Schaffner Society

The Schaffner Society is committed to supporting the careers of clinician educators (CEs) in the Department of Medicine. The Schaffner Society does this by providing services that assist CEs in their efforts to become outstanding clinicians, researchers, and educators. Each Division Director is expected to support CE faculty with divisional functions (e.g. support of clinical centers) and divisional programs.

The Schaffner Society exists to enhance CE careers in comprehensive and meaningful ways that extend far beyond these foundational activities. All CE faculty are awarded membership in the Schaffner Society, as well as access to its resources.

About the Schaffner Society

The Schaffner society is named for William Schaffner, MD, Professor and Chairman of Preventive Medicine and Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Dr. Schaffner has made many fundamental and guiding observations on infectious diseases, their detection, prevention, and management as they impact individuals and society. This capacity to observe, analyze, and report important findings represents an approach to medicine that all clinicians and scientists could well emulate, and establish as a goal for a career with lasting impact on the practice of medicine.

Our Activities

In addition to division resources, the Schaffner Society provides additional career development activities for CE faculty, including workshops, seminars, and career counseling, to advance faculty skills and promote career growth. Current faculty can find a list of available Schaffner Society workshops and resources on the Department of Medicine SharePoint site here.

Schaffner Society Advisors

Each division has a Schaffner Advisor to assist CE faculty in identifying activities that not only enrich their careers but also serve to benefit the overall medical enterprise and enhance the mission of the Department of Medicine. Division advisors are:

  • Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine: Joao de Andrade, MD
  • Cardiovascular Medicine: Lisa Mendes, MD, and Robert Piana, MD
  • Clinical Pharmacology: Italo Biaggioni, MD
  • Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism: Howard Baum, MD
  • Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition: Michael Vaezi, MD, PhD
  • General Internal Medicine and Public Health: Neeraja Peterson, MD
  • Geriatric Medicine: Mariu Duggan, MD, MPH
  • Hematology and Oncology: Vicki Keedy, MD
  • Infectious Diseases: Anna Person, MD
  • Nephrology and Hypertension: Heidi Schaefer, MD
  • Rheumatology and Immunology: Jason Springer, MD, MS

Initiatives of the Schaffner Society are focused on three main areas:

Teaching excellence is essential and is established from department records, course directors' records, evaluations by trainees, and the receipt of teaching awards. Teaching is also demonstrated by invitations to lecture at other medical centers regionally or nationally, and by participation in courses at the local, regional and national level.

Productivity in education is also measured through development or leadership of educational programs or curricula, evaluation and dissemination of such programs or curricula nationally. Committee service in professional societies, especially in the planning and implementation of educational functions, is another marker of productivity in education.

Education Portfolio:

  • New courses developed or major course leadership
  • Teaching activities, including lectures, courses and individual instruction, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • New educational programs that complement ongoing courses or curricula
  • Evaluation of teaching by peers, learners, surveys, letters or teaching awards
  • Teaching materials developed or improved - local or published
  • Invited lectures outside of Vanderbilt, including specialty medical societies, academic medical centers, regionally and nationally • Extramural lectures related to the process or implementation of educational programs
  • Extramural committees and leadership positions related to advocacy and education

Productivity in scholarship is measured through original peer-reviewed papers, reviews, chapters, case reports, editorials or letters. The Committee on Appointments and Promotions (COAP) recognizes the broad range of scholarly activity appropriate in the CE track. Grant support, when available, is likely to come from federal or privately funded clinical studies in which the candidate is a participant or a leading investigator.

Significant contributions to scholarly activity can be achieved by successful participation or leadership in clinical trials, enrollment of patients, registry/epidemiological studies, and participation leading to authorship in published manuscripts. The CE faculty should demonstrate significant participation in such research activities, including in study design, implementation, or statistical analysis. Chairing or serving on the steering, planning or outcomes committees for the study, playing a key role in capturing or analysis of data or authorship on manuscripts, would demonstrate this.

Promotion to Associate Professor in the CE track should be supported by a record of scholarship, which complements other exemplary productivity in education or service.

Scholarship Portfolio:

  • Extra- or intramural supported research (cite source of support and participation)
  • Publications: original investigations, clinical trials and observations, reviews, books, and book chapters
  • Popular writings or lay press contributions
  • Website/software development
  • Patient education materials
  • Publications related to teaching and learning
  • Membership in committees of the candidate’s specialty society
  • Invited extramural lectures related to the candidate’s area of scholarship

Service is a broad term which encompasses a wide range of professional activities. Achievement in service sufficient for promotion on the CE track must be of such a nature as to make significant, special contributions to the missions of the school and medical center and have evidence of influence on the practice of medicine at a regional and national level.

Service Portfolio:

  • Development and/or leadership of significant new and/or innovative clinical programs (medical director of a clinical center) that measurably improve the effectiveness, efficiency, safety, timeliness, patient-centeredness or equity in health care delivery
  • Development and/or leadership of significant new and/or innovative clinical support programs (medical director of medical records, IRB, pharmacy and therapeutics committee, quality improvement program) that measurably improve the effectiveness, efficiency, safety, timeliness, patient-centeredness or equity in health care delivery
  • Relevant measures that improve patient, employee and/or faculty satisfaction, quality of care indicators; and costs of care.
  • Training Program leadership
  • Participation in establishing and maintaining regional and national standards of care and management as evidenced by membership on a specialty board, residency review committee, regional or national commissions, examination committees.
  • Leadership in governance, policy development and University outreach
  • Leadership in community based programs that serve community needs while enhancing the mission of the University and Medical Center
  • Other unusual and exceptional contributions to the mission of the University and Medical School through service

Society Leadership

Jill Gilbert, MD

Vice Chair for Professional Development
Professor of Medicine
Division of Hematology and Oncology

Lisa Mendes, MD

Director, Schaffner Society
Professor of Medicine
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine