Six Boston University School of Medicine faculty members have been promoted to full professorship in recognition of their classroom leadership and laboratory research.
BUSM Dean and Medical Campus Provost Karen Antman attributed the promotion of all six faculty members to their exceptional reputations and prolific careers, citing the path to promotion as a difficult one that requires a strong national and international reputation in one’s field.
“We certainly celebrate the accomplishments of our new full professors and particularly recognize the gender, ethnic and intellectual diversity of these senior leaders,” Antman said. “Half are women, half are PhDs and half are MDs.”
Faculty members Denise Sloan, Rhoda Au, Marilyn Augustyn, Michael Charness, Hiran Fernando and Olga Gursky received promotions from associate and research professorship to full professorship in BUSM. Their specialities include psychiatry, neurology, biophysics, pediatrics and surgery.
Research fields of those promoted included childhood nutrition, Alzheimer’s disease, innovative surgical approaches and biophysics, Antman said.
Sloan, who was promoted from associate professorship of psychiatry to full professorship, said her promotion affirmed the importance of her professional achievements.
“It is a recognition that the work I have conducted throughout my career has had a significant impact,” said Sloan, Associate Director of the Behavioral Science Division of the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “It also allows me greater ability to help mentor junior colleagues in the field.”
Gursky, promoted after serving as an associate professor of biophysics and physiology, said the promotion heralded a shift in her career that could offer excitement as well as new professional opportunities.
“For me personally, the new grant and the promotion mean that I can step back, think about the new future directions of our work, as well as do other things that I normally would not do,” said Gursky, who recently received a federal grant to further research cardiovascular disease.
Charness, chief of staff at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System and a newly promoted professor of neurology, said he thoroughly enjoyed teaching medical students.
“I have the privilege of holding faculty positions and participating at a leadership level at two great medical schools — BUSM and Harvard Medical School,” he said. “I was promoted to professor of neurology at HMS previously. My promotion to professor at BUSM enhances my ability to represent both medical schools equally.”
Augustyn, promoted to full professorship of pediatrics as well as to the position of division chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics, said her new position would allow her to further her work and continue to educate her students.
“I am excited about the promotion,” she said. “I hope it will give me the recognition to continue my national work on early literacy as well as promoting the use of family navigation in supporting families of children with autism and special health care needs.”
Au, recently promoted from associate to full professorship in neurology and a Graduate School of Medicine alumna, said her accomplishment could provide her with more professional opportunities.
“Truthfully, I did not start out with reaching full professor as a goal early in my career,” she said. “I had thought it was not something attainable. So my reaction is one of surprise.”
Au also said her promotion could her serve as a catalyst for further innovation.
“It does provide more confidence in going forward with new ideas,” she said. “Particularly those that sometimes stretch beyond what others can imagine.”