Tag Archives: leadership

My Experience Mentoring Behavioral Science Faculty: Getting Back Much More Than I Gave

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” —William Arthur Ward

Kathryn Fraser, PhD

Kathryn Fraser, PhD

I honestly never imagined how rewarding it would be to help others who are starting out on their path as behavioral medicine faculty. In my own experience as a new behavioral science faculty member, I was sometimes ignored, criticized, and questioned straight to my face about my knowledge and my credibility. Fortunately, a series of very supportive program directors and fellow faculty helped me through some tough times and helped me find my voice. I often imagined what it might be like for new behavioral scientists who felt less than supported in their jobs.

My experience being a small-group mentor in the Behavioral Science/Family Systems Educator Fellowship (BFEF) was truly magical. My co-mentor and I were both focused on fostering an environment of growth and encouragement—we wanted to help the fellows to spread their wings and also feel well grounded in this unique field. Advising the fellows on teaching activities was only a small part of what we did. The bigger tasks were teaching them about self-care, helping them develop a strong professional identity as behavioral faculty, and helping them set professional boundaries. It is easy to feel like you are on the periphery since behavioral science is often considered by residents to be a small part of what they really need to learn. We try to help the fellows understand that their contributions are crucial to one of the cornerstones of family medicine—the physician-patient relationship.

The mentoring we received from the leaders of the BFEF was phenomenal. At planning meetings I felt like I was part of a think tank helping to pave the way for the future of behavioral science. This group helped bring out the best in me as a teacher and a mentor. Their support, warmth, and kindness made them excellent role models for the small-group mentors as we attempted to provide a safe, effective growing space for our up and coming fellows.

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The Real Deal: Serving as a STFM Student Representative

Melissa Robinson

Melissa Robinson
Student Representative

It is mid-morning, and we are on a road trip, driving to the hometown of our son’s fiancée. Well, today she is his fiancée. Tomorrow they will be married, and the car is laden with gifts, wedding favors, and of course the groom’s cake—his favorite, Italian cream cake. It is packed carefully on ice because of the European buttercream. The real deal.

And so, for the first time in many months, I am not studying for a shelf exam, or working on a rotation, or even cleaning up the cake mess in the kitchen. What I love about a road trip is how the time and movement and feeling of the open road invite reflection.

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Day in the Life: My Visit With OHSU and STFM’s President-Elect

Stacy Brungardt, CAE STFM Executive Director

Stacy Brungardt,
STFM Executive Director

Most of you will not have the opportunity to serve on the staff of an amazing nonprofit organization like STFM. This is the first of a new blog series that will highlight some behind-the-scenes work at our staff offices and with our members to transform health care through education.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

10:35 am PT
Hello Portland, Oregon! Picked up by STFM President-Elect John Saultz, MD, at the airport. (Pretty nice to have the incoming president meet me at the airport!) Great lunch at Mother’s—I highly recommend the pulled pork sandwich and homemade rolls. A brief Oregon Health and Sciences University tour set the tone for good conversations throughout the day. This visit had dual purposes: for John and me to discuss our STFM work for the upcoming year and for me to see and hear some of the amazing work going on in the Oregon family medicine department.

1–3 pm       
Met with John. This is where John and I began the first of several conversations about how we’re going to work together to move the strategic plan forward using his specific talents and interest. Getting a glimpse of members’ offices is a side benefit that shares insight into a person’s personality.

3–4 pm    
Met with first-year family medicine residents. This was a treat. I meet a lot of faculty but don’t get to interact with residents very often. This group of bright doctors was willing to share their thoughts about teaching and how they see themselves (or don’t) in this role. Thank you for your time and candor.

4–4:15 pm 
Surprise visit with second-year resident Laurel Witt, MD. I coached Laurel when she played for Power Angle Juniors, her high school volleyball club team. What a pleasure to reconnect after all these years. I’m still proud to have been a part of her life.

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