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Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr September 04, 2019

Sue Feldman, RN, MEd, Ph.D., Director, UAB School of Health Professions’ Graduate Programs in Health Informatics, completed the 2019 HERS Institute at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) is a leadership development and research organization dedicated to women in higher education.

Feldman, along with Kristi Menear, Ph.D., professor in the UAB School of Education and researcher in the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center, joined 63 competitively selected women leaders from across the United States and Canada to partake in the intensive, residential leadership development program at Bryn Mawr. The HERS Institute has been conducted at Bryn Mawr’s campus since 1976, due to its long and distinguished history of educating women. Today, the HERS Institute boasts more than 6,000 alumnae.

“The main takeaway for me focuses around understanding and embracing humanity as the foundation of diversity, equity and inclusion, and to do that is to acknowledge that we all have triggers, most of which cannot be seen, and that it is up to us as individuals to manage our responses to those triggers as our contribution to the core of what we all represent,” said Feldman.

Recent research has concluded that women hold less than 40 percent of tenured positions, only 36 percent of full professorships and only 30 percent of president roles at the nation’s college and universities.

To combat this undeniable gender gap, the HERS Institute, a leadership development program, was created to proactively fill the higher education leadership pipelines across the United States with dynamic women—and provide participants with the opportunity to develop their individual leadership strengths to boldly lead change on their campus and in their role, while also expanding their knowledge of the national higher education landscape to become even stronger assets to their institutions.

Feldman has been serving as the Director of Graduate Programs in Health Informatics since 2016. Her recent achievements include a grant to establish a data collection system for the State of Alabama to collect opioid data across the state. She has also been invited to deliver the Keynote address at Gulf Coast HIMSS on this topic.

Each attendee of the HERS Institute is required to complete a self-designed Leadership Project for their respective institution, which serves as a personal case study that pursues organizational change on campus.

“My HERS individual Leadership Project is to lead faculty through a curriculum redesign as we move from content based to competency based education in Health Informatics,  said Feldman. “Through meeting with others who have led faculty through change, I was able to learn about what worked and what did not work. The colleagues who are so willing to share and the larger HERS network have already helped me apply what I learned and think differently.”

Feldman, whose participation in the HERS Institute was sponsored by the Department of Health Services Administration Office of the Chair and the School of Health Professions Office of the Dean, added, “Many tend to lose sight of humanity in terms of DEI, and I plan to do what I can to ensure that whether in our programs, our school, or our university, that humanity stays front and center to the foundation of our DEI initiatives.”

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