UMEC Spotlight on Faculty Development: Roxanne Vrees, MD

Roxanne Vrees, MD
Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Brown University

At the 2019 Martin L. Stone, MD, Faculty Development Seminar, Doctor Vrees (with Sara Tinkham, and Alice Chuang, MD, MEd) presented From Shrimp Shack to Lahaina Grill: Elevating Your CV to Educator Portfolio.

APGO: What is your role in medical student education?
Doctor Vrees:
I have had several roles in medical education at my institution. I was the Associate Residency Program Director for eight years, followed by the Clerkship Director for the Core Clerkship in Obstetrics and Gynecology for the past two years. I am also a longstanding member of our department’s career advising/mentoring committee. I recently transitioned to a very different role in medical student education as the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

APGO: What inspired your interest in medical education research?
Doctor Vrees: My interest in medical education scholarship and research was inspired by my own experiences as a trainee alongside amazing mentors who served as a constant source of guidance, support and encouragement. Through my own personal trials and triumphs, I learned early in my academic career that medical education is not a one size fits all and that taking on challenging issues such as trainee remediation, teaching the challenging learning, professionalism and diversity, inclusion and equity are just as important as competency based learning and acquisition of essential clinical skills. I spent an enormous amount of time and energy doing the work others were reluctant to take on and for many years struggled to have this all translate into work that was “CV worthy.”

APGO: What were some of the challenges you faced while developing your program? What was the solution?
Doctor Vrees: I like many other medical educators have struggled with balancing personal and professional demands while mentoring and supporting trainees alongside also planning for academic promotion. Self-promotion and getting to “no” rather than always getting to “yes” was perhaps the largest challenge I faced and with appropriate departmental support and recognition of many years of service, I was able to prioritize highlighting my own educational achievements in order to proactively prepare for promotion.

APGO: What resources did you find the most useful in developing your program (including APGO resources)?
Doctor Vrees: The most useful resource I used was consistent attendance at APGO meetings and seeking out ongoing advice, mentorship and sponsorship from leaders in the field of medical education. In fact, the idea for this faculty development seminar came from a one-on-one CV review/mentoring session that I attended at a prior FDS meeting.

APGO: What are one to three things that you hope people who attended your presentation at the Faculty Development Seminar take home with them?
Doctor Vrees: The most important thing I hope the seminar attendees take home with them is a true understanding of the importance of self-promotion such that they are continuously chronicling achievements and thus constantly preparing for academic promotion. While the process for academic promotion cannot be entirely painless, taking the time to create and maintain your educator portfolio will allow the process to be as painless as possible. Lastly, attendees should engage with and fully utilize administrative support to maintain their portfolios.

APGO: Why do you attend APGO’s Faculty Development Seminar?
Doctor Vrees:
I attend APGO’s Faculty Development Seminars in order to find inspiration and promote innovation at my home institution. Additionally, at no other educational meeting I have ever attended throughout my career, are you able to recharge in a similar way. I find that the APGO meetings strike the perfect balance between one’s professional growth and enjoying time with colleagues and friends.

Registration for the 2020 Martin L. Stone, MD, Faculty Development Seminar in Bonita Springs is now open! Click here to learn more.