2017 Mid-Career Winner

Salma Jabbour, MD
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

With a subspecialty in lung a Salma Jabbour, M.D, is a board certified radiation oncologist specializing in thoracic and gastrointestinal malignancies.  She is currently a Professor of Radiation Oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University.  She received her medical degree from the University of Maryland.  After an internship in internal medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center, she completed her residency and was selected as Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences.

Dr. Jabbour spearheaded the development and application of clinical radiotherapy technologies such as stereotactic body radiotherapy, image guidance, motion management, radioembolization and proton beam therapy in her department.   She serves as GI Co-Chair for the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium and also is on the BTC Steering Committee.  Dr. Jabbour’s clinical work focuses on improving outcomes for cancer patients by improved imaging during radiation therapy and clinical trials.  In particular, she conducts research that focuses on novel drug combinations with radiation, clinical trials, and optimizing the outcomes of Lung and GI cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.  Dr. Jabbour also has an interest in mentoring junior faculty, residents, and students. 


My Experience at the AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar


The AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar held in Scottsdale Arizona on December 2-5, 2017, was a thoughtfully designed and well-conducted course.  This intensive 3.5-day seminar aims to help attendees visualize potential paths to leadership and develop career plans toward that vision, identify networks of mentors and colleagues in academic medicine, and acquire the tools and skills necessary for leading teams toward improved performance.  I am extremely appreciative of this superb opportunity provided by the AAWR and for the mentorship of Dr. Maria Kelly and Dr. Bruce Haffty.


The conference opened with panel discussion of several highly accomplished women in medicine and left us with many significant messages including: to “lean in” (i.e. attend impromptu lunches or sporting events with colleagues), to promote ourselves, and to make the leap (i.e. go for a promotion or award even though we perceive we are not sufficiently accomplished).  Contrasting the differences among mentors, coaches, and sponsors, another session emphasized that sponsorship, which must be earned, is central to career advancement as this relationship opens doors and is future-driven.  Anpther in-depth session employing the PACE Palette discussed personality types, including our own.  A clear understanding of attributes of each personality helps leaders to better construct teams, communicate persuasively with colleagues, and exploit the attributes of the team members leading to the accomplishment of particular goals.  A thorough session about funding challenges in academic medicine exposed attendees to research revenue issues, healthcare costs, budget deficits, and financial balance.  


We also learned that making accomplishments visible enhances career satisfaction, and this visibility can be carried out in an authentic fashion.  Being successful in a political atmosphere may require confidence, saying less than necessary, active listening, rapport with those at different levels, gentle communication, and establishing a panel of trusted advisors.  Organization, reliability, responsibility and accountability and a track record of success can also fuel careers.  Pivotal to our individual growth, time allocated for self-reflection directed our thoughts and discussions toward our ambitions and solutions to stumbling blocks, often in the presence of new colleagues.   


I have already integrated many of these skills that I acquired from the AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar and continue to share these pearls of wisdom with you and my female colleagues and trainees. For those of you who are at least at the Associate Professor level, I highly recommended this seminar and hope you will be supported to attend as well.  You will find notable learning from the high-yield material and its discussion of topics central to the advancement of women to leadership roles in academic medical organizations.