New VP&S Office for Women and Diverse Faculty Expands Professional Development Opportunities

Researchers, educators, and clinicians at Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) now have a new go-to resource for professional development: the VP&S Office for Women and Diverse Faculty. The office supports peer mentorship groups, career guidance, and coaching for women and diverse faculty across all career paths while partnering with the larger VP&S community to promote a culture of equity and respect.

At VP&S, 47% of the faculty are women versus the national average of 41%. At the highest ranks, 29% of VP&S full professors are women compared with 25% nationally. Racially and ethnically diverse people make up 21% of the faculty at VP&S, with 10% (compared with 8% nationally) from groups traditionally underrepresented in the professoriate.

The VP&S Office for Women and Diverse Faculty was formed in 2019 at the recommendation of two committees convened by Lee Goldman, MD, then EVP, Dean, and Chief Executive of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. One committee addressed career challenges faced by women and the other examined those of underrepresented minorities. Both gave recommendations to strengthen ongoing efforts to promote career success for all VP&S faculty.

"Faculty diversity and excellence are inextricably intertwined," says Anne Taylor, MD, vice dean for academic affairs at VP&S, senior vice president for faculty affairs and career development at CUIMC, and the John Lindenbaum Professor of Medicine. "At CUIMC we are committed to recruiting the most diverse and talented faculty and then to supporting their career development needs. We support all faculty according to career paths—research, clinical care, or education—but we also recognize that women and diverse faculty may face additional challenges. The Office of Women and Diverse Faculty is prepared to help faculty successfully navigate these challenges. Our faculty’s success makes CUIMC a more successful institution!"

Faculty Advisory Deans Program Launches

One of the first initiatives by the VP&S Office for Women and Diverse Faculty is the Faculty Advisory Deans program. Advisory deans are senior faculty experienced in each academic mission of VP&S. They provide career guidance, resources, and information to faculty in each academic track with an emphasis on the needs of women and diverse faculty. The advisory deans:

  • Joan M. Bathon, MD, Advisory Dean for Clinician Scientist Faculty
  • Angela M. Christiano, PhD, Advisory Dean for Basic Scientist Faculty
  • Laura Lennihan, MD, Advisory Dean for Clinician Educator Faculty
  • Rini B. Ratan, MD, Advisory Dean for Clinician Educator Faculty
  • Robert A. Whittington, MD, Assistant Dean for Academic Development, Faculty Diversity and Inclusion

“I feel extremely fortunate to have built a meaningful career in medical education driven by a strong sense of purpose and mission,” says Ratan, the Berkowitz Family Associate Professor of Women's Health (in Obstetrics and Gynecology at CUMC). She is also the residency program director and vice chair for education in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and previously served as the department’s clerkship director for 11 years. “I welcome the opportunity to mentor junior faculty who are clinician-educators and help them rise through the ranks and build successful careers at VP&S. I would love to develop networking opportunities and innovative programs to offer women guidance in navigating some of the unique challenges and issues that we face while trying to build careers in academic medicine.”

For more information about the advisory deans and how to contact them, visit the faculty advisory deans webpage on the VP&S site. In addition, view upcoming programs and workshops for diverse faculty.