Two University of Minnesota Medical School faculty members, Rahel Ghebre, MD, MPH, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health, and Leslie Morse, DO, professor and head of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, have been selected to join the 2021-2022 class of fellows from the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program for women at Drexel University College of Medicine.

The highly prestigious ELAM fellowship is the only program in North America focused on preparing women in medicine for roles in senior leadership. The program is designed to provide relevant experience for leadership in dentistry, schools of medicine, public health and pharmacy. This year, 73 women were selected to join the program, the largest class in its history. 

Dr. Ghebre is engaged in improving gender equity in academic medicine. Over the past two years, Dr. Ghebre has co-led the Center for Women in Medicine and Science(CWIMS) - Early Pathways to Careers Success Program, a year-long program for new U of M Medical School faculty who identify as women. The ELAM fellowship will allow her to continue and expand her work improving the retention and promotion of women in academic medicine. In partnership with CWIMS, the Office of Faculty Affairs and the Medical School’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Ghebre seeks to improve the promotion of women mid-career.

“Women are recruited into academic positions in equal numbers, but along the way, we are losing bright, committed and talented physicians and researchers,” Dr. Ghebre said. “As a leading academic institution, we will never achieve our full potential until we solve the problem of why less than 25% of women advance to full professors. We all have a role to play in solving this persistent challenge. This work is so important, and we have to accelerate the learning by innovating and disseminating our best practices.”

Dr. Morse is planning to utilize the training she will receive through the ELAM program to develop a Spinal Cord Injury Center of Excellence at the U of M Medical School. As a graduate, and now an advisory board member of the Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program (RMSTP), she has experienced first-hand the benefits of mentorships and networking with other scientists. 

“I will use the skills, training and professional relationships developed to refine skills in the program’s focus areas: overcoming and addressing the challenges that women face in healthcare leadership through the development of professional and personal skills,” Dr. Morse said. “I want to grow as a leader to advance the mission and visibility of the University of Minnesota. When I graduate from this program, I want to help other women across the country achieve their own healthcare career aspirations.”

The ELAM program was established in 1995 with the mission to increase the number and impact of women in senior academic leadership positions. ELAM alumni have gone on to serve as deans at U.S. medical schools, as department chairs, center directors, associate or vice deans, chief executive or academic officers at medical health centers, associate provosts and vice presidents. The program is designed to build new leadership capacities in emerging leaders

Nancy D. Spector, MD, executive director of ELAM, shared, “These women are exceptional leaders who are capable of making critical systemic change in their institutions. The need for the highest quality leaders in academic healthcare has never been greater, and we are doing everything we can to help meet that need by providing outstanding and innovative leadership training for women.”