Professional Development

We are advancing the science of surgical excellence.

Our Professional Development Research

The U-M Department of Surgery is investing heavily in faculty and trainee career development, improving efforts locally and nationally to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in academic surgery. Our unique Michigan Promise initiative aims to empower and support each individual to reach their full professional potential, and research is integral to our success. While we know that diversity is crucial to solving the complex problems we face in surgery and healthcare more generally, we as a field lack evidence-based best practices for how to realize that goal. To address this gap, the Department's Working Group for Faculty Life Research continuously and rigorously evaluates the many efforts of the Michigan Promise across its six focal areas, or pillars: recruitment, innovation, outreach, environment, achievement and leadership.

Visit our Faculty & Lab Directory for a list of all the centers, programs, labs, and independent investigators in the Department of Surgery.

Themes & Impact

The effort is led by Drs. Lesly Dossett and Michael Mulholland and includes over 40 resident and faculty members across the Department. Early results include:

  • A framework for and summary of opportunities and challenges of a faculty recruitment process implemented in our department. The search and selection processes led to greater applicant and new hire diversity and identified gaps and challenges to address. The work was published in Academic Medicine.
  • Design principles for, and one-year evaluation of, a leadership development program for our surgeons. The program led to surgeon-reported improvements in several key domains of leadership, including self-empowerment, self-awareness, teambuilding and business and leadership knowledge. This continuous quality improvement work on faculty leadership development has been published in the journals Surgery and Annals of Surgery.
  • An analysis of gender composition of the editorial boards of 10 high-impact journals in the field of General Surgery over two decades and proposed strategies for improving the disparities identified, published in Annals of Surgery. Also in the Annals of Surgery, we disseminated a review of how the language we use can perpetuate gender bias and inequality in general, and in medicine and surgery specifically. We also proposed several strategies for greater use of gender-fair language.
  • A qualitative study of barriers to and facilitators of advancement for female academic surgeons. This research identified complex institutional, relational and individual factors that impact career development and success. The findings, published in JAMA Network Open, can help guide evidence-based efforts and policies to best support advancement.

Additional findings and best practices are forthcoming, as we disseminate scholarship that advances the science of surgeon excellence.

Partnerships & Collaborations

Our Michigan Promise initiative has quickly become a model for other University of Michigan Medical School departments. In addition, we have launched the Promise Coalition, a consortium of several departments of surgery around the country. All are dedicated to collectively sharing and implementing best practices to help faculty and trainees reach their fullest potential.

Promise Coalition partners include University of Wisconsin, Stanford University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Vanderbilt University and Harvard University's Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This innovative group will enable multi-institutional investigations to develop, measure and improve efforts to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion at partner institutions and throughout academic surgery.