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11th Annual Fall Leadership Mentoring Conference
2008 (Archived)

Successful Strategies for Women in Academic Medicine
(This conference is made possible through the generous funding of the Dean of the School of Medicine and a grant from the Trustees' Council of Penn Women)

Date: November 14, 2008 (Friday)
Time: 7:30 am - 4:30 pm

Location: The Inn at Penn
Woodlands Ballroom
3600 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine recognizes the importance of women in academic medicine and supports various initiatives that address recruitment, retention, promotion, and overall job satisfaction for women medical faculty. In 1997, with support from the School of Medicine, FOCUS expanded its original mission in order to address the well-documented national issue that, relative to their male colleagues, women medical faculty are over-represented in the junior ranks and are less likely to attain promotion or tenure. The overall program, FOCUS on Health & Leadership for Women, maintains a dual mission: to support the advancement and leadership of women in academic medicine, and to promote education and research in women's health.

This conference, Successful Strategies for Women in Academic Medicine, is designed to promote the retention and advancement of women faculty as they face the challenges and realities of academic medicine at Penn. Through plenary sessions and interactive workshops, faculty will have opportunities for skill building and networking designed to support their career progression.

Upon completion of the conference, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss current trends, challenges and realities of academic medicine
  • Employ crucial leadership skills to effectively navigate the dynamic environment of academic medicine
  • Gain critical skills in time management and decision making processes
  • Clarify personal and professional development goals
  • Establish mentoring relationships that foster support, growth and professional success



Registration and Continental Breakfast


One-on-One CV Review Sessions with Senior Faculty Members
Optional Morning Session (pre-registration required)

A one-on-one mentoring session for assistant professors paired with senior women colleagues for an in-depth review of your CV and career plans. The idea is that a senior woman from your own institution (but not from your department) reviews your CV to discuss with you your strengths and weaknesses and how both might be addressed to optimize your success in meeting your goals.


Stephanie Abbuhl, MD
Executive Director, FOCUS



Women Trailblazers: Celebrating Our Unique Style
Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA

Women in academia are often faced with the challenge of being the “first” or “only” in leadership, clinical or research positions.  As pioneers or trailblazers who navigate through uncharted territory, women use a leadership skill set that is unique and different from their male counterparts.  The session, woven with vignettes and original poetry, will focus on identifying, developing and celebrating our unique style.  


Time Sickness - Is There a Cure?
Susan R. Johnson, MD

Common concerns about time will be presented, followed by examples of concrete steps that can be taken to address these.




Strategic Decision Framing: A Critical Component to Effective Decisions
Kathy Pearson, PhD

Making decisions in an atmosphere of increasing time pressure, uncertainty, and conflicting expert opinions creates challenges for any manager.  The complexity of an academic health care system environment makes strategic decision making even more difficult.  This session focuses on reframing issues so that the right problems are addressed, distinguishing systematic patterns from random events as well as the difference in key stakeholder perspectives.


Pairing of Registered Afternoon CV Review Participants

Lunch and Award Presentations




Stephanie Abbuhl, MD

Arthur Rubenstein, MBBCh
Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

2008 FOCUS Award for the Advancement of Women in Medicine

FOCUS Founder’s Award
Jeane Ann Grisso, MD, MSc
Personal acceptance from 10th anniversary



Stethoscopes, Test Tubes, Partners and Kids: Keeping All the Balls in the Air
Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA

Women’s competing and at times conflicting roles as academicians, mothers, and partners can be logistically challenging and emotionally draining.  Women may be left with the unsatisfying perception that they are “juggling many balls,” while not devoting enough attention to any of them. This interactive, case-based workshop will explore the “juggler” reality and its impact on academic careers. Successful life-career management strategies will be shared and discussed. 

Getting Things Done in the Midst of Chaos: Strategies for Personal Productivity
Susan R. Johnson, MD

This workshop will present specific strategies, along with implementation ideas for:

  • Keeping track of all your work
  • Identifying the next thing that needs to be done
  • Filing materials where they can be found
  • Tips for taking action

The Challenge of Group Decision Making
Kathy Pearson, PhD

In today’s increasingly complex health care environment with multiple stakeholders and “matrixed” organizational structures, decisions are often made by more than one individual.  This session explores key factors in making sound group decisions through the use of a real-world case and a group decision-making exercise.  The identification and management of key stakeholders will be an integral component of the session discussion.


CONCURRENT WORKSHOPS (repeated, see above)


Stephanie Abbuhl, MD


One-on-One CV Review Sessions with Senior Faculty Members
Optional Afternoon Session (pre-registration required)



A grant to FOCUS from the Trustees' Council of Penn Women has been dedicated toward our guest speaker honoraria.

Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA
Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine
Executive Director, Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health

Children's National Medical Center

Denice Cora-BrambleDenice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA is the Executive Director of the Diana L. and Stephen A. Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The Goldberg Center is one of the six Centers of Excellence at Children’s Hospital and includes the Divisions of General Pediatrics, Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Pediatric Dentistry, the Child and Adolescent Protection Center, the Mobile Health Program, seven health centers and multiple related programs. The Goldberg Center is the largest provider of pediatric primary care in the District of Columbia, delivering more than 78,000 visits per year and serving an urban, multicultural population.

In her role as Executive Director, Dr. Cora-Bramble leads the clinical, research, education and advocacy activities of the Goldberg Center. She is the first minority and currently the only woman to lead a clinical Center of Excellence at CNMC. She provides leadership to a multi-site staff of over 190, to include more than 38 medical and dental faculty members. She is a Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine. As a bilingual, board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Cora-Bramble has developed and implemented national and local programs that increase access to health care services for underserved populations. Her areas of expertise and interest are community pediatrics, faculty development and cultural competency. She is the recipient of the Academic Pediatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2007 National Pediatric Community Teaching Award, the highest national honor in community pediatric education. She was also the Association of American Medical Colleges’ 2007 Robert G. Petersdorf Scholar-in-Residence. She has received multiple awards from organizations such as the American Public Health Association, George Washington University, District of Columbia Public Schools and the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association. Her work in community pediatrics was featured in the Advocate for Children section of the national pediatric journal, Contemporary Pediatrics.

After finishing a Bachelor of Science degree at George Washington University and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Howard University College of Medicine, she began her career in community pediatrics as a school physician in the public schools of the District of Columbia. She subsequently held several leadership positions at the George Washington University Medical Center, including Executive Medical Director for Medicaid Managed Care and Community Health in the Office of the Vice President for Health Affairs and Director of the School of Public Health and Health Service’s Community Oriented Primary Care Track. Dr. Cora-Bramble also served at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as the Director of the Quality Center in the Bureau of Primary Health Care and as Chief of the Primary Care Medical Education Branch at the Bureau of Health Professions.

In addition to her medical training, Dr. Cora-Bramble completed a three-year W.K. Kellogg Foundation Leadership Fellowship and recently finished a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Medical Services Management from Johns Hopkins University.


Susan R. Johnson, MD, MS
Associate Provost for Faculty
University of Iowa
Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Epidemiology
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Susan R. JohnsonDr. Susan R. Johnson received her B.S, M.D., and an M.S. in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health from the University of Iowa. She completed residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and then joined the faculty of that Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where she is now Professor. In 1999 she received a secondary appointment in the Department of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health. Dr. Johnson’s clinical and research interests are in the areas of Premenstrual Syndrome, and menopausal health issues, particularly the use of hormones and other drugs for prevention in post menopausal women. She was the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the Carver College of Medicine from 1994 to 2003, and since July, 2005 serves as the Associate Provost for Faculty at the university level.

Her interest in time management began many years ago, as she found herself struggling with how to get everything done on time. In 1998, after amassing the world’s largest collection of TM books, she decided to read them and apply the principles found therein. A co-worker, after observing that the top of her desk was visible for the first time in anyone’s memory, asked her to present a talk to the office staff. Since then, Dr. Johnson has made more than 100 presentations on this topic to physicians, support personnel, managers, students, and a variety of other groups at the University of Iowa and around the country. In addition, between September 2003 and June 2005, she had the opportunity to work one-on-one with over 50 faculty and staff members in their offices. In 2006, based on her contributions regarding faculty time management and organization, Dr. Johnson was appointed to the editorial advisory board of Academic Physician & Scientist.


Kathy Pearson, PhD
Adjunct Associate Professor, Operations and Information Management Department
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Senior Consultant and Director of Executive Development
Decision Strategies International (DSI)

Kathy PearsonKathy Pearson, PhD serves as an adjunct associate professor in the Operations and Information Management Department at The Wharton School. She has taught operations management courses in the MBA program and Executive Master’s of Technology Management programs as well as Probability and Statistics, Simulation Modeling, and other courses for the department and the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006, Dr. Pearson was honored with the "Goes above and beyond the call of duty" award by the 2007 Wharton MBA class. In addition Dr. Pearson is a senior consultant and Director, Executive Education for Decision Strategies International (DSI), a management consulting firm focused on scenario-based strategic planning and decision-making.

Dr. Pearson is heavily involved in Executive Education at The Wharton School and DSI, teaching on a variety of topics such as Critical Thinking, Scenario Planning, Strategic Decision Making, Project Management, and Stakeholder Analysis. As Academic Director for many programs, she is responsible for the design of the academic curriculum, the integration of the material, and the overall educational quality of the program. Specifically, Dr. Pearson has served as the Academic Director for the Wharton Executive Management Program for Academic Surgery Leaders, the Patient Safety Leadership Academy Executive Program, the Wharton Nursing Leaders Program, and the GlaxoSmithKline Executive Management Program for Pharmacy Leaders. Many of her clients are in the health care field, but she has also worked with executives from a wide variety of industries, including financial services, professional services, and the manufacturing sector, and has taught at Cedep at INSEAD in Fountainebleau, France.

Dr. Pearson’s industrial experience includes analytical support for the pharmaceutical industry, various hospital groups, the Department of Defense, and several manufacturing companies. Most recently, she has served on a number of quality management and Best Practice teams for a major health care company, has been heavily involved in developing computer simulation models for the health care industry, and has worked with several professional organizations in developing long-term strategic business plans. In addition, she has worked with hospital clinicians in the area of patient safety.

Dr. Pearson received her B.S. degree in theoretical mathematics from Auburn University, her M.S. degree in Decision Sciences from Georgia State University, and her Ph.D. in industrial engineering (concentration in statistics) from Northwestern University.