Mays headlines OACA fireside chat

OACA Interprofessional Internship Program Fireside Chat

Interim Dean Keith Mays joined an Office of Academic Clinical Affairs fireside chat for interprofessional interns in April, along with Laura Molgaard, DVM, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Bobbi Daniels, MD, associate vice president for Clinical Affairs.

The OACA interprofessional internship program brings together health sciences students to solve interprofessional problems together, gain skills in leadership and communication, gain knowledge across disciplines, and integrate research. Kaushik Mikherjee, MSc, PhD, DDS ’22, and Trang Nguyen, DDS, PhD, UMN PASS, join thirteen other students from the School of Public Health, School of Nursing, College of Veterinary Medicine, Center for Allied Health Programs, and College of Liberal Arts in the inaugural cohort.

In addition to their interprofessional projects, the interns experience monthly fireside chats with surprise guests whose experience working across health sectors gives them insight into interprofessional work. Mays, Molgaard, and Daniels headlined the April version, where they reflected on leadership in times of deep distress.

Mays shared the role of managing people and business, and the challenge of uplifting both as we return to a post-pandemic world. “It’s an awareness,” he explained. “Helping people understand that we have to respect each other’s boundaries, think about people and adjusting the environment for them, while also running our enterprise.”

Students were given the opportunity to ask questions of the three leaders, and their questions focused on trauma-informed leadership, embracing diversity, and encouraging teamwork across professions.

Throughout the conversation, Mays stressed the need to understand one’s team. “You have to take inventory of what you know, what you don’t, and inquire about policies and systems” when it comes to diversity and equity, he explained. “And even if I’m ready to go 20 steps down the road, if my team is only in a space to get to step three, I can’t make them go farther than that.”

He shared an early experience of managing a practice and what it taught him about leadership: “I thought everyone would just come together and work. Now, I’m more intentional about looking at what people do, and who people are.”

Daniels and Molgaard shared similar experiences of people-first teambuilding. Daniels reflected, “you have to facilitate what the people you’re leading need.” Molgaard shared her vision for creating an inclusive environment, saying, “I’ve been reminding the leaders on my team that there’s no one perspective on what it’s like to work in the college right now.”

Each leader stressed the role of accountability with empathy as they navigate equity, safety, and productive teamwork. And when asked what they’re doing to prioritize self care, they had answers, too.

For Molgaard, self care these days looks like connecting with the outdoors and stretching herself to learn new things. For Daniels, problem-solving and taking care of her new golden retriever puppy help her relax.

And for Mays, what does self-care in the midst of anger, frustration, and dismay look like? Prayer and fitness top the list. “And, there’s always YouTube videos of King Charles Cavalier Puppies, and 90s sitcoms on Netflix.”

Watch the full fireside chat.