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Johns Hopkins Orthopaedic Surgery - Q&A with A. Jay Khanna

Johns Hopkins Orthopaedic Surgery Summer 2014

Q&A with A. Jay Khanna

Date: July 17, 2014

Spine surgeon A. Jay Khanna discusses professional development.


A. Jay Khanna
A. Jay Khanna

Over the course of almost 20 years at Johns Hopkins, spine surgeon A. Jay Khanna has charted a path in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery that melds clinical expertise with business and professional development skills. In 2008, while maintaining a busy clinical practice and meeting academic demands, he earned an M.B.A. at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Since then, Khanna, division chief of Johns Hopkins Orthopaedic Surgery in the National Capital Region, has participated in leadership programs and conferences sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, among other organizations, and plans to share with his colleagues the lessons of those programs and his experiences. He now serves as vice chair of professional development for the Johns Hopkins Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and works closely with Department Director James Ficke to design and deliver the new professional development program. To this new role, Khanna brings a philosophy that aims to help faculty stay on track toward academic promotion while juggling their many clinical, teaching and research responsibilities.

How do you define professional development, and how does it fit into the practice of orthopaedic surgery?

I see it as a pathway from academic training to the development of a successful clinical practice and, for those of us in academic practice, the integration of teaching and research. The goal is to help build the regional, national and international reputation of our department and university.

Like other surgical specialists, orthopaedic surgeons need a deep understanding of clinical diagnosis, technical execution, specialty care and potential complications. Managing a busy clinical practice is time-consuming and increasingly frustrating, especially with the many new constraints—financial and otherwise—facing physicians and health care systems.

One of the goals of our professional development program is to provide resources that will help each of our 50-plus orthopaedic surgery faculty members advance their careers while paying close attention to the need for work-life balance. We have a very strong, experienced and accomplished faculty, and we aim to continue to retain, develop and recruit the best physicians and scientists in the country, which will allow us to provide the best possible care to the patients who choose a Johns Hopkins orthopaedic surgeon.

How do you foster professional development?

Our goal is to help our faculty achieve their personal and professional goals, including those related to advancement along the Johns Hopkins promotion pathway. As with individuals in any profession, our faculty members have varying objectives with regard to the balance between their professional and personal aspirations and with regard to the amount of time they would like to allocate to the clinical, teaching and research aspects of their careers.

There are many resources available at Johns Hopkins and through our various professional societies and organizations, such as traveling fellowships, advanced degrees such as an M.B.A. or M.P.H.; and mentorship at the department, university and national levels. In addition, we have been collaborating with the Johns Hopkins Office of Faculty Development, which offers many resources for all Hopkins faculty.

This summer, we are launching a departmental professional development lecture series that will feature weekly presentations on such topics as the academic promotion process and how to navigate it, executive coaching, how faculty members can focus on the research component of their careers and other topics of expressed interest to our faculty.

How has the response been so far?

Quite favorable. A few months ago, we invited our faculty to submit their curriculum vitae to a group of senior faculty and members of the Departmental Promotion Committee to assess how they were doing professionally and to provide feedback. Eighteen of our physicians and scientists submitted their CVs, and the group provided formal feedback on their readiness for academic promotion and how they might consider directing their clinical, research and teaching efforts to achieve the greatest impact at the institutional, regional and national levels. The response was quite positive, and other faculty members have already started submitting their CVs for the next review cycle.

What might surprise people about your efforts?

That we take a personal interest in promoting our surgeons and scientists and in helping them achieve their goals and aspirations, whatever the arena. That they are never alone in trying to figure it all out. It’s one of our biggest strengths.

To learn more, call 443-997-9330.

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