12 WINTER 2017 n arrs.org
By David P. Fessell
Professor of Radiology
University of Michigan
Faculty Lead, Leadership
UM Medical School
The Road to Leadership
A Limited Series
With Carolyn C. Meltzer
Chair of Radiology
By Frank J. Lexa
Adjunct Professor of Marketing
Spain and East Asia
Global Consulting Practicum
The Wharton School
As the field of radiology continues to evolve, it’s imperative that we continue to train to tomorrow’s leaders. In this eries, David P. Fessell and Frank J. Lexa interview luminary leaders in radiology to capture the essence of how each
crafted and then traveled the road to chairmanship. The discussions focus on overcoming specific leadership challenges; the
goal is to spark discussion, inspire learning, and support present and future leaders in our rapidly changing field.
Carolyn C. Meltzer is the chair of radiology at Emory
University in Atlanta, GA. In this article she shares her thoughts
on women in radiology, management, and decisions one must
make before accepting the role as chair.
Lexa: What was it like on the first day that you were chair?
Meltzer: I had an odd and circuitous path. My first day as the
chair was actually as the interim chair and it was not something I
was planning. I had been asked to interview for the Emory
Radiology Chair in 2008. I was vice chair for research and director of neuroradiology at the University of Pittsburgh at the time.
I was very happy with my position there, although I wasn’t as
happy with the Pittsburgh winters. But I thought I would take a
look. My first impression of Emory was what a fantastic institution
it was, but who would want to be chair? Seemed like a crazy job. So
I went back to Pittsburgh and didn’t think about it much afterward.
Another chair was hired at Emory and, subsequently, I was offered
the dream job as associate dean for research in charge of building
an imaging research center and overseeing all of the academic ac-
tivities in the department of radiology. Nine months later, the new
chair suddenly left. The dean told me on a Friday and said on
Monday he would appoint me as interim chair. My first day on the
job I was a bit of a “deer in the headlights;” it wasn’t what I came to
Emory for, and it wasn’t what I had envisioned.
Fessell: Could you tell us a little bit about your mentors along
your leadership journey and, specifically, what kind of impact
they’ve had on you?
Meltzer: I always say being chair is the best job I never wanted. I
have been exceedingly fortunate. I’ve had many terrific mentors
along the way and I am very grateful for that. I think because I
have been so fortunate to have mentors to advise and guide me
when I came upon branch points in my career and moments of
self-doubt, I have really invested in mentorship in my department. Of course, I had content mentors who really understood my
research area. But of those few overall career mentors, Nick
Bryan really stands out. Nick was the director of neuroradiology
at Johns Hopkins when I was a fellow. He has been one of
those people— and continues to be one of those people—that I
could call at any hour or at any time when I needed his counsel,
and he’s a dear friend. There have been times when senior colleagues would tell me I was too young or too inexperienced, but a
mentor would say, “You can do it, I’ll help you.” I am fortunate to
still gain much from the advice of both senior and peer mentors.
Peer mentors at other institutions can be particularly valuable as
we often grapple with similar issues.
Fessell: Can you tell us a particular story or event about how
Nick and his mentorship impacted you in a particular way?
Meltzer: When I was thinking about whether I wanted to be
chair or really spend more time in executive leadership, Nick was
Road to Leadership continues on p. 13