Begin Your Journey: Dr. Suskind on wellness and mentorship at UCSF

Opinion
Video

"For the first 3 years that people join us, there's a whole program set up for them to help assimilate them into the culture, get them the resources that they need, make sure that they're meeting their benchmarks and goals," says Anne M. Suskind, MD, MS, FACS, FPMRS.

In this installment of “Begin Your Journey,” host Scott A. MacDiarmid, MD, FRCPSC, and Anne M. Suskind, MD, MS, FACS, FPMRS, discuss her role as associate chair of faculty affairs and diversity, equity, and inclusion. MacDiarmid is a urologist with Alliance Urology Specialists in Greensboro, North Carolina. Suskind is an associate professor of urology; obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive services, associate chair of faculty affairs and diversity, equity, and inclusion, and chief of neurourology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at the University of California, San Francisco.

Transcription:

MacDiarmid: Was your dad a psychologist or a psychiatrist?

Suskind: Yes, wow, you have a good memory. My dad is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and so I grew up in that kind of house where we always talked about our dreams and feelings. I was always fascinated, even from a very young age, about what motivates people. Why are we the way that we are, and how each of us is different. That's kind of the world I grew up in. I'm clearly not a psychiatrist, but I've been influenced by lots of different forms of thought.

MacDiarmid: What does the associate chair of faculty affairs and diversity, equity, and inclusion role entail?

Suskind: It's pretty broad, and it's been open to interpretation, so I've interpreted it in ways that make sense to me. But it includes a lot of the traditional things like overseeing promotions, and making sure that faculty have the resources and everything that they need to be successful. I've been able to develop programs, which are a lot of fun. One of them, called an incubator pod, was formed during the pandemic, when we weren't really able to see each other in person too much or interact and people were really wanting that connection. The other thing is, at UCSF, we have faculty that practice at various different campuses, and so even on a day-to-day basis, we may not see people who practice across town very regularly. We also have a lot of basic scientists who work in labs, and we don't necessarily see them. So there was this kind of yearning for integration and getting together. So a whole team of people helped me [create] topical meetings among small groups of faculty every other month, and they're still continuing on to this day, and we provide different agendas of things that people can talk about, like mentorship, or promotions, negotiations, failure. We've had now 12 [of these], so there's a lot of different topics. It's really an opportunity to bring people together who wouldn't normally work together, have them share about their own experiences and learn from one another, have some sort of peer mentorship or other types of mentorships. That's been one of the things we've done. I've also developed mentorship programs within the department. This is one of the things that is most fun for what I do is we developed a mentorship program for all of our junior faculty. So for the first 3 years that people join us, there's a whole program set up for them to help assimilate them into the culture, get them the resources that they need, make sure that they're meeting their benchmarks and goals. And it gives me an opportunity to really understand what they're interested in, what lights them up, and help to hopefully guide them along a path that is what they would define as successful. And it's really fun to tailor that to everybody individually. And then I've been working more recently on getting others involved so that others have opportunities to provide mentorship, etc. We actually have a faculty member, Michelle Van Kuiken, [MD], who is our wellness champion, and so she also oversees a lot of additional wellness activities, and at UCSF there's a lot going on across campus in those realms as well.

This transcription was edited for clarity.

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