Lainie Yarris, MD, MCR, is an associate professor of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and is their EM Residency Director. She is also the co-director of the Education Scholarship Fellowship and co-director for Faculty Development in the School of Medicine. Lainie is the deputy editor for the Journal of Graduate Medical Education and decision editor for Academic Emergency Medicine, and serves on the national AAMC Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency pilot team. Her academic interests include promoting education research in academic medicine, faculty development, wellness, and feedback in medical education. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and three children, and enjoys music, reading, creative writing, training for triathlons, and spending time with friends.
1) What is your leadership style? How did you arrive at this style?
My style is informal, collaborative, and seeks to recognize, support, and empower the team to bring their unique perspectives and talents to the task at hand. I love dialogue and diversity in teams, and I believe the strongest teams are those where the members are the true leaders. My aim in my leadership positions is support an environment where my awesome colleagues have the right combination of autonomy, confidence, and sense of intrinsic reward to allow them to thrive and find meaning in their work.
2) Who is your leadership hero and why?
I have several, but an amazing woman who I admire greatly is a friend and colleague — Esther Choo. She is an amazing clinician, educator, and research, and has many admirable qualities — she is bright, eloquent, efficient. But what I admire the most about Esther is how she leads by example, brings junior faculty into projects, and then publicly recognizes them for their work! And she is also so humble and unassuming. She is the type of leader who is effective because people really love working with her, and she always puts the team first.
3) Have you accrued any insights from which other aspiring female leaders might benefit?
I think it is so important to listen to your own truth, and believe in yourself! Academic medicine is extremely rewarding, but it can be gruelling and lonely at times. Every female leader has experienced the (hopefully unintended) slight, has been stretched thin and has juggled an impossible number of roles, and has put others before their own needs. We have amazing role models, but we also have examples all around us of unhealthy work habits. Finding the right balance, the ideal work-life integration, and creating a career that is meaningful and rewarding is such a personal journey. Others can support us and advise us, but it is up to us to advocate for ourselves, set our own boundaries, and find the path that will make us happy. It is important to remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish — it is crucial to be the most effective leader you can be, and you never know how you might empower others to make positive lifestyle changes by setting an example that wellness is a priority!