Chapter 13: Preparing for Coming Challenges to Faculty Development

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Chapter 13: Preparing for Coming Challenges to Faculty Development

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Ms. Yadiny briefly comments on the goals she envisioned for Faculty Development when she became Executive Director in 2002. She then sketches the large-scale changes that MD Anderson will face as national demographics and the healthcare system continue to shift. She reflects on working with new staff members. She explains that she went back to school to earn her certification as a coach so she could be a better support to faculty. Next, Ms. Yadiny lists the faculty's fears and frustrations and notes that most people who need help are not asking for it.

Identifier

YadinyJA_02_20160301_C13

Publication Date

3-1-2016

Publisher

The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - MDACC in the Future; The Leader; The Mentor; Leadership; Mentoring; MD Anderson Culture; Working Environment; The History of Health Care, Patient Care; Cultural/Social Influences

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So you were telling me about the shift to executive director, how it really measured sort of an increasing respect.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

I think that because we were starting to be seen, we had really good poster designs, and at that time you did a lot of—you didn’t use email so much, you used flyers and posters to announce programs. We had great attendance and we were able to report back terrific evaluations on programs, and we were responsive. The first six months I was here, I did focus groups and interviews, and I gathered a lot of data about what the faculty really wanted.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

One thing I didn’t ask you was about your own vision and goals for this new initiative. I imagine, by the time you get to 2002, things have changed a little bit, since you were really getting a sense of the lay of the land here. When you were given this new title of executive director, how did you see your role and what was your vision for what you wanted to accomplish in the next few years?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Well, 2002 was the Leadership Academy that came out, and my vision really was to develop a program that was responsible to the needs of faculty, to really understand what faculty needed, but also to have a sense of what was coming, so I could help them prepare for changes in the landscape out there. I had part of a masters degree, I’d done a lot of programs in the ‘80s, future studies programs, at UH-Clear Lake, and I was really interested in keeping in touch with trends and so on. I think it’s harder now than it was then.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Why?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Because so much is happening all at once and because you have so much breaking on the technology side, that it’s almost hard to discern what all of this means and what it’s going to mean in five years. I think the complexity of the field and of the—hmm, let me see. The complexity of the field itself, academic medicine. The complexity of science and medicine, the sheer volume of information pouring out all the time, the ready access to everything, is like a tsunami every day, of information coming at you. So, how do you discern the patterns in that and how do you discern the real trends, and how do you come up with visions that are new and fresh and relevant. It was much more easy to be relevant back in the early 2000s, because you could see the trends, you could see not much was being done to help the faculty. So now, you know my reading is broad, and I get a lot of ideas from a lot of different sources. I was just thinking this morning, as I was reading this article on leadership in the New Yorker --leadership development-- an article in the New Yorker about how I need to expand my reading again, into future studies areas, like what, what are the scenarios for 2025. Some of the statistics just are like so phenomenal, about—like what is it, by 2025, 53 percent of the American population will be, is it Hispanic, by then? It could be, I mean there are a whole bunch of statistics I need to look at, I need to think about. I need to look more closely at what’s coming out of the AAMC in terms of medical schools, what their curricula will look like, what they’re actually going to be teaching. How are we going to meet the need to have enough healthcare practitioners out there? It’s a phenomenally rich area, but to have a really clear vision. Now this is interesting too, that you bring this up, because I have new staff, they’re doing other kinds of things, like Chris Taylor, and he’s doing entrepreneurship and career development. Bob Tillman brings in other scales. They’re very focused on trainees. You know what can happen, Tacey, is you end up recreating, reinventing the wheel, if you’re not careful. But on the other hand, there’s a tension there between recreating the wheel, reinventing the wheel because you did that, but the wheel has turned, and you may have done it 15 years ago, but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t need to be done. You know, it’s just a different population, but the wheel remains pretty much the same. How do you have a career, how do plan for a career, how do you find mentors, how much should you publish and when. How do you develop some political dexterity and astuteness so you don’t say stupid things or do things that are detrimental to your career. Those things remain the same, you have to repeat them over and over, and as a leader who has come to a certain point in his or her life, you have to be able to say to younger people, Good, that’s a great idea, go do it, you know, do it in your way, make it your own. So what is it, as a senior leader, you add to the mix, you have some wisdom but you don’t want to say we tried that already. You cannot say that, although I find myself sometimes thinking it, and then I think well, come on, you know, this is what I used to argue about when I was 40, to more senior people; don’t say you’ve done it already, it has to be done again and again and again and again, in a new way. But then what do you bring to the table? You have to bring new things to the table, new thinking. So a lot of what I’ve turned my attention to, since 2009, 2010, is I went and got my certification as a coach. That took a lot of work, two years of work.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Why did you do that?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Because I was spending so much time talking to leaders and faculty, and it wasn’t—a lot of the—I realized, from listening, working with our consultants, that your job is not there to tell them what to do, but to listen and ask good questions. Coaching is really all about asking good questions. It’s what you do in oral history, right, you ask the questions. I needed to learn how to do that, I felt, to be more effective, and ask the questions that really mattered, that would allow people to think differently and see things differently or assess things differently. So I did coaches training, institute training for a year, and then I did the certification for a year. It was a heck of a lot of work and I have to say, I’ve become a much better consultant to the faculty because of that, and coach to the faculty, I’ve coached a lot of faculty.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What have you noticed about your own change?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

I don’t have to have the answers. I need to have the questions. I’ve noticed that faculty people, I see faculty, people get hung up at various points in their lives, around different issues. It can be lack of confidence. I see that in some of the early career faculty, even when they’ve come out of Stanford and Harvard and everywhere else, they come here and they sometimes lack confidence, they’re afraid. Fear is rampant in this organization, at all levels. They’re afraid they’re going to make a mistake, they’re not going to get it right, they’re not going to be good enough. They’re afraid sometimes, to ask questions that will allow them to learn. They’re afraid they’re alone in the world, that no one else is feeling this way. They’re afraid that they’ve lost the sense of why they got into this in the first place. What’s it mean? They’re afraid it’s going to be like this forever. Am I going to be able to sustain this for 20 years, 30 years? They’re afraid they’ve lost themselves in the midst of this intensity. So, there’s a lot of fear, and there’s a lot of concern about finding that spot for themselves that will set them on fire enough that they can deal with all the bullshit that’s thrown at them all the time, that they have to deal with, like the faxes that don’t work in the clinic, the printers that don’t work, the lights that are burned out in exam rooms, the schedulers who don’t know what they’re doing, the poor nurses, if they have to deal with them. Some have fabulous nurses, some don’t. The lack of administrative assistance, the lack of a feeling that the leaders really care about any of that. So, there’s that stuff. Then on the research side, you wouldn’t believe how many faculty I’ve dealt with who have said the light has gone out for me. I’m a PhD researcher, what the heck am I doing? I don’t know that I’m good enough to get grants to sustain this. I don’t even want to write these things any more, what am I going to do? I’m 45, I’ve got kids to raise, I may not be able to get these grants in five years, when what, what do I do? So, that’s where I’m finding the conversations are leading now.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What kind of support is available for a person, for example, in that kind of major career crossroads?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Well, there’s coaching available from me, Bob Tillman does coaching and does that Birkman. I’m being trained in Birkman in April. So he does a lot of Birkmans with people. I do MBTIs with people. I’ve had people I’ve coached for over a year here, that I see maybe once a month. Chris Taylor does a lot of counseling around career advancement, that’s more for post-docs and young faculty who are looking at entrepreneurship as a way forward. We have a lot of knowledge, so we have a lot of people we can connect people to. You know, if you’re interested in writing, you should talk to so and so in scientific publications. You can think about editing, you can think this way or that way, or here’s how you might do some self-assessment. We’ve got a lot of tools we can use now.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah, these are rough times. Do you find—I mean I’m just curious, because I can kind of imagine, knowing the people here, that it would be really difficult. You’d have to be very selective about the individuals that you would share information with, that you’re in a state like that, if you would share it at all, with colleagues.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

You have to be careful if you’re talking to somebody, who is absolutely confidential.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Absolutely.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

And not talking to your chair, not talking to your section head, not talking to your colleagues, yes.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

You know, which means that I’m sure for a great many people, that means they’re wandering around, you know psychically wandering around, carrying this burden pretty much alone. And so to have a place where they can go to speak about this and process it would be pretty valuable, really a treasure, if they allow themselves. Do you find that—I mean obviously, you know the people who show up on your doorstep, but do you have a suspicion or concerns, that there are individual who, because of the culture, the cowboy culture, never come?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Oh yeah, most.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Really? Most.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Most never come, and there are people hidden back in those clinics and in those research labs we never see, we never meet, never. They don’t show up at any of our programs, they don’t reach out for help, or they don’t know where to reach out for help. We haven’t been really great at putting our name out there. We need to work, this summer, on an article for faculty notes, or something we send to all the chairs and division heads, all faculty, about the range of things that we do and the kinds of services we offer, because in some ways we’re not as well-known as we should be. You can become a victim of your own success too. You can end up doing a lot more than you’ve ever originally thought you would, because the need is so great, and I think we’re at a watershed moment right now. This is one of the future trends I’m reading about that scares the heck out of me, which is what is the world of work going to be like in ten years, what are the jobs going to be? And with so much becoming automated… I heard this guy on NPR, just maybe eight months ago, who’s an expert in—he’s a tech guy, so he’s an expert in what’s happening in tech, and he was all very bubbly and happy, well you know, and so much becoming—robots everywhere, bionic things being put in bodies that will replace body parts, it’s all going to work really well, blah-blah-blah. Towards the end of the interview, the interviewer asked what he was concerned about and he hesitated and he said, “What are people going to be working at?” She said well, you know, “We’ve had so much change in tech over the last 15 years, are you expecting a slowdown in the next 15?” He just burst out laughing. Well, it was kind of more like a snort. No, he said, “What I’m worried about is it’s going so fast, the changes will be so fast, what are people going to be doing to make money?” She said, “You’re really concerned about that,” and he said, “You bet I’m concerned.” Well, you know, we thought that would happen at various stages of tech development and it never did, and new jobs came out of it and blah-blah-blah. He said yeah, but we’re talking about really high powered tech and with artificial intelligence or artificial, they call it AG now, AGI, artificial general intelligence, I mean smarter than smart. And so when you think of the rate of change in 20, 30 years, 30 years ago, I was 38. When I think about the change, whoa. It’s not like it’s impacted—yeah it has, it has impacted my life. I was going to say, has it impacted the texture of my life? Yes, in that I work in a very competitive environment. I’ve worked harder the last three, four years, than I’ve ever worked in my life. I’ve put in longer hours, I’ve read more, thought more, and I don’t know what I have to really show for it, except that I’ve got it sort of in my head, I can talk to leaders and so on, I get it. I’ve become a coach, that’s really significant, because I’ve been able to use those skills pretty well I think, but I just wonder, where are we headed, you know? And the trends out there, I try not to be a negative attractor, like I was talking about earlier. You can be so attuned to what’s negative that you’re not attuned to what’s positive, but I do see some big things coming out as that I don’t know how we’re going to deal with.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What in particular are you concerned about? I mean, technology obviously.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Technology, climate, social issues. I feel like the United States has allowed itself to succumb to some very limited negative thinking about government, not creative thinking about government, and therefore money has been pulled from very important things like general public education, that we should be investing in and we’re not, we haven’t. States’ rights, I think we’ve given too much to the states, and states like Texas, to me, Texas is very unimpressive in terms of its understanding of what’s going to make this state run in 25 or 30 years, as under-invested in general, public education and well-being of its citizens. I mean, it’s left so many citizens without healthcare. It’s cruel, but more than that, it’s a drag on the whole society. My daughter was just out delivering babies in Jasper, Texas, as part of her rotation. Oh my God, first babies born at age 16. A 24 year-old was considered old. Twenty-four year-olds were coming in, having their fourth and fifth babies. They were testing those girls for STDs, a lot of them have more than one, and drug addiction, rampant. That’s what those babies are being born into. So, societal problems to me, are huge, there are enormous societal problems and I don’t know what we know how to deal with them. So, even within these big complex institutions, running these big complex institutions is tough work. How do I get faculty ready for that? What is it they need to know in five years that they don’t know now? We talk about resilience. There’s a lot going on in mindfulness and resilience and building resilience, and I can tell you, my own resilience has felt threatened in the last couple of years, from the change I’ve been through, changes I’ve been through, three years, and so it’s visceral to me. I understand how shaky you can become, from just having to deal with enormous amounts of change.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

We’re at five of, should we close off for today?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Sure.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

And think about setting up maybe a short session for next time?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Perfect.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

It sounds good, all right.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Thank you.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Well thank you for your time this morning.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Thank you.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I am turning off the recorder at about six minutes of eleven.

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Chapter 13: Preparing for Coming Challenges to Faculty Development

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