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Upstate honored for work-life balance practices for academic physicians

SYRACUSE, N.Y.--Upstate Medical University has received a $25,000 award from the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for its promising practices in career flexibility for academic physicians.

Upstate was one of only seven national medical schools that were recognized through a competitive process, five with support for increasing faculty career flexibility, and two for innovative practices.

David Duggan, M.D., interim dean of Upstate’s College of Medicine and associate vice president and vice dean for clinical affairs, and Paula Trief, Ph.D., senior associate dean for faculty affairs and faculty development and professor of psychiatry and medicine, accepted the award on behalf of the university at ACE’s Board of Directors meeting Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C.

Upstate was recognized for its innovative “trackless” promotion system for full- and part-time College of Medicine faculty. The promotion process is facilitated by Upstate’s Office of Faculty Affairs.

With this trackless system, faculty members choose an area of excellence in patient care and service, research, or education, in which they can be promoted, based on their leadership, innovation and national reputation. The system promotes career flexibility and faculty satisfaction as it has clearly defined expectations and allows the individuals to follow their passion.

“The criteria for advancement through promotion and tenure are clearly articulated, ” said¬†Trief. “We strive to provide our faculty members with the information that is necessary for their advancement and career growth. This system not only has opened the path to promotion for part-time faculty, but helps us in our efforts to retain our faculty members and attract future physicians.”

Trief says that the ACE/Sloan Foundation award will be used to further other new initiatives that will promote faculty career flexibility and support work-life balance.

Another program offered by the Office of Faculty Affairs to support and recognize the Upstate faculty is the annual Celebration of the Faculty at which new members of the faculty, individuals who were promoted or tenured, and recipients of the Gold Standard awards are recognized. The Gold Standard Awards honor faculty members who have shown a passion for and excellence in their work, be it research, clinical service or teaching. The newest initiative is the Academy of Upstate Educators, that recognizes a group of highly innovative and excellent educators who also serve as a resource to colleagues for education-related consultations.

Caption: Senior Associate Dean Paula Trief, PhD, and College of Medicine Interim Dean David Duggan, MD, with the Sloan Foundation Award for Innovation Practices