Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine

Summer 2017

Movin’ On Up: SBM Leadership Institute Participants See Gains at Work, in Research Dollars

Karen Mustian got $1 million in cancer research funding from her institution.

Lynette Craft got a promotion to chief science officer.

They accomplished these things through years of hard work—and some help from the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s (SBM’s) Leadership Institute.

The yearlong institute gives mid-career SBM members the training and skills they need to advance their careers and take on more leadership roles. The institute was the brainchild of SBM Past-President Marian Fitzgibbon, PhD. Mustian, PhD, MPH, and Craft, PhD, were in the institute’s very first class.

They and 34 other institute participants convened in spring 2016 at a two-day, in-person workshop. Over the next year, they met one-on-one with career coaches and had group conference calls with esteemed SBM leaders who shared their professional interests. They also completed a leadership project of their choosing.

For her SBM Leadership Institute project, Dr. Mustian, co-director of the Wilmot Cancer Institute’s Cancer Control and Survivorship Research Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center, assembled a group of leaders at her institution to flesh out a new vision for cancer control and survivorship research.

“The end of that project culminated in me presenting an overview of our research program to our senior leadership and creating an ‘ask’ to grow the program,” she said. “This resulted in my obtaining almost a million dollars in new institutional support for our group from the cancer institute director and executive leadership.”

Dr. Mustian’s SBM Leadership Institute participation also helped her convince executive leadership to fund additional coaching sessions for her.

“They spent a total of $27,000 to invest in me during the year and grow my leadership capacity with an executive coach,” Mustian said. “I was also selected as our University of Rochester Medical Center candidate for the National Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Training Institute. I found out in April that I was awarded this very competitive and prestigious fellowship for this coming year, and I will be working with our university president, medical center CEO and VP, cancer institute director, and other executive leaders. I am thrilled with the opportunities the SBM Leadership Institute has led to for me.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Craft’s institution recognized her new leadership skills with a promotion. When she started SBM’s Leadership Institute, she was the vice president for evidence-based practice and scientific affairs at the American College of Sports Medicine. Now she’s the group’s chief science officer.

“The Leadership Institute played a key role in preparing me for this position and many of the skills I developed there will be invaluable as I move forward,” Dr. Craft said.

The institute’s 2017 participants are already on their way to seeing similar professional gains. They have completed the in-person workshop and are beginning to have group calls.

In an anonymous survey, all participants said the workshop “closely” or “very closely” met their needs for leadership development. They also said they were “likely” or “very likely” to recommend the institute to colleagues.

“I can already see some areas where this can drastically impact my work,” wrote one respondent.

“Gave me the tools and motivation to implement positive strategies at work,”’ wrote another.

Yet another wrote: “As a mid-career [professional], it’s good to have this type of input early. It’s also great to do it with peers.”

Congratulations to all 2016-17 and 2017-18 Leadership Institute participants. Applications for the 2018-19 institute will be available on the SBM website this fall.


Leadership Institute participants met for a two-day training workshop on March 28-29 during SBM’s 2017 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.