Faculty Experiences

Lisa Sanchez-Johnsen, PhD

Lisa Sanchez-Johnsen

Association of American Medical Colleges
Mid-Career Minority Faculty Leadership Development Seminar (Oct. 27-28, 2021)

“It was extremely valuable to meet new colleagues and learn new strategies and skills that will help me during this phase in my career. The speakers were amazing and the insights they shared will be directly beneficial to my career development. I learned about the importance of integrating scholarship into administrative responsibilities, which will help to enhance my research productivity. I also learned about differences in the roles of mentors, coaches, and sponsors and the importance of these roles at various stages in one’s career. I look forward to sharing what I learned with others at Rush and nationally.”

Ruta Rao, MD

Association of American Medical Colleges
Mid-Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar (Dec. 6-10, 2019)

“We were able to define our leadership style using the PACE palette, and learn how to identify other’s styles so we can best work together. The talks were excellent, specifically the ones on sponsorship and pearls of wisdom. There was also a very informative talk about the current state of academic medicine. Throughout my medical career, I have been taught extensively on how to take care of patients. This was refreshing and inspiring to spend a few days learning how to become a leader.”

Nicole Siparsky, MD


Association of American Medical Colleges
Mid-Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar (Dec. 6-10, 2019)

“Parts of it were not new to me, but other parts were eye opening and very informative. I conceived new ideas, learned new strategies, and made valuable connections with peers. I enjoyed learning how to effectively communicate with different types of colleagues and its importance to being a successful leader. I also learned how to build the an effective team. Other skills we focused on included negotiation tactics, which most women are never taught in training. I felt truly changed in meaningful ways by the end of the meeting.”

Naomi Parrella, MD


Leadership Development for Physicians in Academic Health Centers (Oct. 13-25, 2019)
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Executive and Continuing Professional Education

“How often do we, as physicians, have an extended period of time dedicated to ourselves, without other obligations, to learn and focus on personal & professional growth? Attending the this (program) created that opportunity for me. Living on-site in an immersive and supportive environment and connecting with interdisciplinary physician leaders from around the country was inspiring and allowed a deeply collaborative educational experience. Through interactive lectures delivered by experienced speakers and leaders, being challenged and collaboratively working through case based problems, this program demonstrated the application of effective teaching and learning models, provided useful, actionable leadership skills training, an understanding of the financial and business language and considerations of an academic health center, and elicited a deeper understanding of myself and interpersonal interactions.I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity that was made possible with the support of Dr. Susan Chubinskaya and Dr. Alfonso Torquati.”

Aloka Patel, MD

Association of American Medical Colleges
Leadership Development Course (March 4-8, 2019)

“The conference provided insights into my own leadership strengths and weaknesses, as well as practical strategies to improve efficiency, conflict management and leadership style. These skills are rarely, if ever, taught in medical education and provided me with new approaches for improving my professional productivity, satisfaction and managing difficult situations. The opportunity for networking and peer advice was excellent with a range of ages, academic ranks and disciplines attending the conference. I would highly recommend this conference for any academic physician!” 

Elizabeth Van Opstal, MD 

Association of American Medical Colleges
Early Career Women Leadership Development Seminar (Feb. 1-5, 2019)

“The AAMC Early Career Women Leadership Development seminar is a three and a half day seminar focusing on developing leadership skills in female faculty who are instructors and assistant professors. It offers wonderful opportunities to network with other women at similar stages in their careers, to discuss important issues in your professional and personal life. There were small group sessions led by senior faculty, which I found incredibly valuable in helping me improve and further develop my CV. There were plenary sessions on important leadership skills, including public speaking, leading teams and navigating gender dynamics. The conference also helped to focus on vision planning for career goals, and offer assistance in meeting these goals.” 

Xochil Galeano, MD


Association of American Medical Colleges
Minority Faculty Leadership Development Seminar (September 13-16, 2018)

“AAMC Minority Faculty Leadership Development Seminar was certainly more than I expected. I just finished reading an email from an Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, who is developing an educational curriculum to increase interest of bilingual students in healthcare careers. He is one of many minority PhDs and Medical doctors I met, and I plan to contribute to his work. I made many professional and even personal connections with healthcare professional who deeply understand the challenges of being in academia/medicine while being a minority. Practical advice was plenty in formal and informal settings. I was truly humble to find myself in a room with so many extremely successful professionals who just look and speak like me.”

April Swoboda, MD


Association of American Medical Colleges
Minority Faculty Leadership Development Seminar (September 13-16, 2018)

“This seminar was transformational for me. As an underrepresented minority in academic medicine, the experience of being in a room with other faculty who look like me and have shared experiences was empowering and invaluable. I networked with new friends and colleagues. We did a mindfulness exercise that really helped us bond and build trust. The sessions on mentoring, teaching, leadership, and work-life integration were particularly helpful. I learned things about promotion that I didn’t even realize I didn’t know. Hearing about the experiences and career trajectory helped put my own career into perspective.” 

Anila Bindal, MD


Association of American Medical Colleges
Early Career Women’s Leadership Development Seminar (July 21-24, 2018)

“As a result of the seminar, I have become comfortable: negotiating with confidence; noting how others in the workplace function; understanding that there are many paths to leadership; recognizing the structure of a medical system/hospital/medical school such that seeking leadership opportunities are more apparent; and knowing steps to pursue those opportunities.”

Xavier Pombar, DO


Association of American Medical Colleges
Mid-Career Minority Faculty Leadership Seminar (June 14-16, 2018)


“It was reassuring to meet so many people from around the country with similar career development challenges.  I was able to develop a plan on how to focus on the academic career goals that are important to me; in order to stay on track, I intend to meet with two other Rush faculty on a quarterly basis.  We have agreed to support each other in our careers. Participation in this meeting has energized my efforts to strive to work towards promotion to a Professor level. ” 

Serge Pierre-Louis, MD


Association of American Medical Colleges
Mid-Career Minority Faculty Leadership Seminar (June 14-16, 2018)

“I found it very stimulating, a true eye-opening experience for physicians interested in personal growth and career development. I especially enjoyed discussing the more global and administrative issues related to healthcare, beyond patient care.” 

Tochukwu Okwuosa, DO

Tochukwu Okwuosa

Association of American Medical Colleges
Mid-Career Minority Faculty Leadership Seminar (June 14-16, 2018)

“The AAMC Minority Faculty Leadership seminar was one of the most useful experiences I have had so far in academic medicine. The faculty were very engaged and engaging. The sessions were interactive, and I learned a lot about leadership and navigating academic medicine. The faculty were willing to share their past useful experiences. The entire seminar was well organized, and the sessions streamlined for a more unifying educational event. I would definitely advise other faculty to attend!”

Sandra Gomez-Perez, PhD, RD


Association of American Medical Colleges
Minority Faculty Leadership Development Seminar (January 11-14, 2018)

“The AAMC Minority Faculty Leadership Development Seminar was the best training that I have received thus far as a junior investigator. Getting to know and meet successful academicians and clinicians who openly shared personal stories about struggles and failures during their journey and how they achieve, manage and measure success was really something that I needed to experience at this point of my career. The seminar also included important and relevant topics on how to manage and assess success. I had heard it before, but for the first time I finally understood the importance of professional networks.  I personally connected with attendees and initiated relationships that I hope to maintain throughout my professional life.” 

Erin Emery-Tiburcio, PhD, ABPP

Erin Emery

American Psychological Association Leadership Institute (July 30-August 6, 2017)

“It was an incredible opportunity to be in a room with 40 female psychologists who are all incredible leaders, plus amazing faculty role models who led the workshop. I came back with great connections and inspiration to learn more about women leaders at Rush, and a formal structure to achieve a goal I have been thinking about for four years - to institute a geriatric mental health training center. I’ve already started that ball rolling and am excited to move forward!”  

Nadine Lerret, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM

Nadine Lerret

Association of American Medical Colleges
Early Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar (July 14-17, 2017)

“The most valuable aspect of the seminar was the opportunity to meet young women who are on the same career path and face similar challenges.  I have longed for a colleague who is on the same timeline and career trajectory as myself but who is not in direct competition with me.  Some key take home points include learning how to highlight my strengths in order to promote myself, realization of long term career goals, and to be a presence in whatever situation I may be in.  I came away from the seminar with an enthusiastic outlook on my career and limitless resources that I can use for advancement both professionally and personally.” 

Randolph McConnie, MD

Randolph McConnie

Association of American Medical Colleges
Mid Career Minority Faculty Leadership Seminar (June 14-17, 2017)

“Participation in the AAMC Seminar was a great experience!   It gave me the opportunity to network one-on-one with peers in similar career paths as mine.  I gained greater insight into the area of faculty appointment, promotion, and tenure.  It also gave me guidance on how to become a better mentor, coach, and promoter to my junior faculty peers.”

Andem Ekpenyong, MD, MHPE

Andem Ekpenyong

Association of American Medical Colleges
Mid Career Minority Faculty Leadership Seminar (June 14-17, 2017)

“I found the sessions at the AAMC extremely useful because of the concrete tips offered. Some highlights: self-awareness is crucial; identifying leadership ‘competencies;’ a coach talks to you, a mentor talks with you, a sponsor talks about you; and you must assess yourself as a leader. I would highly recommend this conference to anyone interested in exploring these concepts. Also, I was particularly impressed with the use of story telling by a number of presenters as a means to describe various facets of the all encompassing term ‘leadership’.”

Claudia Hernandez, MD 

Claudia Hernandez

Association of American Medical Colleges
Mid Career Minority Faculty Leadership Seminar (June 14-17, 2017)

“Participation in the AAMC Seminar offers numerous skill enhancement opportunities for faculty with leadership aspirations.  The program’s superb instructors and supportive environment provide an ideal setting for a variety of collaborative interdisciplinary learning experiences.  Small group coaching and guided self-reflection helped us achieve a better awareness of our abilities.  Heavy emphasis was placed on building a network of academic colleagues with similar interests who would help each other develop future professional opportunities.”