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Wendy R. Brewster, MD, PhD
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Nancy Thomas, MD, PhD
Established in 1995, the ELAM Program was developed for senior women faculty who demonstrate the potential to assume executive leadership positions at academic health centers. The goal of the ELAM fellowship is to develop the professional and personal skills required for these roles.
The success of the program is clear – more than 25 percent of all women deans and department chairs in medicine and dentistry are ELAM alumnae.
“I expect participation in ELAM will provide me with the opportunity to continue to increase my intellectual horsepower by being exposed to great talent within the medical community,” said Dr. Brewster. “In turn, that should enable me to take a key role in the ongoing growth and development of the UNC projects and programs I lead.”
Dr. Brewster is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the director of the Center for Women’s Health Research. She has served as director of the Center since she came to UNC in 2008.
The Center for Women’s Health Research serves as the official UNC liaison to the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the NIH, thanks to Dr. Brewster’s vision and negotiations. The average funding rate on Center for Women’s Health Research proposals submitted to the NIH is close to 35 percent, which is 20 percent higher than the overall funding average. The Center manages $3 million annually in research revenue – more than a seven-fold increase in research revenue since her arrival.
Dr. Thomas is professor in the Department of Dermatology. She is currently the chair of three departmental committees: Clinical Operations, Compensation, and Quality Assurance. Dr. Thomas is also medical director of the Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Clinics and co-director of the Melanoma Multidisciplinary group. She has held several state-wide leadership roles – as President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer of the North Carolina Dermatology Association.
Her research focuses on melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. In January, her lab released results of a study that found a DNA profiling test is feasible and could allow for earlier, more precise diagnosis of melanoma. She spearheaded the effort to submit a patent for utilization of this test for melanoma diagnosis.
“I expect to receive invaluable experience in a diverse variety of areas, from mentoring to financial management,” said Dr. Thomas. “This experience will serve me well in future leadership roles.”
Both women were nominated for this fellowship by Dean Roper.
The fellowship’s curriculum is designed to address three competencies: personal, professional and leadership effectiveness; strategic finance; and organizational dynamics. Drs. Brewster and Thomas will complete the fellowship through a combination of self-study, group learning and in-residence study.
The ELAM Program, which is part of Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, is the only one of its kind in the nation.