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Drs. Kass, Pasha named new co-directors of Junior Faculty Development Program

Dr. Lawrence Kass, professor of emergency medicine, and Dr. Omrana Pasha, professor of medicine and public health sciences, have been named the new co-directors of Penn State College of Medicine’s Junior Faculty Development Program, effective July 2020. Together with Dr. Jennifer McCall-Hosenfeld, Associate Dean for Faculty and Professional Development, and Becky Moyer, administrative support, they will continue to build on the successes of the program, which has operated since 2003.

The goal of JFDP is to provide a foundation for the thriving careers of academic junior faculty at College of Medicine and Penn State Health. The program has engaged more than 400 junior faculty participants and more than 200 mentors since its inception.

Dr. Kass is an emergency medicine physician who is completing his master’s degree in education with a focus on health professions education. He has been part of the Penn State faculty for 16 years and has been involved in almost all aspects of health professions education, including service as a course director, residency program director and member of the undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education committees. For the past several years, Dr. Kass has focused on innovation in faculty development. In the Department of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Kass designed and implemented a faculty development program, helping faculty to become more skilled teachers. In addition, he created a faculty research team system, promoting scholarship and peer-mentoring among Emergency Medicine faculty.

Dr. Pasha joined the College of Medicine faculty in 2019. She is an internist and an epidemiologist with more than 20 years of academic experience gained at centers of excellence in the United States, including Emory and Johns Hopkins, as well as at one of the leading academic centers in South Asia, the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Pakistan. At AKU, Dr. Pasha served as the program director of the Master of Science, Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Clinical Research) program, the foundational program designed to launch clinical research careers for an interdisciplinary group of faculty and other learners. She has previously developed and implemented research training programs internationally, funded by diverse sources such as the Office of Global Health Affairs and the U.S. Department of State. This training has supported opportunities for junior health care personnel, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and psychologists, to develop research expertise and to advance their academic careers.

Four people are pictured standing in a row in front of bookshelves.

From left, outgoing Junior Faculty Development Program co-directors Drs. Daniel Wolpaw and Sarah Bronson are seen with Dr. Jennifer McCall-Hosenfeld, Associate Dean for Faculty and Professional Development, and Becky Moyer, administrative support coordinator.

While announcing the new co-directors, the Office of Faculty and Professional Development issued its thanks to outgoing JFDP program co-directors Dr. Sarah Bronson and Dr. Daniel Wolpaw. Dr. Bronson joined the JDFP leadership team in July 2010 and Dr. Wolpaw in summer 2013.

Over the past seven years, they have overseen important growth and evolution in the program. The number of participants has increased by 50 percent, and together with an engaged planning team, they have introduced new energy and creativity to a signature curriculum in comprehensive professional development. The traditional research projects were transformed into opportunities for scholarship, grant development, peer review and monetary support. Active learning strategies were widely employed throughout the curriculum, and in coordination with the Woodward Center, the program introduced education science from multiple perspectives. Key strategies for navigating and succeeding in academic careers were evolved and adapted, and new initiatives around self-reflection, values, and personal change were promoted.

The Junior Faculty Development Program runs from September to May each year and consists of two components: a comprehensive curriculum delivered through a series of weekly lessons, and an individual project completed under the guidance of a senior faculty mentor (assigned by the JFDP leadership).

See JFDP details here

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