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Practical Tips for Promotion

Practical Tips for Promotion

Sponsored by the Faculty Development Committee

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Submitted by: Shamanatha Reddy, MD (Assistant Professor, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY)

There will be many of your colleagues working towards promotion also. Work together with them. It is not a race against each other. It is a team work. Work together on publications, put together a panel for a meeting, collaborate on a joint Grand rounds with another service. Collaboration may make the journey shorter and less painful. This process is like candle light. Use your candle to light someone else’s candle it doesn’t in any way make yours darker. It will brighten the environment.

Make academic connections outside your department but within your institution.

Submitted by: Gary E. Loyd MD, MMM (Director Perioperative Surgical Home, Henry Ford Health System, Clinical Professor, Wayne State University)

Make academic connections outside your department but within your institution. People have to know who you are.

Get a Copy of the Promotion and Tenure Policy Manual of Your Institution

Submitted by: Michael Lewis MD (Professor and Chairman, Henry Ford Anesthesia Department)

  • Know when you become eligible for the application for promotion/tenure and what the criteria are.
  • Understand the promotion process. Take the time to read and understand the faculty handbook's description of the criteria for academic promotion. Somewhere in the bowels of your institutions published documents there will be a dull and lengthy document setting how the process, criteria and timelines for academic promotion.
  • Create a checklist based on the described criteria. Demonstrate leadership and achievement in a range of fields such as teaching, research, and university governance.
  • Secure support both internal and external support for your application. Letters will be sought to support your application.
  • Chat with those who have been through the process. You can garner invaluable tips.

Work on Building and/or Maintaining a Relationship With your Chair Throughout Your Career, Especially at the Beginning.

Submitted by: Issac Chu MD (Assistant Clinical Professor)

Often when academic anesthesiologists start their careers, they are simply trying to learn how to manage their clinical and academic work while staying under the radar. This usually means that they only speak to the Chair when they have a request, or worse, need to be reprimanded. This relationship makes it extremely difficult for a Chair to support that faculty member, since there is no basis for a positive relationship. It is difficult to succeed in a department without knowing the Chair's expectations. I recommend scheduling meetings with the Chair and/or discuss casually new project ideas so that the Chair may give the faculty member input and build a collaborative relationship.

Join a Hospital Committee

Submitted by: Michal Gajewski DO (Assistant Professor)

This allows you to get involved in hospital policy making and it introduces you to other likeminded individuals. The added benefit is that you will meet faculty outside of your own department which could give you a different perspective on several issues. This then allows you to bring some of those views back to your department to implement change. Most importantly it lets your Chair know that you want to play a more prominent role and that you are motivated.

Learn the Process for YOUR Institution

Submitted by: David Young MD, MEd, MBA, FASA (Full Professor)

Every institution has a specific process and policy for academic advancement and may greatly differ among institutions.

Early in your promotion process, identify the relevant details for YOUR institution to help plan your career trajectory effectively.

The relevant promotion details will likely address topics such as:

  • Recommended timeline
  • Curriculum vitae format
  • Publication requirements [if any]
  • Reference letter requirements
  • Items valued in the promotion criteria [as well as items not highly valued]
  • Process for promotion
  • Requirement for departmental internal promotions committee approval [if any]
  • Service requirements to the institution [if any]

External Letters – How to Get Them!

Submitted by: Tracey Straker, MD, MS, MPH, FASA (Full Professor)

You most probably will have to get letters of recommendation from faculty outside your institution. These letters should be written by someone who is familiar with your work. This can be a daunting task for junior faculty –it certainly was for me! Approach it strategically and start early!

  • Your local state anesthesia society can be a gold mine – give a lecture for one of the meetings.
  • Join the society of a subspecialty or a niche in anesthesia that you are interested in. Often times these societies are significantly smaller and more intimate than the larger societies. It may be easier to become involved and get to know people.
  • If you have colleagues at other institutions, try to give Grand Rounds at these outside institutions.
  • Get to know one or two medical students well – mentor them in producing a poster or an abstract.
  • Try to collaborate on a project with a colleague in another institution or another service. An example of this is writing a book chapter with colleague in another institution – it does not have to be an anesthesia colleague – it could be a surgeon.

Think creatively!



The SEA is proud to be a member-driven organization, dedicated to the teaching and development of future anesthesiologists, and to the advancement of those who educate them.

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