Archive for October, 2012

Communication Skills

Posted on October 15th, 2012 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Anyone who watched the first presidential debate last week quickly realized what a difference effective communication skills can make!  We have all been there…  a presentation that didn’t go well, an interaction with a colleague where you felt you simply were not being heard, an interview where you struggled to explain your research in accessible language.  Often times HOW we communicate is just as important as the content of our message. 

With the years of training that go into our MD and PhD programs, it is surprising that we receive so little formal training on communication strategies.  Yet effective communication is an essential part of a career in academic medicine where we are expected to present at conferences, train students and residents, interact with donors and collaborate with colleagues from diverse areas of expertise.  As described on the AAMC Leadership Lesson –  Train a Powerful Voice:

 “One of the most powerful leadership tools you can have is effective communication skills. The most powerful communications connect with personal experience and deliver new information to change thinking and behavior.  The most powerful communications engage voice, body language and content. Which is the most important component in getting your message across?—Not content! Studies in media messaging show that body language contributes to over 50% of the message, voice tone to a little under 40%, and content of the message is attributed to less than 10% of what listeners remember about a presentation. Does that mean we should disregard the content?—Absolutely not! Our academic credibility relies on expert content. But if we want to get our messages across as leaders, we had better pay attention to the total package.”

The good news is that communication skills are something that can be acquired.  WIMHS and The Office of Student and Resident Diversity will be offering a workshop to improve communication skills on October 22nd.

Speaking for Success Workshop – Monday, October 22nd, 9:00am-noon (Marriott Camellia Room)

Presented by:  Susan Miller, PhD & Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer, PhD

Register online by October 16th at:

By the end of training, participants will be able to:           

  • Immediately gain their listener’s trust through honest, engaging body language.
  • Project their voices easily so that they are easily heard by audiences.
  • Alter pausing, inflection, emphasis, pitch, vocal intensity, and phrasing so that they can inspire, motivate, educate and persuade their listeners. 
  • Speak clearly and distinctly so that they are readily understood by listeners.
  • Present effective meaningful messages to individuals and groups.
  • Remain focused and relaxed when interruptions and errors occur. 

Who wouldn’t benefit from improving communication skills?  Please join us on the 22nd  or share some of your own tips for improving communication skills by posting comments below.

Welcome to the WIMHS blog!

Posted on October 1st, 2012 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Who are we? The UC Davis School of Medicine Women in Medicine and Health Sciences (WIMHS) was started 10 years ago and is co-directed by Drs. Amparo Villablanca and Lydia Howell, our School’s representatives to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS). WIMHS partners with the medical student group with a similar mission, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), and our School’s Office of Diversity, Faculty Development, and Academic Affairs. Dr. Melissa Bauman is the 2012-2013 faculty mentee for the WIMHS Mentored Leadership position. We each bring diverse training, perspectives and life experiences to the discussion and encourage you to contact us directly if you have suggestions for topics you would like to see covered.

What’s new? All too often our days are filled with meetings, clinic duties, grant writing etc., leaving little time to interact with our colleagues. One of the goals of this blog is to strengthen the community of female faculty members by highlighting WIMHS events and providing a venue for open discussion of topics related to women’s careers in academic medicine. To kick off each year, we host a Fall Welcome event for new women faculty with other members of the WIMHS community and the school of medicine leadership. We met last night at Il Fornaio in Sacramento to welcome new faculty members (some had not even had their first official day at UC Davis!) and catch up with colleagues from other departments. WIMHS Co-Director, Lydia Howell, highlighted upcoming WIMHS events and our outreach efforts including an active Facebook page (see sidebar links). Dean Pomeroy reflected on the changes she has seen during her time at the UC Davis Health System, and encouraged the participants (and anyone reading the blog!) to provide feedback on the role WIMHS can play in supporting women’s careers here at UCD.

“WIMHS provides our female faculty and everyone else an opportunity to surface ideas and make the faculty experience better for all.” – Dean Pomeroy

If you were there, tell us: Did you meet someone that you didn’t know? What impressed you most about the other women there? What interesting topics did you discuss? And anything else you’d like to share! We were impressed by the talent of the women that attended and the camaraderie. What an awesome group!  Post your comments at the bottom of the page…