June 18, 2018

Michigan Working Group for Faculty Life Research

The Michigan Working Group for Faculty Life Research is the evaluative arm of the Michigan Promise, with the goal of critically studying the program each step of the way.

The Michigan Promise Blog
Visual Abstract for Dr. Dossett's blog post on the Michigan Working Group for Faculty Life Research

What is the problem?

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. 

What is the principle?

The Michigan Promise represents a longitudinal investment in the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of Michigan, recognizing that success is due to the talent, commitment, and vision of its faculty. The Michigan Working Group for Faculty Life Research 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 anticipate these efforts will have significant impact on physician and faculty development in general.  

The Working Group 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. 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 will direct individual research projects from each pillar. To date over 40 Michigan faculty and residents have committed to the effort. 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?

How will it be applied?

The Working Group will produce scholarly work in the form of manuscripts, abstracts and oral presentations at local, regional and national meetings (Phase 3). These will help disseminate the lessons learned and establish best practice in faculty recruitment, professional development, leadership development, and in building diverse and inclusive academic environments. As the expertise of the group grows, internal and external funding support will be pursed from relevant funding mechanisms (Phase 4). Our long term goals are to establish a national network of Surgery Departments committed to advancing the science of surgeon excellence. We also aim to develop leaders in executive medicine and faculty development (Phase 5).

Michigan Working Group for Faculty Life Research Phases
The Working Group Project Phases

Are you interested in joining our efforts or collaborating with our Working Group? Do you have ideas about how best to develop surgical leaders? Contact us. We would love to work with you in advancing the science of faculty development.


Article by Lesly Dossett, MD, MPH (Twitter: @leslydossett)

Dr. Dossett

Lesly A. Dossett, MD, MPH

Division Head, Surgical Oncology
Vice Chair of Faculty Development
Maud T. Lane Research Professor of Cancer Quality Improvement
Associate Professor, Surgical Oncology
Co-Director, Michigan Program for Value Enhancement (MPrOVE)

Contact Us

Reach out to join the conversation or to learn more about how to implement the Michigan Promise. Connect with the Department of Surgery or our faculty on Twitter to share your ideas or get in touch with the Office of Faculty Life to schedule a Michigan Promise presentation at your institution. You can also fill out our Michigan Promise Inquiry Form with any questions or comments.

Department of Surgery
2210F Taubman Center
1500 E. Medical Center Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Phone: 734-232-5528

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @UMichSurgery

Hashtag: #MichiganPromise


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