Published December 18, 2020
A fourth-year medical student in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has been selected to participate in the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation’s 2020-2021 Leadership Development Institute.
Emily Slominski is one of 10 students chosen to engage in a yearlong professional development program designed to prepare students to be future leaders in medicine.
The program kicked off with a virtual retreat Sept. 25, and participants are paired with experienced and currently practicing physician leaders to serve as mentors throughout the year.
Through monthly meetings and conversations, the students will receive personal career consultation and guidance while expanding professional networks.
Slominski has already participated in a leadership webinar on communication and presentation skills, and future webinars are planned on topics such as advocacy and emotional intelligence.
In addition to the webinars, Slominski will also receive an individual mentor matched with her career interests and goals and have the opportunity to attend the AMA annual meeting in the summer of 2021, virtually or possibly in person.
“I think these are incredibly important skills that require continuous growth and development,” she says. “As a future physician, I understand that I will be in a leadership role, and I want to make sure I have the training and experience to embrace this privilege and utilize it to help the patients and the community that I serve.”
Slominski is interested in integrating humanism into medical education and is currently working on a film project titled “Please Tell Me Your Story” in an effort to highlight the unique patient populations of Buffalo.
As part of an administrative/medical education elective, she designed a curriculum proposal that focused on longitudinal integration of humanism into the Jacobs School’s curriculum.
After that presentation, Daniel W. Sheehan, MD, PhD, associate dean for medical curriculum and director of the Office of Accreditation and Quality Improvement, reached out to Slominski about a project idea he had that was similar to what she had presented. Together, they recruited a team of students and developed the film project.
“The goal is to highlight the unique patient populations and social determinants of health in our Buffalo community and really emphasize to students that we are treating individuals with families, careers, dreams and fears — not just the disease itself,” Slominski says.
The group has put together eight videos, about 10 to 15 minutes each, that it integrated into the first-year students’ biochemistry curriculum, including community members with cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease (all conditions that the students were learning about).
“We plan to continue recruiting a diverse array of community members with diseases that match what our students are learning and show these videos as they learn to help reinforce the material, while weaving in humanism,” Slominski notes.
Slominski also co-founded the Child Advocacy Club, an organization dedicated to increasing student and community awareness of childhood mistreatment.
“The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is an amazing organization in Buffalo that works to deliver an integrated model of investigation and care for victims of child abuse,” she says. “The goal is that by providing comprehensive services, it reduces the amount of times a child has to tell their story and potentially be retraumatized.”
Slominski and two classmates created the club to increase awareness within the medical community of the work the center does.
“We hold events for fellow medical students, such as a panel with members of the CAC describing what their individual roles are, a case-study to discuss signs of child abuse, and donation drives — since each child is given comfort items such as clothing, snacks and journals or coloring supplies,” she says.
Slominski is currently applying for a psychiatry residency and plans on completing a child and adolescent fellowship afterward.
“One thing that stood out to me about this field is that I can have impacts on both an individual and community level,” she says.
“On the individual level, I want to be a source of strength and stability for my patients who are lacking that in many other aspects of their lives,” Slominski adds. “I am also interested in holding leadership roles within community outreach organizations or within academic medicine, teaching and mentoring students.”
“I also had never considered national leadership positions, but after hearing from various AMA Foundation members, it is a route that I am interested in exploring.”