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Leadership Workshops & Research Seminars

FOCUS sponsors a Lunchtime Seminar Series that covers topics related to:

  • women's health research

  • professional development for academic physicians

  • current medical issues ("hot topics" in health care)

FOCUS sponsors lunchtime seminars on women’s health research, professional development for academic physicians and “hot topics” in healthcare. Presenters include faculty from the School of Medicine as well as from across the University— anthropologists, bioethicists, economists, lawyers, medical historians, sociologists, psychologists, as well as physicians and researchers — all of whom offer exposure and fresh perspective to a broad range of medical and professional development topics.


This interactive one-hour lunchtime format provides opportunities for faculty to convene across departments and centers and thereby promotes networking within the School of Medicine, the Hospital, and across the University. The Seminar Series is well-attended by both men and women faculty from a broad range of specialties. A portion of the series is devoted to workshops on career development and mentoring, particularly targeting female and/or junior medical faculty.

2023-2024 FOCUS programming
Includes lunchtime seminars, focus chats & leadership workshops

*Note: FOCUS is continually adding Seminar Series programming, please check here and our Twitter for updates.

Where we are year 1 post-Dobbs:

Reproductive health, training and workforce

Dr. Schreiber will review early health outcome data, early training and workforce indicators and provide examples of the heterogeneity experiences across the country.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2023 (Thursday), 12:00 - 1:00 PM, Location: Virtual Zoom Session

Courtney A. Schreiber, MD, MPH

Stuart and Emily B.H. Mudd Professor of Human Behavior & Reproduction

Chief, Division of Family Planning

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Executive Director, FOCUS on Health and Leadership for Women

Perelman School of Medicine

University of Pennsylvania

Bio: Dr. Schreiber is the Stuart and Emily B.H. Mudd Professor of Human Behavior and Reproduction in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Chief of the Division of Family Planning.  A member of the Penn faculty since 2006, Dr. Schreiber is an accomplished and highly impactful leader in academic medicine, with a singular focus on overcoming inequities, improving the lives and well-being of women, and supporting the careers of clinicians and scientists.  Dr. Schreiber is the founding director of PEACE, the Pregnancy Early Access Center at Penn Medicine, which is a national model for the integration of family planning and early pregnancy care. She serves as Program Director of the Fellowship in Complex Family Planning at Penn and Research Director of the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health K-12 Program. Dr. Schreiber is a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and also co-director of Penn PROMOTES Research on Sex and Gender, one of the seven anchor programs affiliated with the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (OIDE).  She has also served on the Advisory Council of the OIDE for the last three years, significantly contributing to efforts to advance inclusion, diversity, and equity at Penn Medicine.  At the national level, Dr. Schreiber recently served in a leadership role in the ACGME accreditation process of Complex Family Planning as an American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology subspecialty and serves as Chair of the ABOG Division of Complex Family Planning.  Dr. Schreiber’s research focuses on overcoming barriers to reproductive health care and access, and closing sex and race disparity gaps.  Among numerous awards and honors, she received a 2019 Clinical Research Achievement Award from the Clinical Research Forum.  Dr. Schreiber obtained her undergraduate degree in religion at Columbia University and her MD at New York University. She completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at HUP and a Family Planning Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Magee Women’s Hospital.


Tips on Finances of Science

This session will discuss managing grant finances (e.g., how many grants you need, sources of funding, handling shortfalls, where do you get money for equipment, deciding how big a lab you want to manage, etc.).

OCTOBER 26, 2023 (Thursday), 12:00 - 1:00 PM, Location: Virtual Zoom Session

Audrey O. John, MD, PhD

Stanley Plotkin Endowed Chair in Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Professor of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Sunny Shin, PhD

Professor of Microbiology

Vice-Chair of Diversity and Inclusion

Chair, CAMB-MVP (Microbiology, Virology, and Parasitology) Graduate Program

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Matthew D. Weitzman, PhD

Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Professor of Microbiology, Professor of Pediatrics

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Co-Chief, Division of Protective Immunity, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Director of Grant Review Communities, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


Dr. John is a physician-scientist and her NIH-funded research focuses on the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite, with a particular interest in understanding its basic molecular and cellular biology and functions of its specific metabolic pathways — what the parasite needs to make and why it needs to make it — to identify new antimalarial drug targets and develop new diagnostics.  Dr. John is an investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases of the Burroughs Welcome Fund. She has received numerous accolades, including awards from the American Chemical Society, March of Dimes, and the IDea Incubator Grand Prize from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. She was recently selected as the 2023 E. Mead Johnson Awardee from the Society of Pediatric Research.

Dr. Shin is a professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Shin received her B.S. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her Ph.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine, and her postdoctoral training from Yale University School of Medicine.  Her research is focused on understanding mechanisms of immune defense against the bacterial pathogens Legionella pneumophila, Coxiella burnetii, and Salmonella Typhimurium and in turn, how these pathogens subvert host immunity. She has received several honors including the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases Award and the Penn Medicine Michael S. Brown New Investigator Award. She is highly committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia and science, and she recently received the Penn Medicine Michael P. Nusbaum Graduate Student Mentoring Award.  Shin is chair of the Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Group’s Microbiology, Virology, and Parasitology Program, directs or teaches graduate and medical courses, and mentors postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students. She serves on the NIH Host Interactions with Bacterial Pathogens study section (2020-2024) and on the editorial board of Infection and Immunity.

Dr. Weitzman is a Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) at the University of Pennsylvania. He runs a lab at CHOP where he studies virus-host interactions, using human DNA viruses as model systems to investigate fundamental cellular processes using an integrated experimental approach that combines biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics and cell biology. Research in his lab has been continuously supported by NIH grants for over 20 years and they have published over 120 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals. He has leadership roles in the CHOP Research Institute, the CHOP Center for Childhood Cancer Research, the Abramson Cancer Center and the Penn Center for Genome Integrity. Dr. Weitzman is an active participant in the wider scientific community in many educational and advisory capacities. He participates in teaching and trainee education at CHOP and PSOM. He has served on many national and international grant review study sections and was chair of the NIH Cancer Etiology Study Section. He initiated and runs the Grant Proposal Success (GPS) Program and runs multiple grant review support groups for faculty and trainees.  He has been recognized with multiple mentor awards at CHOP and Penn.

The COBALT Spaces of Color Initiative:
Lessons Learned Developing an Equity-Focused Support Initiative


This talk will focus on the history and development process of the COBALT Spaces of Color Initiative, a peer support initiative intended to address the impact of racial trauma in the Penn community. Pitfalls and lessons learned will be shared, including consideration of approaches for pursuing equity-focused work in the context of current national challenges to DEI-focused initiatives.

NOVEMBER 29, 2023 (Wednesday), 12:00 - 1:00 PM, Location: Virtual Zoom Session

Rachel Talley, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Director, Fellowship in Community Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania

Associate Program Director for Didactic Curriculum, Psychiatry Residency Program, University of Pennsylvania

Director, COBALT Spaces of Color, University of Pennsylvania

Bio: Rachel Talley, M.D. is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). She is Director of the UPenn Department of Psychiatry’s Fellowship in Community Psychiatry and is also an Associate Program Director for the UPenn Department of Psychiatry’s adult psychiatry residency program. She also leads several equity-focused initiatives at UPenn, including the Spaces of Color program and the Brain Research Advancing Inclusion in Neuroscience (BRAIN) program. She works clinically providing services for individuals with serious mental illness at Horizon House, Inc. Dr. Talley received her B.A. from Harvard University and her M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed both her residency training in adult psychiatry and public psychiatry fellowship at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute. She is a member of the Board of the American Association for Community Psychiatry and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing Medical Director Institute. She has been recognized for her teaching and leadership in community mental health, including receipt of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychiatry’s Albert Stunkard Faculty Recognition Award for the past three consecutive years (2021, 2022, 2023); and receipt of the 2021 Larry A. Real Award from the Montgomery County PA chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). She was also recently recognized as part of the inaugural 2023 cohort of Black Health Connect’s 40 under 40, which recognizes high achieving Black healthcare professionals across the diaspora who have demonstrated exemplary leadership, innovation, and dedication to the field.

Supporting Faculty during Pregnancy, Parental Leave and Return to Work

Despite 50% of medical school graduates identifying as female, there are limited guidelines in place to help safeguard appropriate work environments for faculty transitioning through critical life events, particularly pregnancy, parental leave and the subsequent return to work. This talk will focus on the current available literature and how this can be applied both to departmental and individual faculty’s approach to creating appropriate guidelines to support faculty.   

DECEMBER 5, 2023 (Tuesday), 12:00 - 1:00 PM, Location: Virtual Zoom Session

Caoimhe C Duffy, MD MSc CPPS FCAI

Assistant Professor
Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Bio: Caoimhe Duffy, MD, MSc is Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine. Her research focus area is on human factors engineering and safety science in the perioperative arena. She has developed expertise in these areas in Ireland, where she completed a Master’s of Science in Human Factors in Patient Safety. Dr. Duffy has engaged in research projects aimed at improving relationships and communication between members of the perioperative care team, including physicians, nurses, surgical technicians, and other support staff.

Dr. Duffy received her MD degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She completed her anesthesia residency training with the College of Anaesthesiologist of Ireland. During clinical training, she completed an airway and health care simulation fellowships with the College of Anaesthesiologist in Ireland. Dr. Duffy joined the University of Pennsylvania as a Perioperative Safety Fellow in 2020. She has earned a yellow belt in Six Sigma process improvement and is a Certified Professional in Patient Safety with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement.

Sponsorship in Academic Medicine

This session was developed by Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPH and Angela M. Ellison, MD, MSc


Key Objectives:

  1. Define sponsorship and recognize the roles that sponsorship can play in promoting career development

  2. Differentiate sponsorship from mentorship, and identify unique roles of sponsors and mentors

  3. Evaluate how sponsorship can accelerate the professional development of both the sponsoree and the sponsor

 FEBRUARY 1, 2023 (Thursday), 12:00 - 1:00 PM, Location: Virtual Zoom Session

Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPH

Leslye M. Heisler Associate Professor for Lung Cancer Excellence

Department of Medicine

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Angela M. Ellison, MD, MSc

Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


Dr. Aggarwal is the Leslye Heisler Associate Professor of Medicine in the Hematology-Oncology Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Aggarwal specializes in the management of patients with lung cancer, with a specific and clinical research focus on the development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches, and the discovery and application of biomarkers to guide therapy and monitor treatment. She serves as the local and national principle investigator for multiple clinical trials focusing on the development of “targeted” immunotherapeutic approaches including cellular therapy and CAR-T for solid tumors. Dr. Aggarwal has led trials evaluating the role of plasma-based next generation sequencing in the management of patients with metastatic lung cancer. She has extensive experience in the planning, design and execution of clinical trials, is an active member of ECOG, and has served as a national sub-study chair for SWOG-NCI’s LUNG-MAP. She has served on the Annual Meeting Scientific Program Committee of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), ASCO Education Committee and is a selected participant of the ASCO Leadership Development Program’s class of 2020. Dr. Aggarwal’s ultimate goal as a clinical and translational investigator is to perform patient-centered, scientifically relevant novel immunotherapy clinical trials that will make a tangible impact and advance our understanding of immunotherapy in patients with Lung Cancer.

Angela Ellison, MD, MSc is the Louis Starr Endowed Vice Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and an attending physician in the Division of Emergency Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Ellison has a long track record as a champion for social justice and fostering the academic careers of those who are underrepresented in medicine and biomedical sciences through intentional mentorship and sponsorship, locally and nationally.  She is the former Associate Chair for Diversity and Equity in the Department of Pediatrics, the former Assistant Vice President for Medical Staff Diversity and Inclusion at CHOP and served two-terms as the co-Chair of the Race in Medicine Special Interest Group for the Academic Pediatric Association.  Dr. Ellison’s research portfolio is focused on hematologic emergencies and advancing health equity.  As CHOP’s Principal Investigator for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), she has led or collaborated on multiple research and quality improvement projects seeking to improve the management of pain and other acute complications of sickle cell disease. Through her service as a selected member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee for Pediatric Research, the Society for Pediatric Research, and the American College of Emergency Physicians’ ED Sickle Cell Disease Coalition (EDSC3), Dr. Ellison works to assure that the voices of underrepresented communities are heard. She also co-leads the Research and Education core for the Center for Health Equity at CHOP.  Dr. Ellison is a recipient of the Christian R. and Mary F Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, and she is a proud 2020 graduate of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program at Drexel University. 




A Penn program with a mission to improve the recruitment, retention & advancement of women faculty + promote education & research in women’s health & leadership

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