they have peer mentorship. The Society of Chairs of Academic
Radiology Departments has a mentorship program for new
chairs, who are assigned an experienced mentor.
Fessell: You mentioned some of the things you enjoy about being a chair and leading. Could you elaborate on the joys of leadership a little bit?
Meltzer: The joy for me really is the time that I spend with faculty,
staff, and trainee colleagues. If I have a day where I’m meeting with
a lot of faulty, doing my monthly lunch with the residents, or spending some time at the radiology leadership academy, I can pretty
much predict that I’m going to be in a great mood all week. If it’s a
time of frequent budget meetings and other such things—it’s not
that I don’t see the need and the importance of those activities—it’s
just not where the joy comes from. The joy for me comes from the
contact and support of the people I serve. That’s what keeps me
going. Last week we had our annual faculty and staff awards ceremony and the auditorium was packed full of our people celebrating
each other and supporting each other in the best way; I was just
“floating on cloud nine” for the rest of the week.
Fessell: Can you tell me more about that, how it is structured?
Do people nominate each other, does this come from administration? How is it set up?
Meltzer: It’s set up such that people nominate each other. I never
nominate anyone; the nominations come from their peers. There
is a staff and faculty committee that reviews all the nominations.
We have awards for excellence in each of the missions (service,
research, teaching, or mentorship) at a junior and senior level.
We also have team awards, including the “Face of Excellence” for
those teams that go above and beyond. Our breast imaging team
at our main university hospital won this coveted award this
year—they are phenomenal. One of the purposes of this joint faculty and staff awards process is to support our vision of a single
department in which all contribute, without stark divides among
faculty, staff, and trainees. We aim to approach all we do as one
Fessell: Is this awards ceremony something that you started
when you came or did it already exist?
Meltzer: We started it a few years ago. This was our fourth annual
formal ceremony. We’ve always had teaching awards and the usu-
al, but having a formal recognition event was started a few years
ago. This initiative arose from our departmental strategic plan, in
which one of our goal themes emphasizes celebrating each other
and celebrating achievement. We also have another recognition
program, “Caught in the Act of Service Excellence,” that is given
on a monthly basis. If someone sees a colleague doing something
that’s really above and beyond—whether it’s for a patient, col-
league, or someone in need—he/she writes a paragraph about it
and submits it through a weblink. A committee reviews the sub-
missions to determine if they meet the bar of truly being above and
beyond. For those we recognize, our executive leaders surprise
that individual among their peers to make sure everybody knows
how much we all appreciate their actions.
Fessell: I love that! Catch them doing something right, celebrate it, and promote it.
Meltzer: Yes, it is important. Everybody works so hard, and it’s
rare that you get a chance to really celebrate that, so we try to do it.
I have a very large department and if you ask me what I’ve done
best, it is hiring people smarter than me. I have an incredible leadership team, which gives me more flexibility to make sure I can do
the things I think are meaningful to our trainees or faculty. I can
and do rely heavily on six invaluable vice chairs and highly capable
administrative partners, division directors, and chiefs of service. I
am very grateful for the honor to work with such accomplished and
highly collaborative leaders. It’s also about making sure to have effective and inclusive national search processes so that we can always look for the best and brightest talent to join our team.
Fessell: That brings up the topic of women in radiology. Do you
think women in radiology face particular challenges?
Meltzer: I do think there are considerable challenges and I am
very concerned. We’ve worked hard at Emory to increase the
composition of women on our faculty and provide strong faculty
professional development for our junior faculty. Yet as a field, radiology does not have a discernible pipeline: we still have pretty
much the same proportion of women in residency and fellowship,
about 27%, as we have nationally on faculty. There is a problem
with the way we reach out, or don’t reach out enough, to medical
students. This is something I am passionate about. We’re working hard on this in our department, where we have a very engaged Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and of course there
are many efforts on a national level.
Fessell: Are there particular ways you think we can help encourage medical students to choose radiology?
Meltzer: I think we need to spend more time with our medical
students. Also, if we had a more diverse resident and faculty pool,
female medical students might feel more comfortable considering radiology. About a month ago, I went to speak at the local
student chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association
and a medical student said, “Radiology sounds pretty cool but
isn’t it a guy thing?” There is a perception that our field is a bit of
an old boys’ club. Unless we purposefully act to change that perception, we’ll continue to have a hard time.
Road to Leadership continued from p. 13
Road to Leadership continues on p. 20
It is important as a leader to be able to
promote others publicly, to be able to support
your faculty and staff, and clearly communicate
your support.—Carolyn C. Meltzer