by Kathy Whitney
Four faculty members from Vanderbilt University Medical Center have been selected to participate in the highly competitive 2023-2024 Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, with two on the ELAM track now celebrating its 28th year, and two on the Executive Leadership in Academic Health Care (ELH) track launched in 2022.
Their selections place them among the very best and brightest women leaders in academic medicine across the country. The ELAM participants are Anna Hemnes, MD, and Arna Banerjee, MD, MMHC. The ELH participants are Lucy Spalluto, MD, MPH, and Eunice Huang, MD, MS.
Hemnes is a translational physician-scientist with a research focus on the role of altered metabolism in pulmonary vascular disease. She is a professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine.
Hemnes’ basic research is on the effect of BMPR2 mutation on insulin-mediated intracellular signaling in the pulmonary vasculature and the right ventricle. Her clinical research interests include the role of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in human pulmonary vascular disease with a focus on genetic susceptibility to these conditions, and
deep molecular phenotyping of pulmonary vascular disease. Her lab is currently investigating novel blood-based ‘omic’ predictive strategies for FDA-approved therapies for pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Banerjee is professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Surgery, and Medical Education & Administration at VUMC. She is the executive medical director of the Critical Care Clinical Services Center at VUH.
Banerjee is a nationally recognized educator and education researcher with specific expertise in high-fidelity simulation-based training and clinical performance assessment.
From 2005 to 2010, she built and became the inaugural medical director of the Surgical ICU at Tennessee Valley Healthcare Systems (Veterans Affairs Hospital). There, she created a staffing model that included intensivists and rotating resident trainees from the VUMC Departments of Surgery and Anesthesia.
Spalluto is a professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences. Her clinical work focuses on breast imaging, including mammography, ultrasound, MRI and image-guided procedures.
In 2019, Spalluto completed the VA Quality Scholars Health Services Research Fellowship and Vanderbilt Master of Public Health program. She leads an active research program focused on addressing health disparities, designing health equity focused learning materials for health care professionals, and mentoring residents and medical students interested in health equity.
She is the vice chair of Health Equity and associate director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion for the Department of Radiology.
Huang is a professor of Pediatric Surgery, vice chair for Clinical Services, associate program director, Pediatric Surgery Fellowship, vice chair for Surgical Quality & Patient Safety and associate surgeon-in-chief and chief surgical quality and innovations officer for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
One of Huang’s primary interests is promoting innovative methods to implement guidelines for standardization of best practices across institutions to advance cost-effective accurate diagnostics for pediatric surgical interventions such as appendicitis and inguinal hernias.
Another important focus is effective use of electronic health record data for research and knowledge generation to aid practitioners and families in caring for pediatric patients especially with complex congenital problems.
The ELAM program is the only in-depth national program dedicated to preparing women faculty at schools of medicine, dentistry and public health to affect sustained positive change as institutional leaders. VUMC has had 20 School of Medicine faculty who have participated in ELAM in the past, including Angela Jefferson, PhD, professor of Neurology, who graduated from ELAM on April 27.
The intensive one-year program supports ELAM fellows as they develop a broader vision of their role within their academic health centers, enhancing their leadership effectiveness, understanding of strategic finance, and ability to lead organizational change. Fellows also become part of an active resource network of many of the top women health care leaders in the nation.
“Vanderbilt University School of Medicine typically supports one to two ELAM fellows annually. This year will mark our first ELH fellows. The four participants accepted are the most we have ever had in one year. It is truly exciting to have had all four of our nominees accepted ,” said Maureen Gannon, PhD, associate dean for Faculty Development.
“This is a true testament to the outstanding women leaders in the School of Medicine and a recognition of the dedication that our institutional leaders have to promoting women in leadership, since evidence of institutional support and mentorship during the fellowship year are assessed in the application process.”