build on the knowledge I gained from visiting Monash through collaborations with the Makers Lab.

Thank you for this opportunity.


Derek Harmon, PhD, MS

The SOM Faculty Development Award allowed me to attend the Autoimmune Hepatitis Association 2017 Meeting in Indianapolis. I was an invited speaker, and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet patients with autoimmune hepatitis and showcase research done by my group. Furthermore, it was an opportunity to network with hepatologists who have similar interests and solidified a burgeoning collaboration with researchers at Indiana University. It was a fantastic opportunity to give an oral presentation for a large, international audience and I also learned a great deal by attending. This activity was made possible by generous funding from the Academic Senate and Dean. Participating in the AIHA Meeting has bolstered my leadership skills, my research career, and clinical knowledge. Ultimately, this investment in faculty development will translate into tangible benefits for patients.

Thank you again.


Michele Tana, MD

I would like to once again thank the Academic Senate for granting me the 2017 Faculty Development Award. As you recall, I applied for this award to assist me financially with participating in the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Certificate Program from the AAMC for the 2017-2018 Academic year. The LEAD program is an intensive, one-year, cohort-based leadership development program that provides a firm foundation in the best practices and recognized theoretical models of effective educational leadership that are key to advancing medical education at all levels. Although, I have yet to finish the program, LEAD has already provided me with lots of knowledge centered around leadership and managerial skills. Aside from the extensive faculty development on developing a career vision/mission statement and realizing what my own leadership and managerial style was, the program has provided me with active and collaborative learning, real-life applications, coaching and mentoring, and reflective practice around both leadership and effective managing. I was assigned both a national mentor who is a leader in medical education and a local mentor/coach here at UCSF outside of my specialty. Both have been instrumental in mentoring and coaching me to lead by setting direction and creating a strategic vision for my projects through the Differences Matter Initiative. I have also gained many skills on learning to manage effectively within the projects I am the lead on. Please continue to offer these much needed awards as they definitely contribute to junior faculty like myself in advancing UCSF’s mission of excellence and innovation.


Eddie Cruz, M.D., M.P.H.

Dear UCSF Academic Senate,

The Faculty Development Award has allowed me to participate in a leadership fellowship through the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. Throughout this year, I have learned skills in leadership, coaching and meeting facilitation. My team and I have partnered with the OMBUDs office and the Center for Excellence in Primary Care to begin to a strategic plan to improve communication skills, focus on staff development and morale. I was able to learn and share best practices from other leaders in Family Medicine throughout the country by participating in this fellowship.

Thank you for this opportunity.


Maggie Edmunds, MD

I am a junior member of the faculty in emergency medicine (EM), with a passion for medical education. Upon joining UCSF, I found that many faculty were doing wonderful things in medical education (MedEd), and I struggled to find my niche within the EM MedEd community. For this reason, I decided to apply for the Academic Life in EM (ALiEM) Faculty Incubator, a year-long (April 2017- April 2018) professional development program for junior faculty interested in medical education, and was fortunately selected to participate. The program has consisted of formal curriculum, mentorship, regular collaboration with other educators across the world (occurring multiple times per week via the online platform Slack), and assigned projects. The UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development allowed me to pay the course’s registration fee, as well as attend an in-person introductory meeting in Florida, during which I was able to network with like-minded colleagues from many other institutions.

As a result of my participation in the Faculty Incubator, I have formed relationships with dozens of other medical educators, and have not only learned more about topics including education theory, curriculum design and evaluation, and MedEd scholarship, but have also generated several publishable end products, including novel curricula and a textbook chapter, which will help establish me as an accomplished UCSF clinician-educator. I am extremely grateful to have received funding from the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development, which has allowed me to explore and refine my role as an educator in EM.


Dina Wallin, MD

Dear Academic Senate Members,

I am grateful for the support provided by the Faculty Learning and Development Award in 2017. I used the funding to participate in the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) certificate program. The course continues until March 2018. Thus far, I have attended the Western Group of Educational Affairs (WGEA) meeting and I participated in two in-person workshops as well as three video workshops with LEAD fellows from the western region. I have also developed mentorship relationships with a local coach at UCSF and a national leader in medical education at the University of Washington. I expect both of these partnerships to continue after the program ends. I have developed my professional mission and vision, learned about my leadership style, and gained invaluable skills in how to create change in complex academic organizations. I am also sharing what I have learned with our fellows in geriatrics and palliative care through a new leadership curriculum.

Thank you for the opportunity. It has truly enhanced my career.


Lynn Flint, MD

Dear Academic Senate Members,

I would like to express my sincere thanks at the support provided by the Faculty Learning and Development Fund to attend a research retreat and meeting in India on the development of prehospital and EMS research. As an emergency medicine physician with a focus in the development of high quality prehospital systems in low resource countries, the added funding gave me the ability to attend in person and to develop a research base that will continue into the future. 

As a result of this meeting we are now planning on having an annual meeting on prehospital research in India. This work will hopefully be used to continue to monitor and evaluate one of the largest prehospital systems in the world. And the research base that has since been generated can hopefully be extended to other low and middle income countries looking to expand their prehospital capabilities.

The Chancellors Fund has enabled me to continue my research interests and am thankful for the generous support.


Corey Bills, MD MPH

Dear Academic Senate Members,

Thank you for the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development in 2017. I was awarded funding for public speaking coaching and development to enhance my skills as an effective communicator and educator. With funding from the Chancellor’s Fund, I was able to attend the day-long SpeechSkills seminar titled “Projecting Credibility and Confidence”. I was then able to obtain individualized coaching and voice training to further develop my skills. Through the education and coaching I received I identified specific areas for development of my presentation skills. I also worked with a coach to develop a routine for preparing for large group presentations and was able to identify ways to adjust my speaking style in small groups to enhance my credibility. These skills are relevant to my development as a leader in medical education in an academic setting and have informed my teaching, my committee work and my design of a curriculum for the development of women leaders in the Department of Medicine. I have also taught the skills I learned to medical students and residents on rounds in small group settings. I am grateful to the members of the Senate for your support of my development and of women leaders in medicine.


Vanessa Thompson, MD

Dear Academic Senate Members,

The SOM Faculty Development Award allowed me to attend the Society of Academic Urologist meeting at the American Urologic Association Annual Meeting, in Boston (2017). I was an invited speaker and gave a talk on implicit bias and impact on residents and trainees as part of a panel examining the growing numbers of women in the urologic workforce. It was a wonderful opportunity to highlight this issue to an audience (program directors and chairpersons) who are in a position to make positive changes. The feedback I received after the talk was overwhelmingly positive and I am told that changes and additional trainings on this issue have been instituted at many programs across the US. I also had an opportunity to network and learn about new educational methods and the future of academic urology. Thank you again for this opportunity.


Sima Porten MD, MPH

Dear Academic Senate,

Thank you for your generosity in sponsoring my trip to Atlanta, GA for the 2017 American College of Surgeons Course: Surgeons as Educators Course. This was a weeklong course held at Emory University designed for academic surgeons who are dedicated to both resident and medical student education. This was an invaluable experience for me due to my recent appointment as associate clerkship director for surgery. I was able to network with surgical education leaders and learn course curriculum design including but not limited to, feedback, needs assessment, and leadership skills. The skills I acquired there have allowed me to redesign some of our surgery curriculum for the new BRIDGES CURRICULUM in addition to creating a leadership course for our own surgery residents. I am grateful for this opportunity and hope to continue to contribute for the education of our learners.


Sincerely yours,
Matthew Lin, MD, FACS

Dear Academic Senate Members,

Thank you to the Academic Senate for providing me with the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development in 2017.

This support afforded me the opportunity to take a unique course in academic leadership training at the Association of University Radiologists Annual Meeting in Miami, FL in May 2017. As a part of this training, I was able to learn through real-life case discussions about the intricacies of clinical, financial, and research operations at major academic radiology departments around the country. I have made many acquaintances with current and aspiring leaders in Academic Radiology.

Thank you again for the ongoing support.


Sincerely yours,
Nicholas Fidelman, MD


2016 Award Recipients

Dear Academic Senate members,

With funding from the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development, I was fortunate to be able to obtain learning videos provided by the ASGE (American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy).

American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is pioneer in making high quality endoscopic training videos which are developed by the international experts in the field. Endoscopic technique is constantly evolving and these videos focus on the wide variety of learning skills for upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, ERCP etc.

I was able to use these videos to enhance my endoscopic skills which helped me provide better care for my patients. These videos also empowered me to be a better endoscopic teacher and it was extremely valuable for me to use these tips and techniques to teach first year fellows course at ASGE annual course in Chicago. It was my first year being an instructor at this course and with the help of these videos, I felt very confident in my teaching skills. I was very well prepared and I was able to offer high quality training to the fellows. I strongly believe, I am a better teacher of endoscopy because of these videos. I was recently awarded “Excellence in Teaching Award” from UCSF “Academy of Educators” and I am grateful to the Chancellor’s fund’s support in giving me an opportunity to acquire the resources I need to excel as a teacher at UCSF and outside UCSF as well.

Again, I am deeply thankful for this wonderful and generous fund and the support to allow me to achieve my goals.


Aparajita Singh, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Division of Gastroenterology University of California, San Francisco

With funding from the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development, I was fortunate to be able to attend The Aspen Institute Action Forum (July 18-22, 2016)  “Leading Toward Justice” and the Deep Dive Discussion “Race in America,”  discussions centering on race and social justice with leaders from all sectors of public service and of private institutions.  I hoped to use the discussions to broaden the scope of my involvement in diversity, recruitment and retention issues at UCSF.  I discovered more about the scope and depth of the problems of race that pervade practically all sectors of this country.  Although many minority groups face daunting challenges and bias, the economic and social pressures and bias due to the history of slavery and racism in the US have consistently deprived the black community of education, opportunity and freedom of choice.   Though I consider myself informed and strive to eliminate racism, I was blind to my privilege inherent in this system—the banking system, the educational system, the health system, every system there is—that both buoyed me to a safe position while keeping black Americans struggling to catch a breath, let alone a break.  As the voices of the participants shook the narrative of my own life, I heard the resonance of the voices around me:

  • I began to understand that no black man goes out, no matter what his socioeconomic status, without fearing for his own safety (from the police) and no black family can ever stop worrying about the safety of their children when they leave the house. 
  • That every black woman fights and struggles daily against the negative narrative surrounding them and their families. 
  • That the narrative around African Americans is almost constantly negative—poverty, drugs, violence, death, illness, welfare—with only rare nods to the successful members of the community. 

Our society too often paints an overwhelmingly grim picture of African Americans and has systematically structured itself to continually paint them into a corner, with little choice, little hope, and little escape. 

When I went to this conference I sought to discover ways to improve the institution of UCSF in the realm of diversity.  What I did not recognize was how personally, I needed to evolve in order to make progress on the issues surrounding race and its presence in our systems would be.  I feel I have been left with many more questions than answers, but feel closer to reducing the gap between how I live and how I want to live with regard to challenging racist policies, beliefs and stereotypes that surround us.  I stereotype, all of us do—it is how we are wired to make sense of the information flood that bombards us.  In medicine particularly we are bombarded by three main triggers for stereotyping: stress, time constraints, and multitasking.  Knowing these triggers, I seek to slow down, use empathy to combat any stereotypes that surface and actively interrupt bias when I encounter it in myself and in those around me, be they colleagues, administrative staff, patients, friends. 

Since this conference was an action forum, I have undertaken the following to address racism, disparities, bias as I encounter them at UCSF, in San Francisco and anywhere I may be, whether with colleagues, patients, students, strangers:

  • Speak up and not let the racism go unchallenged
  • Be an ally to those striving to make progress on racism.  My white voice can lend more credibility and legitimacy and reach an audience that might tune out other voices because of racism.
  • Interrupt bias when I hear it or see it. 
  • Change the narrative around racism.
  • Listen with empathy and without assumption.
  • Harshly interrogate my own privilege in order to understand that it is built on racism in the past and present
  • Develop authentic and proximate relationships with people of different races, even it can be uncomfortable.  It is not possible to understand or hear someone from across a wide chasm or through a wall, but taking time to talk and listen opens doors, opens eyes, and opens hearts. 
  • Actively use self-reflection to explore my own bias, bias I encounter, and develop strategies and approaches to the address these biases. 

As I reflect on my career and the values that guided it—of respect and equality, of excellence and education, of caring for others and self-awareness of my own strengths and weakness—I realize I never accounted for the privilege which led me to this place in time.  The grant from the SOM fund has afforded me the opportunity to reflect and discuss the state of race and racism in the United States and abroad, to hear and understand more deeply the day to day threats, challenges, struggles, biases and hopes within minority communities, especially the African American community.  I commit to   personally seek to end racism, promote the power of diversity, and incorporate these goals into my personal and professional life.  I had a very powerful experience which will impact me and my personal decisions for years in ways I cannot yet anticipate.

Thank you for your generosity and foresight in providing access to such profound experiences.


2015 Award Recipients

Dear Academic Senate members,

I am incredibly grateful to have received funding from the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development.  In 2015 I took on a new leadership role as the UCSF Director of the Child Health Equity Collective, a multi-stakeholder, collective impact approach to achieving optimal health for all children in the Bay Area. The funds provided me with the ability to engage with an executive coach who could provide me with insight and strategic approaches given my new roles.

Through the recommendations of various leaders at UCSF I found executive coach Carol Bergmann.  We set up bi-monthly sessions where she has guided me through a number of challenges and opportunities including: how to best work with the Collective team given my leadership preferences; how to improve how I share my vision of the Collective and seek funding opportunities; and, how to approach developing a strategic plan for the Collective.  The sessions have been invaluable from a personal and organizational development perspective.

Themes from our specific sessions:

  • How to articulate and champion the work of the Collective
  • Moving from a reactive to a proactive mode with the Collective
  • Project management activities to establish clear goals and a timeline
  • Providing me with tools to recognize and switch gears into the various roles I may play

I have been thinking about the value of my having an executive coach for a few years.  I don’t think I would have had the opportunity had it not been for the Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development.  I greatly appreciated that the fund is flexible enough to allow faculty to identify what their specific need is.  If it wasn’t for this Fund I am not sure I would have been able to engage with an executive coach, and I am incredibly grateful.

Thank you.


Anda K. Kuo

Academy Chair in Pediatric Education
Director, Child Health Equity Collective
Founding Director, Pediatric Leadership for the Underserved (PLUS)
Professor, Department of Pediatrics

29 October 2016

Faculty Learning and Development Award

The Faculty Learning and Development Award provided the opportunity to attend The Genome Access Course offered by Cold Spring Harbor Labs and the New York Genome Center, held September 2-4, 2015.  The affordability of high throughput sequencing has driven development of many techniques for analysis of expression, epigenetic marks, DNA-binding proteins, and noncoding RNAs. However, the adoption of such techniques requires a fundamental understanding of the principles and practical consideration, both for good experimental design and analysis. The Genome Access Course provided a basic overview of (mostly free) web-based resources for data on gene expression, genomes, and genetic variation. I gleaned skills in pathway analysis, haplotype analysis, mapping RNAseq and exome data to the genome, and comparing levels of expression. As a result, I have been able to help some of my trainees launch their own bioinformatic analyses using a web-based server called Galaxy, and have helped them work through various problems. The most important takeaways concerned good experimental design for genomics projects, and identifying resources for bioinformatics analysis.

Diana Laird

Chancellors Fund Faculty Development Report 

Elizabeth Kwan 
Department of Emergency Medicine

I applied to the Chancellors Fund to redouble my effort to become an outstanding educator. I had been splitting my time between the emergency department at UCSF and the community, but transitioned to work as full time faculty in the UCSF in July

Faculty Development funding allowed me to attend “The Teaching Course,” Nov 10-­‐
13, 2015. The course is taught by some of the best known educators within Emergency Medicine (EM) and used the latest research to enhance teaching specifically for our specialty. They integrated the use of simulation, social media, online teaching resources to engage learners. These resources, though not part of medical education even 10 years ago, are critical ways to reach digital natives.
Online media is also the lingua franca of trainees all over the world that benefit from Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM) and has changed care for many in remote and underserved areas. 

At the course, I was engaged over 3 days in highly interactive exercises that
demonstrated new ways of engaging learners. This included big picture ideas (considering approach to complex content) to granular, practical information (making a storyboard, using specific applications and online resources, nuts and bolts of recording a podcast). We also were able to network and receive mentoring from the leaders of the FOAM movement. 

I used the funds for Leadership Coaching, which was hugely helpful for me since I’ve been taking on several leadership roles and am a member of many committees. I’ve very thankful, it was great!  I’ll write more details when I have a chance. Kathy Hyland

2015 UCSF Faculty Learning and Development Fund


Loris Y. Hwang M.D., M.A.S.
At the time of the award: Adjunct Associate Professor, UCSF Department of Pediatrics

Report of funded course:

As a UCSF faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics, I was very grateful to have received funds from the Faculty Learning and Development Fund to support my participation in the Colposcopy Mentorship Program hosted by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP). This ASCCP Program contains 3 tiers; completion of all 3 tiers leads to a certificate which is considered the standard requirement for colposcopy training for clinicians who have not otherwise performed an OB/Gyn residency. Tier 1 consists of a 4-day didactic course, “Comprehensive Colposcopy”. Tier 2 consists of a clinical practicum held over several months which is documented and mentored by an experienced colposcopist. Tier 3 consists of a written examination developed by the ASCCP and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Since my original residency was in Pediatrics, this was a formal way for me to pursue training in clinical colposcopy. The funds contributed to my completion of Tier 1 in July 2015, which prepared me to complete Tier 2 under the mentorship of the UCSF Dysplasia Clinic Medical Director, Karen Smith-McCune MD, during 2015-2016. Currently, my last remaining step is to complete Tier 3.

Enhancement of my knowledge and skills:

This colposcopy training benefits me in both the clinical and research realms because my specific interest area is reproductive health for adolescents and young women. My patients include those with chronic illness and immunocompromised, who are at increased risk for cervical dysplasia and thus more likely to require colposcopy. It is rare for pediatricians to be trained in colposcopy, and this specialized skill set allows me to educate my faculty colleagues and pediatric trainees regarding colposcopy and cervical disease management. In my clinical research, my projects are focused on cervical epithelial maturation, cervical dysplasia, and HPV. Prior and future projects naturally involve colposcopic measures and thus my direct knowledge and skills in this area allow me to lead these projects more effectively and rigorously.

Again I thank the School of Medicine Faculty Council for this funding opportunity.

Lynnea Mills
Faculty Development Award 2015

I utilized my Faculty Development Award to participate in a VitalTalk Faculty Training Course, held in Colorado for two days in October 2015 and again for two days in April 2016. The award funding covered my course registration (which included on-site lodging and meals) and travel to the course.

VitalTalk is a well-regarded model for engaging in conversations with patients and families about serious illness. It involves a specific framework for approaching these conversations and is useful for all clinical providers who work with seriously ill patients; there are also off-shoots of the original model that are targeted at specific subpopulations of providers (i.e., OncoTalk for oncologists). The model is taught via online and in-person courses offered in numerous locations each year. The course in which I enrolled was a faculty development course to train me to facilitate teaching sessions using the VitalTalk model. Most people who attend this course are Palliative Care providers or other subspecialists who want to gain skills for teaching advanced communication techniques to their trainees and colleagues. During the course, participants listen to a few short didactic sessions but spend most of their time in small groups where they engage in intense practice facilitating “fellows” (course faculty who are acting as inexperienced trainees learning the skills) interacting with simulated patients (similar to standardized patients, but there is only one actor playing each patient, so there is no standardization and the actors therefore have more flexibility to play whatever emotions feel natural). The course is designed to teach participants the advanced skills of facilitating this type of challenging learning and also to give them extensive practice using those skills in situations designed to feel as authentic as possible.

On face, I don’t seem like the typical participant in this type of program: I am a hospitalist and have purposely opted to remain a generalist, rather than pursuing subspecialty training in Palliative Care. That said, I am very interested in communication and have worked in medical education around communication previously, including in curriculum development and in coaching/facilitation of faculty courses in other communication models. I am particularly interested in “difficult conversations,” especially those around serious illness and end-of-life decision-making. Enrolling in this course enabled me to develop an expertise in this field in a different (and shorter!) way that I would through a fellowship or other type of certification. Because people know I have done this course, I’ve been invited to participate in activities generally reserved for boarded Palliative Care providers (such as facilitating at a recent Palliative Care communication skills workshop at UCSF’s Hospitalist Mini-College, in which I was the only non-Palliative Care facilitator), and I now work with a large, grant-funded national effort through the Hastings Center to determine expectations for hospitalists around serious illness conversations and develop resources to enable them to meet those expectations.

Beyond the skill-building, the course also enabled me to make connections with people involved in similar work. The groups were small and consistent over the separate sessions, so I got to know the others in my group well, and we continue to maintain contact and collaborate. I also had the opportunity to get to know the faculty course leaders well and to build relationships with them that will be wonderful assets going forward in my career.

Next steps for me with the new skillset and connections are still being worked out. Based on my work at the training, I’ve been invited back to help with production of the course for future years, and I have also been invited to facilitate VitalTalk courses with some of the lead faculty when they occur in the Bay Area. My training has also enabled me to gain traction in a world that I otherwise would not have been qualified to be part of (as evidenced by my teaching alongside trained Palliative Care providers), and I suspect these opportunities will continue to present themselves in ways that enable me to continue building a career in both scholarship and teaching around communication. There is also currently talk of how best to incorporate the skills of a few of us at UCSF who have trained in this (and a couple other) models; we may soon offer courses on campus for trainees and faculty who want a VitalTalk-style of advanced communication skills training. Regardless of what exactly manifests in terms of specific courses, I know the experience and skills I gained will be extremely valuable to me going forward, and I’m incredibly grateful to have had the support for this opportunity.

I was honored to receive a 2015 Faculty Development award. I attended workshops at the American Management Association focused on increasing productivity through strategic decision making. This experience has been extremely beneficial to my own work, but more importantly, to the mentoring activities that I am engaged in. Making smart decisions on how to spend time in a way that is meaningful and in line with personal and professional values is critical to succeed in an academic career. The award allowed me to take the time to step off the treadmill to examine my priorities and to set up systems to help me maintain focus on them.  I have no doubt that this experience will help prevent burnout, improve life-work balance, increase productivity, and make me a more effective mentor.
Thank you for this opportunity.

Mallory O. Johnson, Ph.D.
Professor in Residence
Department of Medicine

I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to become immersed in all levels of academic vascular surgery since I started practice over 6 years ago at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). My work as a researcher, teacher, mentee, mentor, and clinician has been very fulfilling. I am currently at a pivotal point in my career where improved leadership skills benefit several spheres of my work. With funding from the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development and from my specialty society (Society For Vascular Surgery), I participated in “the Women Leading Change Program,” of the Institute for Women’s Leadership and obtained individual one-on-one leadership skills with a professional coach at the Institute.

The course, held in my home town of Mill Valley, CA, aimed to teach new ways to reframe and resolve problems and translate learning into action by developing an articulated plan to execute goals and reach desired outcomes using strategic alignment tools. In addition, the course promoted awareness of one’s own leadership style and sought to find ways to develop leadership presence in order to achieve groundbreaking results. The follow-up sessions with a professional coach allowed me to put this knowledge into action in my immediate work environment. These skills had an important impact on my growth as an academician and teacher. More specifically, I have applied them in the following endeavors:

  1. Creation of a vascular rehabilitation program (the Vascular Veterans Program) at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. This Vascular Veterans Program is a 12-week patient-centered vascular rehabilitation program targeting both traditional and non-traditional risk factors for patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), in which first year medical students act as health coaches. The program was started as part of the new Bridges Curriculum of the Medical School.
  2. Co-Founding the Bay Area Space Medicine Symposium, soon to become the UC HERMES Institute (Health, Engineering, and Research for Manned Exploration of Space). The goal of this Institute is to support a safe journey of humans in space and translate that knowledge to diseases on earth.

Overall, I have deeply enjoyed a strong involvement at all levels of the first stage of my career, and as I am continuing this next stage as an Associate Professor, I believe that improved leadership skills will have an increasing impact my capacity to contribute to our field. I thank UCSF for the opportunity to obtain UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development, which has already had considerable positive impact on my opportunity to contribute to our field.


Marlene Grenon, MDCM, MMSc, FRCSC
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
University of California, San Francisco

To the UCSF School of Medicine Faculty Council:

With funding from the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development, I was fortunate to be able to attend The Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar, sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges. I attended the session held in Austin, Texas from December 12-15, 2015. This letter is to send my genuine and heartful thanks to those who made this opportunity possible.

The purpose of this seminar is to support the career development of women within academic medicine and help them develop the means to access to higher levels of leadership. Thus, being awarded funds from the Chancellor to attend, and being selected by the AAMC to participate, were affirming and positive in increasing my confidence about my potential to contribute to academic medicine.

During the conference, we participated in a number of hands-on classes and workshops. These exercises were specifically tailored for us and described realistic scenarios and challenges we would face. Several of the workshops were strategically focused and exceptionally valuable from a career management standpoint, such as “leading from the middle”, “how to give performance reviews” and “transforming the energy of conflicts into positive change.” I have saved these useful presentations and workbooks to serve as permanent references for guidance in the future. There were also more personally focused workshops in “increasing resiliency,” “reflective practice,” “work-life integration,” and “personal career planning.” These sessions provided a vital time-out from one’s busy career, allowing for a genuine reassessment and reconsideration of where meaning could be found in one’s life path. The time spent interacting with other mid-career women in this stage of their careers, discussing both strategic and personal issues and the mutual challenges we faced as women faculty, was a fortifying and rejuvenating experience.
It was inspirational to hear accomplished and powerful female leaders describe their personal journeys in academic medicine. In particular, to hear female speakers, who were clearly in critically important decision making positions within their institutions, provide “deep dives” into strategic management and academic medical center funding mechanisms, was especially impressive. Strategy and finance are not areas where women are typically mentored or aspire or excel, and to see visible evidence of highly successful women working in these areas was eye-opening. It was also reassuring to hear these powerful women at the podium discussing moments in their careers when they felt vulnerable, discouraged, or doubtful of their ability to succeed. Knowing that they persevered and succeeded through these trying times gave me confidence that I could as well.

I myself did not realize my own unconscious biases in associating female leaders with only certain types of achievement. To be with so many different accomplished younger and older women, all of whom had achieved in so many areas of academic medicine, opened my mind to the possibilities for not just women but all non-traditional persons. I particularly appreciated that the entire conference had been thoughtfully prepared with language and tone that was accommodating in terms of ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, and age.

One of the concluding emphases of the conference was to look inward and make commitments to sponsoring other women and exposing unconscious bias in all forms. While I attended the conference with the thought of furthering my own personal development, I was surprised to find that afterward, I had become much more conscious of my own power and influence and my own abilities to change conditions within academic medicine for my colleagues and trainees. From this conference, I have experienced a renewal of my commitment to mentor all trainees and early-career faculty in a more deliberate and strategic way.

I also have a greater consciousness about the biases that face all women (or non-traditional persons) in academic medicine (or any sphere of power), and I now have tools, strategies and approaches to the address these biases in very concrete ways, both those that directly affect me as well as those that affect others.

I am very grateful to have received support so that I was able to gain access these formative experiences.

Sue S. Yom, MD, PhD, MAS
Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology

Professional Coaching in Goal Setting, Strategic Planning, and Project Management

A small group of UCSF Assistant Professors leading research laboratories established a Professional Problem Solving (PPS) Group in 2011.  Over the subsequent years, the group members have advanced to Associate Professor positions.  This Faculty Development grant provided funding for a professional coach to work with the PPS group as we navigate the new challenges faced at the mid-career stage.

The grant supported 5 PPS group sessions with a professional coach.  The sessions were customized to meet member needs and focused on 1) Setting a vision, 2) Defining goals, 3) Troubleshooting, 4) Intra-group coaching, and 5) 6 month follow up.  Sessions were attended by 3-8 PPS participants.  Participants benefitted from the opportunity to set aside time to intentionally think about and develop a vision and goals with professional guidance.   We would be happy to offer guidance based on our experience to anyone interested in trying a similar project in the future. 

Dear Academic Senate members,

With funding from the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund for Faculty Learning and Development, I was fortunate to be able to obtain communication training from Eloquence Communication, to enhance my oral presentation and lay communication skills. The sessions were hugely beneficial in enhancing my ability to explain my work to lay audiences and informed a well-received talk at the Commonwealth Club last year. I am now applying the skills I learned in approaching potential donors to contribute to my work, through both UCSF’s Development office and the SFGH Foundation.

Thank you for this opportunity.


Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine,

Wamsley Educational Funding Summary

With the funds from the 2015 Faculty Development Award, I was able to attend the Collaborating Across Borders Conference in Roanoke Virginia in Fall 2015. This conference is one of the premiere conferences in interprofessional collaboration/interprofessional education. Attendance at the conference provided me with the opportunity to present the interprofessional curriculum that we have implemented at UCSF, receive feedback and to disseminate our work to others. I was also able to meet faculty at other institutions doing similar work that has led to fruitful collaborations, including a joint workshop presentation at the Society of General Internal Medicine national meeting in Spring 2016.


2017 Chancellor's Fund
2017 Faculty Learning and Development
Academic Senate Funding