Elza Mylona, PhD, MBA, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness, is in line to assume one of the nation’s top posts in faculty affairs.
In July 2018, Dr. Mylona began serving as Chair-elect of the Group on Faculty Affairs for the Association of American Medical Colleges. Her two-year term as Chair begins in the summer of 2020. The AAMC represents more than 340,00 full-time and volunteer faculty members at medical schools across the U.S. and Canada.
Richard Homan, MD, President and Provost of EVMS and Dean of the School of Medicine, says Dr. Mylona’s recognition is an acknowledgement of her skills and a boost to the school’s academic reputational advantage.
“This a great honor and well-deserved recognition for Dr. Mylona,” Dr. Homan says. “It’s an affirmation by her peers of her expertise and accomplishments. For EVMS, it elevates our academic reputation because she is seen as a national leader.”
The GFA includes some 700 members who work to build and sustain faculty vitality in medical schools and teaching hospitals. Dr. Mylona was one of the organization’s original members, and she has been a steering committee member for 11 years.
“The GFA mission becomes more and more important as we see all the changes that are taking place in health care and health care delivery today,” she says.
Dr. Mylona sees faculty as the single greatest resource in academic medicine and believes that the missions of any institution are borne on the shoulders of individual faculty. Beyond their critical role as teachers, she says they are also role models for the next generation of faculty, helping attract students into medical education.
“We need to recognize that the best care for patients, best accomplishments in research and best teaching for learners comes from faculty who receive the best nurturing and development,” she says. “I personally believe that in every academic center and teaching hospital, the faculty are the most valuable resource we have. They are the cellular foundation of the enterprise and if things begin to deteriorate at their level the entire equation is at risk. Therefore nurturing, supporting and developing these individuals is a requirement and a privilege.”
EVMS depends on an unusual mix of faculty for education, from full-time compensated faculty to volunteers.
“The vision for EVMS Faculty Affairs and Professional Development is to develop a vibrant, diverse community where each faculty member has the optimal capacity to make meaningful contributions to their career goals and the institution’s mission,” Dr. Mylona says. “We strive to achieve this vision.”
Dr. Mylona maintains her own faculty appointment, and she takes a scholarly approach when developing faculty policies, procedures and programs.
“Our policies need to be flexible enough to accommodate these unique entitles,” she says. “But to me that’s fun and where innovation comes. Because of our organizational and structural uniqueness, we’re going to be ahead of the game in many situations in the evolving health care environment.”
Even though her oversight of the GFA is still two years away, Dr. Mylona already is developing a game plan when she becomes chair.
“One of the things I plan to do is look at the landscape of academic medicine and the important role of academic medical centers. What is the role for faculty affairs in this new arena,” she says. “We can’t do the same things we did 30 years ago in this new environment, and yet we want to preserve what has worked for the last 30 years ago.”
Dr. Homan recruited Dr. Mylona to EVMS in 2013 on the recommendation of a cross-section of academic medical leaders he consulted. He hasn’t been disappointed.
“She’s done a superb job here, developing an office of faculty affairs and professional development which didn’t formally exist here before she came,” he says. “She has developed a very robust professional development programs that offer mentorship, advice, guidance to faculty both our employed and community volunteer faculty members to make them more effective, and she has created an office now that clearly exceeds the requirements for our accreditation standards.”
Dr. Mylona started her academic career at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, focusing on academic affairs and faculty development. She was recruited to EVMS from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, where she spent nearly a decade in academic/faculty affairs and faculty development.