Program Award: Career Advising System (CAS), Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
The CMSRU Career Advising System (CAS), led by the office of student affairs, is a comprehensive program consisting of an integrated collection of programs, resources, and personnel to assist students in exploring career options, choosing a specialty, and successfully securing residency positions. The foundation of the CAS is the AAMC Careers in Medicine (CiM) program, which is introduced during the admissions process and continues throughout the residency transition, integrating all four phases of the CiM model within a formal, hybrid curricular and co-curricular structure.
Supporting the system are 40+ faculty physician advisors, career coaches, and subspecialty mentors who work in a team-based model with student support services specialists, licensed counselors, diversity mentors, learning support specialists, and wellness specialists to holistically advise each student. The CMSRU CAS is anchored by its “whole-student” approach and is by the core values of excellence, innovation, and student-centeredness.
Recognizing that every student’s medical school journey is impacted by social-emotional dimensions, physical and mental wellness and personal and cultural circumstances, the CAS employs a holistic and individualized advising process for each student. A hallmark of the CAS is the robust team of faculty and support personnel that collectively considers the biopsychosocial needs and uniqueness of every student. Using a student-centered approach, each student is provided with an individualized, tailored team of support consisting of advisors/coaches/mentors, support services specialists, licensed counselors, diversity mentors and wellness specialists. The team aims to serve all of students’ advising needs and are intentional about promoting equitable and inclusive advising practices.
A particular point of pride is the programming surrounding students and patients with disabilities. The CAS is a grateful recipient of The Learning Community Institute Award for Program Innovation for disabilities advocacy and education. CMSRU offers a very inclusive atmosphere for students with disabilities and, as such, the unique needs of these students are considered in a thoughtful, collaborative way throughout the career advising process.
Getting to know each student on a deeper level through the team-based, “whole-student” approach has allowed the career advising team and office of student affairs leadership to cohesively understand students’ circumstances, values, skills, and preferences that ultimately inform their career decision-making as well as their desires and requirements for what they define as successful residency placement.
Faculty Advisor Award: Pamela Williams, MD, FAAFP, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Pamela Williams, MD, FAAFP, is the current associate dean for student affairs at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., with previous service as the assistant dean for clinical sciences. In her years of work with medical students, she has demonstrated her commitment to student success through the development of a robust advising program for the university and countless hours spent in direct advising of over 9,000 students, while continually seeking areas to improve and grow to meet student needs and wants.
In addition, Dr. Williams is a role model and mentor to a diverse national faculty and provides regular outreach and faculty development to keep them engaged as active members of larger team providing student support as well as personal career development. Similarly, she forges meaningful relationships with the Office for Student Affairs support staff, recognizing their critical role and ensuring they understand the “why” behind their work with the goal of keeping students at the forefront of every initiative and action.
Perhaps one of Dr. Williams’s greatest strengths is her skill to bring people together in support of student-centered initiatives and programming. Other examples of her leadership are seen in her ability to “lead up” to effectively advocate for students to senior leaders and policy-makers. She has been a catalyst in bringing together the individuals responsible for GME policies for each of the three service branches (Army, Navy, and Air Force), resulting in more standardized application policies and procedures across the services and less confusion for our students.
While her tenure in the office for student affairs is notable to faculty and staff for the expanded programming to support students in their journey through medical school and into residency, students have come to expect this level of investment in their success and view Dr. Williams as a sounding board, trusted advisor, and a “go to” source for reliable information.
In addition to the formalized/programmed individual and small group advising sessions that she conducts (filling over 200 hours on her calendar annually!), students are regularly in her email inbox, text messages, and office asking questions and seeking guidance on issues spanning their personal and professional lives as well as the intersection between these two. She is best described as the infamous “Easy button” featured in Staples commercials, relied upon for her knowledge of the intricacies of the military match process, GME training, and military policies and procedures.
Support Staff Award: Tyler Lockman, MS, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
Tyler Lockman, MS, manager of career advising and student services at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (“Pritzker”), is responsible for building out and maintaining infrastructure that supports the career advising process for the students, the faculty career advisors, and executive team. Based on Tyler's job description, he could solely support the career advising infrastructure and meet expectations. Instead, he strives to get to know every student to ensure they have the support and resources they need to successfully match into the career to which they aspire. Tyler spends hours reviewing every student's CV and can provide information about any student off-the-cuff. He genuinely cares about the success of every student and, most importantly, is the most professional member of the staff and confidentially manages the support of students.
Tyler's excellent one-on-one support of graduating students has earned him a reputation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy student advocate. In venues ranging from student government to student talent shows, he has been singled out as THE "go to" source for all things related to specialty selection, residency, application, and match ranking processes. This effort has been highlighted in a special award of recognition given to Tyler by fourth-year students on Match Day each of the last two years. This is not surprising to those who work with him, since over the past two years that Tyler has been part of the team, he has transformed the experience of students through the modernization of our infrastructure as well as high-quality and compassionate interactions directly with students.
From application submission through interviews, Tyler is present to support both students and faculty career advisors, including ensuring new career advisors understand their responsibilities and the resources essential for executing those responsibilities. Without prompting, Tyler has created new orientation and orientation resources, including a 50-page orientation packet, as well as arranged one-on-one meetings with new career advisors.
He has assumed responsibility for educating himself through national seminars and conversations with staff at the AAMC Electronic Residency Application Service® and the National Resident Matching Program®. He has become the team’s content expert in each of these areas, and relied on for his insights for most decision-making. Additionally, Tyler has volunteered to take on the role of staff lead for the school's Identity and Inclusion (i2i) committee. This requires both time management and organizational skills, but also allows Tyler the ability to build stronger relationships with students and improve the culture of the school.
The quality of Tyler's work is exceptional. He is extremely intuitive about the needs of the students and even those of the faculty and senior staff. The faculty specifically appreciate his organizational skills and attention to detail. His performance has been so strong that Tyler has earned the confidence of the leadership and has been given responsibility for pursuing strategic and tactical planning for the career planning effort. For all these reasons and more, Tyler has earned the trust of students, faculty, and staff colleagues and is the respected staff lead for career advising at the Pritzker School of Medicine.