Histamine release factor; Signal transduction; Faculty development; Administration; Strong proponent of women in medicine
Susan M. MacDonald, M.D. is currently Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. She joined the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology of the Department of Medicine in 1987 and became the Associate Chair of the Department of Medicine in 2002. She became Interim Director of the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology in the spring of 2013. She is a member of the American Association of Immunologists, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum, and the Interurban Clinical Club. She has served on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the JAMA Asthma Website and has peer-reviewed many articles for the leading allergy journals. She has served on multiple advisory committees and review groups, including national and international study sections. She is a strong advocate for women in science in academia. Additionally, while pursuing her research interests Dr. MacDonald has become very interested in administration with particular emphasis on Faculty Development and Leadership.
Dr. MacDonald’s interest in administration began while she was Chair of the Task Force for Women in Medicine (1995-1997). During her tenure, and while she was a junior Assistant Professor, she initiated a Mentoring Program for Women Fellows that exists today. Then under the Chair of Medicine at that time, Dr. Edward Benz, she became the Deputy Director for Faculty Development (1997-2001). Her passion for mentoring was extended to all faculty, and she initiated a book that describes, “How to Get Promoted at Hopkins.” Her true intent was to make the implicit explicit. She extended this book designed for faculty in the Department of Medicine to the greater than 4000 faculty in the School of Medicine. Working with the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs, Dr. Janice Clements, they launched the first edition of this “Silver Book” that is given annually to each faculty and now is online.
In addition to the Silver Book, and while working with Dr. Clements, she reinstituted a School-Wide Orientation for New Faculty and Parental Leave Guidelines. She continues to work with the Vice Dean’s Office in the Office of Women and Science. Also, during her tenure as Deputy Director for Faculty Development in the Department of Medicine, she initiated a Department Annual Review of all faculty with the signed report submitted to her Deputy Director’s Office.
Dr. MacDonald’s administrative responsibilities progressed when she became the first woman Associate Chair of the Department of Medicine under the Chief, Dr. Myron Weisfeldt (2002-Present). She has been charged with being the point person for all aspects of faculty development, as well as the sounding board for the Chair of Medicine. The Department of Medicine is the largest Department in the School of Medicine at Hopkins with greater than 550 faculty members. With respect to the faculty that she oversees, there are over 194 Assistant Professors, 110 Associate Professors and 104 full Professors. This is divided as 52% women Assistant Professors, 34% women Associate Professors and 20% women full Professors. The remaining non-tenured track faculty are Research Associates and Instructors for a total of 142. There is an emphasis on diversity for underrepresented minorities (URMs) with 25% of the new Assistant Professor hires being URMs. As Associate Chair, she has overseen annual reviews of all faculty irrespective of their academic direction, be it translational research, clinical research, clinical education, clinician or program building. She has partnered in recruitment and retention of faculty, investigated scientific misconduct and conflict of interest issues, has been an ombudsperson, monitored salary and chaired multiple Division Chief searches. During the last ten years, there have had 10 out of 16 Division Chiefs replaced. Dr. MacDonald is considered a transparent communicator, an effective, well-respected, explicit leader who is able to interact with the Chief of Medicine as well as 16 Division Directors and the faculty. Division Directors often come directly to her with problems to seek solutions before they discuss them with the Chair of Medicine. One change initiated by her and adopted by the Chair of Medicine was meeting in one half hour sessions with each Assistant Professor, both men and women, to get a flavor of their academic trajectory as well as to introduce them to the leadership of the Department both the Chair and the Associate Chair. While this was an extraordinary investment of time, it turned out to be extremely rewarding, laying the groundwork for strong team-building in the Department as the junior faculty were now able to identify with the departmental leadership. As the Associate Chair, not all situations are easy. Investigating scientific misconduct is a process that involves a committee appointed by the Dean of the School of Medicine, and she has been the person chosen to represent a faculty member in this instance. Additionally, with NIH funding at an all time low, she has had to instruct Division Directors how to best approach their own faculty about giving hard, realistic news. While she has received numerous awards, her commitment to faculty development resulted in her being the first recipient of the Vice Dean’s Leadership Award in 2009. She has given numerous talks concerning mentoring and promotion both at Hopkins and nationally and an international talk.