In an effort to support the more than 900 faculty that comprise the Department of Medicine, the Neilson, Schaffner and Miller societies have been established to support and advance the careers of PhD and MD tenure track faculty, clinician-educator faculty, and full-time clinicians and advance practice providers.

Miller Society

Established in 2021, the Miller Society is a new society that focuses on the professional development of the department’s anchors of patient care, the full-time clinicians and advanced practice providers. This important cohort of individuals forms a base of clinical excellence whose reach extends throughout the Vanderbilt campus, as well as through Tennessee-based community practice sites. This group, led by Ryan Buckley, MD (Internal Medicine), has a unique set of professional development needs including how to provide patient care that is recognized regionally and nationally as consistently excellent; how to initiate and lead a quality improvement initiative; how to direct a clinical program; how to navigate the business of medicine; and how to become involved in a state or national professional society in order to advocate for provider and patient interests. In creating this society, the department recognized the critical importance of this group of faculty, and reinforces its commitment to their professional satisfaction and engagement.

Neilson Society

Named after former Department of Medicine Chair Eric Neilson, MD, the Neilson Society was developed to provide support and oversight for the careers of PhD and MD tenure track faculty as they develop their independent research careers. The Neilson Society is a resource for junior faculty to help them to develop the skills needed to navigate the course toward tenure and promotion. In the 2020-2021 academic year, more than 80 tenure track faculty in 12 of the department’s 13 subspecialty divisions were Neilson Society members. Members are invited to an informal peer mentoring program and small group meetings, as well as structured monthly Seminar Series and mentorship events throughout the year to discuss issues relevant to tenured basic scientist and physician-scientist career development. Activities of this society prepare junior faculty to become international leaders with independent, funded investigation and a track record of seminal discovery.

Schaffner Society

Named for William Schaffner, MD, Professor and Chairman of Preventive Medicine and Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases), the Schaffner Society’s mission is to support professional development of the clinician-educator faculty through the trajectory of their careers, particularly to develop skills in education, scholarship and leadership, regardless of rank. Led by Jamie Dwyer, MD (Nephrology and Hypertension), the Schaffner Society advocates for a more purposeful, careful delineation of a career trajectory, where each decision about what to do (or not to do) is weighed with trusted mentors to ask the simple question, “What does this get me, the institution and my profession?” Last year, membership in the Schaffner Society was comprised of 304 clinical educators in 11 divisions in the Department of Medicine. Additionally, in the last year, the department selected senior clinician-educators in each division to serve as Schaffner Liaisons, reconstructed the Committee on Appointments and Promotions (COAP) to be representative of more clinician-educator faculty, and worked to develop core programming on what is necessary to advance academically. The department has also developed interventions targeted both at the earliest stages of a clinician-educator’s career, and for individual faculty members who are nearing promotion, or may feel stalled in their track, to ensure that the academic portion of one’s career is supported, nurtured and allowed to flourish.