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Building High-Performing Teams in Academic Surgery

The Opportunities and Challenges of Inclusive Recruitment Strategies

Dossett, Lesly A., MD, MPH; Mulholland, Michael W., MD, PhD; Newman, Erika A., MD on behalf of the Michigan Promise Working Group for Faculty Life Research

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002647
Innovation Report: PDF Only

Problem: In academic surgery, women and physicians from ethnic minority groups remain inadequately represented relative to their representation in the US population and among medical students and surgical trainees. While several initiatives have been aimed at developing the academic surgery pipeline or addressing issues related to faculty retention and promotion, little is known about how recruitment practices impact diversity in academic medicine. Moreover, national standards and ideal practices specific for effective recruitment in surgery have not been established.

Approach: A working group at the Department of Surgery at the University of Michigan implemented an inclusive search and selection process for all open faculty positions within the department in academic year 2017-2018. The group established an expanded vision and framework for effective recruitment to ensure that diverse individuals have full opportunities to access and advance within the department’s clinical, education, and research teams.

Outcomes: Implementation of this recruitment strategy resulted in several immediate measurable benefits including increased diversity of the applicant pools and of the new faculty hires. In addition to these positive effects, the department noted several knowledge gaps and faced challenges to implementing all elements of the strategy.

Next Steps: The authors share their framework, highlighting opportunities and challenges that are broadly generalizable and relevant for building high-performing teams in academic medicine. Work to set measurable metrics and to address challenges for inclusive recruitment in surgery is ongoing. Such evaluation and refinement are important for sustainability and increasing effectiveness.

L.A. Dossett is assistant professor, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

M.W. Mulholland is chair and professor, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

E.A. Newman is assistant professor and associate chair for faculty development, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.

Correspondence should be addressed to Lesly A. Dossett, 1500 E Medical Center Drive, 3303 Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109; telephone: 615-943-2543; e-mail:; Twitter: @leslydossett.

© 2019 by the Association of American Medical Colleges