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Circling the Dome

New Track Recognizes Clinical Excellence

With the recent rollout of a new track in clinical excellence, faculty clinicians at Johns Hopkins now have a new path to promotion — one that rewards their skill and empathy with patients.

“Hopkins has always had a tripartite mission — research, education and clinical care; however, our traditional promotional track has not equally valued all missions,” says
Cynthia Rand, senior associate dean for faculty. “The single track has favored people who have been historically inclined toward research and peer-reviewed publication. We want people to advance for all our missions.”

Most other academic medical institutions have long had clinical tracks to recruit, retain and promote the best physicians, Rand notes.

At Johns Hopkins, the clinical excellence track is a continuation of work that began with the 2008 launch of the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence, created to recognize, reward and learn from exceptional physicians.

The academy inducts new members each year, chosen through a competitive process that begins with peer nominations and includes confidential assessments from patients, peers, students and nonphysician colleagues. It currently has 81 members, who serve as role models to other physicians, work together on research that advances understanding of clinical excellence, and share their knowledge through Grand Rounds and other talks.

The new clinical excellence track will use similar metrics to create an equally demanding path toward tenured professorship, says Rand, who has been working on the initiative with others, including David Eisele, director of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery; Scott Wright, director of the Miller Coulson Academy; and Janice Clements, vice dean for faculty in the school of medicine.

“This is a rigorous potential path for faculty members who meet very high standards for clinical excellence,” Rand says, noting that successful candidates must also shine outside the clinic by actively disseminating clinical excellence scholarship at the regional and national level, teaching, and participating in the discovery mission.

A new Clinical Excellence Promotions Committee will review promotion applications in the clinical excellence track, Rand explains. The committee will look at materials, including metrics of quality and safety, as well as references from patients, peers, and regional and national leaders. The first applicants will likely be Miller Coulson inductees, Rand says.