Physical therapy professor completes top leadership program

By Alex Branch

Nicoleta BugnariuNicoleta Bugnariu, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research, has become the first physical therapist to graduate from a respected national leadership program dedicated to women in academic medicine.

Dr. Bugnariu, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, in April completed a one-year fellowship in the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM) at Drexel University.

Founded in 1995 to carry on the legacy of advancing women in medicine, the program had previously admitted physicians, dentists and public health professionals.

“It was very exciting to be the first physical therapist accepted into the program, and my hope is this will open more leadership development opportunities for others at UNTHSC and beyond,” Dr. Bugnariu said. “I graduated from this program with a much clearer understanding of leadership and increased sense of my responsibility to be intentional, to mentor, model and invest in others.”

UNTHSC President Michael Williams has identified creating exceptional leaders on campus and in the community through the university’s Leadership Institute as an institutional goal to be accomplished by the year 2020.

ELAM is a highly competitive program that draws international applicants. Its 1,000 alumni include presidents, vice presidents, deans, directors and department chairs at more than 210 academic health science centers and organizations across the world. Janice Knebl, DO, UNTHSC chief of geriatrics, also is a graduate of the program.

The curriculum is intense and covers topics such as strategic finances, resource management, organizational dynamics, and professional and personal leadership effectiveness.

Dr. Claire Peel, vice provost of academic resources and dean of the School of Health Professions, said the elite leadership program benefits Dr. Bugnariu and UNTHSC.

“One of Dr. Bugnariu’s activities is a major project in which she has created interprofessional learning activities that address patient safety,” Dr. Peel said. “These learning activities will be conducted in a virtual environment and will allow students that are geographically separated to interact as a health care team.”

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