Michigan Promise Research Collaborative

Our mission is to set new standards for the recruitment, professional development, promotion, and retention of diverse academic surgical leaders.

Advancing the Science of Faculty & Trainee Development

The benefits of increasing cognitive diversity among academic faculty are broad and have been well-described as a significant component of the strategy to solve complex problems and reduce health disparities the US. Best practices on how to recruit, develop, and promote a diverse group of academic surgical leaders are unknown however.

The Michigan Promise Research Collaborative is the evaluative arm of the Michigan Promise, with the goal of critically studying the program each step of the way. As the components of the Michigan Promise are developed and implemented, we will conduct rigorous academic evaluations to determine whether or not they work. Our goal is not only to evaluate ourselves, but to share our findings so that we can help establish best practices in Academic Surgery for recruitment, achievement, leadership development, innovation, and outreach within a diverse and inclusive environment. Our emphasis will be on application of these principles to Surgery, but we anticipate that these efforts will have significant impact on physician and faculty development in general.


Six project leaders serve as directors for the individual efforts within the six pillars of the Michigan Promise: Environment, Recruitment, Achievement, Leadership, Innovation and Outreach. The project leads direct individual research projects from each pillar. Examples of early ongoing areas of investigation include:

  • Recruitment: What are the usual hiring practices of US academic surgery departments and are inclusive hiring practices regularly used?
  • Achievement: What are the elements that comprise achievement in academic surgery and what contributes to achievement variation?
  • Environment: How can changes in surgical culture and environment be optimized and measured?
  • Leadership: Does formal leadership training at the resident level translate into greater achievement in the early faculty years?
  • Innovation: Does intentional development of surgeon-entrepreneurs lead to greater innovation and product development?
  • Outreach: What are the characteristics of a successful pipeline development outreach program?


The Michigan Promise Research Collaborative produces scholarly work in the form of manuscripts, abstracts and oral presentations at local, regional and national meetings.

The collaborative is co-directed by Drs. Michael Mulholland and Lesly Dossett who will oversee the research portfolio of the group with emphasis on overall strategy, coordination and local, regional and national dissemination.


The Michigan Promise Research Collaborative’s scholarly work disseminates the lessons learned and establishes best practice in faculty recruitment, professional development, leadership development, and in building diverse and inclusive academic environments. A national network of Surgery Departments committed to advancing the science of surgeon excellence has been established. We aim to develop leaders in executive medicine and faculty development through this research.