Lisa Leffert | Feisworld

Lisa Leffert: \”I consider myself the luckiest person in the world.\”


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meet lisa leffert

Lisa Leffert is the Chief of Obstetric Anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, MA. The focus of Lisa’s clinical work is on the care of pregnant patients. Together with a highly-skilled, multidisciplinary team, Lisa administrates a service which features 3,600 deliveries a year (that is, nearly 10 births per day), involving both low and high-risk obstetric patients, on the Labor Floor and in the associated operating rooms.

I was so fascinated with Lisa’s day-to-day life at MGH that I had to speak with her about feisworld podcast. She couldn’t be more supportive of my passion as a podcaster, and carved out a precious hour on Sunday morning (New Year’s Day) to sit down with me. I’m thrilled to finally put together this interview for my listeners.

For those of you who are not as familiar with a Day in the Life of a doctor, Lisa and someone in her position typically works 12-hour days, 6 days a week. Very few of her activities are pre-planned or scheduled.  Lisa has to react and respond quickly and effectively to any situation that arises throughout her day.

Lisa says: “I consider myself the luckiest person in the world.”

Her leadership role at MGH has three major components: Patient Care, Administration and Research.

During this one-hour interview with Lisa, our discussion revolved around some of the questions I’d always wanted to ask her:

On Patient Care:

  • With 3,600 deliveries a year and nearly 10 newborns a day, what is it like for Lisa to witness the births of so many new lives? How has it changed over the course of 25 years?

  • As a mother of two boys, how does Lisa feel when helping and relating to other women in the delivery room? How does she keep new moms comfortable not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally, and be there for them in a real way?

  • How does Lisa learn to connect so quickly with her patients?

  • Why does Lisa believe that patient care is just as important at the personal level as it is with the medicine?

  • What is like to experience \”the vast majority of the people transform in that moment\” during a child’s birth?

On Secret Origin:

  • Lisa’s Secret Origin: From Dartmouth College to Healthcare Management Consulting, to Venture Capital, to Harvard Medical School.

  • The man who influenced Lisa to become a doctor, and the woman who influenced her to consider anesthesiology.

Words of Wisdom for Pursuits in Medical Professions: What advice does Lisa have to offer people who are considering medical school or the medical field?

Passion for Faculty Development:

  • Lisa’s passion for Faculty Development and why she did it for 15 years behind the scenes before anyone noticed.

  • How does Lisa coach young doctors to help bridge the gap between medical school and a real job? (From CV, resume to supervise other people, build academic career, deal with conflicts, and why Lisa believes in mentorship and teaching young docs with this challenging transition).

  • Lisa’s POV on “Retention is Cost Effective”

  • Lisa encourages me to “Be the one to write about mentorship and to show that it works!”

On Work Life Balance: How does Lisa approach this topic and balance her life as a doctor and a parent?

On Parenthood:“Don’t worry about being perfect. Just be yourself.”

To end our podcast:

  • Lisa’s belief of “Always try to be a part of the solution, set up for the future, impact moving forward instead of being a sideline commentator.”

  • feisworld podcast – \”What a gift! Instead of just doing, we are reflecting.\”

To learn more about Lisa Leffert, MD, please visit her bio on MGH\’s Official Website.

This podcast is created in memory of Lisa\’s father Robert D. Leffert MD. of MGH and Harvard Medical School.

 \”Dr. Leffert was a spectacular physician who in his time at the MGH, became a major force in Rehabilitation Medicine and also in the management of upper extremity disorders.\”

Show Notes

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Lisa Leffert:
Still, after 25 years is no less amazing to see a baby come out. It's just incredible. And to see the things that they do the minute they come out, like they they know how to suck their thumb, a lot of them. And they they just they cry. And then when you've put them up to their mother, they kind of relax and kind of go to sleep. It's just adorable. It's incredible.

Fei Wu:
I'd like to welcome Lisa Leffert to join me on the Feisworld Podcast. Lisa is the chief of obstetric anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital. The focus of Lisa's clinical work is on the care of pregnant patients together with a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team. Lisa Administrates a service which features 3600 deliveries a year involving both low and high risk obstetric patients on the labor floor and in the associated operating rooms. I was so fascinated with Lisa's day to day work and MGH and I had to speak with her about Feisworld Podcast.. She couldn't be more supportive of my passion as a podcast. and carved out a precious hour on Sunday morning, New Year's Day to sit down with me. I'm so thrilled to finally be able to share this interview with all of you.

Fei Wu:
For those of you who are not as familiar with a day in the life of a doctor without giving away this podcast., Lisa and someone in her position typically worked 12 hour days, six days a week. Most days have very little planned or scheduled. Lisa has to react and respond quickly and effectively to any situation that arises throughout her day. But Lisa says, I consider myself the luckiest person in the world.

Fei Wu:
Her leadership role at MGM has three major components. They are patient care, administration and research. Her day can vary a lot, but during his one hour interview with Lisa. Our discussion evolved some of these questions I always wanted to ask her, for example, on patient care with nearly a hundred newborns a day. What is it like for Lisa to witness the birth of so many new lives? How has it changed for her over the course of twenty five years? Also, as a mother of two boys, how does a hit Lisa when helping and relating to other women in the delivery room?

Fei Wu:
How does she keep new moms comfortable, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally, and be there for them in a real way similar to speed dating? How does Lisa relate to her patients in a matter of 10 hours to one day? Now onto my favorite category of questions. The secret origin from Dartmouth College to health care management consulting to venture capital to a Harvard Medical School. What is Lisa's Secret Origin story? And onto career and professional development. What are the tips and tricks Lisa has to offer? For people who are considering medical school where the medical fields. Furthermore, I invite at least to discuss how she coaches young doctors and help them bridge the gap between medical school and a real job. Last but not least, she encourages me to be the one to write about mentorship, to show how it works. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoy this podcast., please check back to all the other episodes of release of more than 30 episodes to date. Five months of podcasting so far. Leave a review or share with your family and friends.

Fei Wu:
Without further ado, please welcome Lisa Leffert.

Fei Wu:
So thank you so much, Lisa, for joining the Podcast.. It's my pleasure. Could you give me a sense of what your day is like typically?

Lisa Leffert:
Sure. Well, I consider myself the luckiest person in the world because I get to do so many different things. So I guess I would say my role at the hospital has played three major components and my day can vary a lot depending on which of those components I'm focusing on or which combination of them I'm focusing on. So one is that I take care of patients and the patients I take care of are on the labor floor. So that's where the obstetric anesthesia comes in, says women who are having babies. And I do the anesthesia for those women, whether they're there to have their baby or whether they're on the way to having their baby when they're pregnant and need some other things done. I also have an administrative role running that service, so when I'm doing that, it's more like, I guess you'd say more like a business job. In some ways, I also have other administrative roles in the department, in the hospital. And so again, those are more like meetings and planning programs and hiring people and H.R. things because those administrative roles are very varied. So some of my day could be spent doing that.

Lisa Leffert:
And then the third component is research. Not kind of research in the most traditional sense? I don't sit in a laboratory, but I look at patient data and I try to answer questions about pregnant women, particularly what makes pregnant women very sick. A few things that are responsible for when pregnant women die or get very sick. So that research time would look even different. Again, I'd be working with other people. I'm not the one who does most of the analysis, but I do look at the data once it's analyzed and talk to other people and write the papers and write talks and stuff like that. So patient care, what we call academic work and administrative work and every day is different. It may be all one, it may be a combination of another. And even from week to week, it's different because I don't see patients the same day every week and sometimes it's it overnight. So very, very. So that's why I feel like I'm so incredibly lucky, both because I love the components and also because it's so varied.

Fei Wu:
I have questions possibly related to each one of these three practices or areas. One of those that I found out online yesterday trying to do as much research as possible is I read a number 34, approximately 3400 deliveries a year and roughly that's nearly one hundred per day. Could you imagine? When I read the stats in my mind, I thought about one day I come home and tell my mom and say I saw five babies being born today. And that's just unimaginable. Yeah. What is it? What is it like to witness so many birth?

Lisa Leffert:
And it's incredible. It's incredible. It never gets old and boring.

Lisa Leffert:
I see more actual births by cesarean delivery only because we are part of the whole process of having vaginal births. But we're not necessarily in there. The moment of the delivery for this caesarean deliveries, we are there the whole time.

Lisa Leffert:
So just by virtue of that, I see more of that kind of birth. But it doesn't matter. It's its birth and it's still after twenty five years is no less amazing to see a baby come out. It's just incredible. And to see the things that they do the minute they come out, like they they they know how to suck their thumb, a lot of them. And they they just they cry. And then when you put them up to their mother, they kind of relax and kind of go to sleep. It's just adorable. It's incredible.

Fei Wu:
And you're a mom of two, two boys. And that moment when you had your own child and continue to live through that moment to see other women deliver their baby son, sometimes for the first time. And how does it how does it feel? I mean, I would say it's very different experiences, but how does it typically hit you?

Lisa Leffert:
Yeah, I think a lot of people will tell you that they don't so much remember their own births. I mean, meaning not that when they were born, but when their kids were born. I mean, maybe these days they do they'll say they do more. But I think especially I was in the position of working really long hours and everything else. I mean, I was like half asleep. So I very much remember raising kids. The actual birth process, I remember less.

Lisa Leffert:
But as I look at the little babies and the parents looking at them for the first time and I think of everything they have ahead of them in terms of raising the kids and and all the different stages they have. And I talk to them about it because I'm both interested in it. And if it's a cesarean delivery, the women are very well anesthetized. They're very numb, but they're wide awake. So it's important to keep them comfortable mentally and emotionally as well as physically. So they like it. Most of them when you're able to engage them and talk to them. So talking to them about some of the experiences that are yet to come and what it's like to bring a brother or sister into the world for their only child or whatever, and reflecting back on my to Sam and Eli as they were a little bit bigger. And it's it's very cool.

Fei Wu:
This is very interesting. We've gone into an area, didn't prepare a question for, but, one of the reasons, as I'm I love the fact that they get to interview other women for the podcast talk about their professional work. And all of a sudden, as you're telling me the story, I realized that by having you there versus having a male doctor in your role, and as much as I respect what they do, it's just as important. But a woman is lying there on the bed and contemplating all these things that could happen to them in the near future is happening then. It's happening now.

Fei Wu:
And I think there must be a such an extreme love comfort having you there. Someone who has gone through this. And I think it's it's very it's very powerful. So do you feel like that that's kind of the role that you're playing?

Lisa Leffert:
Yeah. I mean, I think it's important when you are a health care provider to be able to either empathize or sympathize with the patients. And you're certainly going to meet a lot of patients where you can't really know what they're going through and you're gonna meet some where there's a lot of similarity between what they're going through and things that you've experienced. And so being able to kind of certainly invoke when you do know what they're going through, like if it's childbirth and they're in a lot of pain and saying, oh, I totally get no or you're going to feel better, I promise it's going to get better when you've gone through it. But also remembering what it was like before I had gone through it and doing the same job.

Lisa Leffert:
And you can still sort of be there for them in a real way and and sort of be sympathetic in that case and just sort of say, I see you're you're in so much pain.

Lisa Leffert:
This is really going to help. You know, you're not going to feel like this for ever. I mean, you learn this sort of from your own experiences that maybe haven't been the same, but are in some way analogous or referential. You you sort of learn the kind of things that are helpful here and those that aren't. And not everyone's the same. That's the other thing. That's one of the things I like so much about labor and delivery is that we we meet people. We have to have very intense interactions with them for a day, 10 hours, whatever it is, each of us. And you have to sort of figure them out really quickly. So the way you might relate to one person might not work at all with another person. You might be very sort of sweet and comforting to one. And that might hit someone else very wrong. And you have to kind of. Figured that out really quickly, if you want to be effective, because it's just as much about the personal interaction as it is about the medics. Medication and procedures like epidurals and such like that is you're doing.

Fei Wu:
It sounds to me like the interaction with the patient almost like a little bit of a speed dating that you were there to impress them. But, you know, I I. For all these years I've known you. I love talking to you about work. And I understand that you work at all hours. But it's just as you know, I work in advertising and the same things. A lot of my work kind of change week by week. But a lot of what I do feels similar and predictable. Still, when they're tiny, little bit of unpredictable element arises. Everybody freaks out in my industry and I don't know whether some of that is on purpose or not, but I feel like that's what you're dealing with every single day. And not only that, you know,Not knowing about, you know, a patient's background. Exactly. And I don't know how that works. I can imagine in my head a woman is know show the delivery room and you're there five minutes later. And if the woman is even 30 years old. I mean, for me, I see my own medical record is a very thick pile. How could you possibly surface the ones you need to know right away? I would be panicking. I would I will panic thinking about that.

Lisa Leffert:
I mean, we're fortunate in the sense that we do have a big head start in that most of the patients that we see at mass general have had prenatal care. So there are some places that take care of women. Boston City Hospital would be one of them. Although many of their patients do have prenatal care, they're more likely to get the patients who walk off the street. No prenatal care. You know, here I am pregnant. I didn't know I was pregnant or here I am delivering with much with complicated medical histories. We have less of that. So we are able to quickly look at there. And if there have comorbid or additional medical history, we're able to often talk about it, meet them beforehand and work it through beforehand in a real multi disciplinary way. So a lot of the medical details are known before. But as you said, that's a piece of a wife and how that all fits together and how it impacts them and how that adds up to the way they're going to want to be related to in this kind of environment is a big unknown.

Lisa Leffert:
Also, the kind of medicine we're going to need to practice in any given day is a big question mark for us, because we do everything from a simple, straightforward epidural for labor to helping to resuscitate a woman who's having a terrible life threatening bleed and which, of course, in general is many, many times more rare. But we are we do collect patients who are high risk for one reason or another. So it's more common, those kinds of what we call higher acuity or or more serious medical things are much more common in our service than they are in some other services because people refer patients to us who are likely to have those things. So when I walk in the door tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. and I leave tomorrow, it'll be at 5:00. Anything could happen in any period of time. I could spend most of my time in a relatively straightforward where the interactions are the most challenging thing. I could spend my time in more life and death and crisis situations and everything in between. And even moment to moment, very little of it is scheduled in most of anesthesia. You're running with an operating room schedule for general kinds of cases like hip replacements and knee surgeries and whatever, and you're assigned to accompany your surgeon and and do your work in partnership with the surgeon. So at least the day before, you know what those cases are and you do those cases every once in a while, something shifts when you do anesthesia on labor floor. There are a few scheduled cesarean deliveries, but the vast majority of what happens is unexpected at that time in place and the actual course of events is not predetermined. So it's it's pretty cool.

Fei Wu:
Yeah, very amazing. Whenever I feel like I look at my old schedule again from 9:00 to 5:00 to 6:00, everything is planned out and. And sometimes he would freak out if somebody drops a meeting just two hours in advance. Like, come on. How could you do this? Right. And I think, you know, to respect your time, I'm also very interested in learning about research. And I know you coach a lot of interns and but I want I kind of pause and part one and I've heard some of the moments that are really worth cherishing for as well. Like, you know, what are some of the moments when the mother sees her baby for the first time with someone, give you a cell phone and say, could you you are that person in that room? Could you take a picture? Oh, yes.

Lisa Leffert:
I have pictures on my cell phone. I've seen, you know, big, tough guys moved to tears.

Lisa Leffert:
It just it's incredible the way I mean, the vast majority of people are just transformed in that moment. And to be there and to be part of that or witness to that or are you even making a record of that? Taking the picture for them is just incredible. It's such a personal touch. It is. And never gets old.

Fei Wu:
I feel like your your work has so much life to it and it doesn't feel transactional at all. And I love that aspect and I was so excited about this episode because I feel like people who are doing their everyday type of work, programming, consulting, advertising really don't get to witness or imagine on what your line of work is like.

Fei Wu:
It's so rewarding for a reason. Thank you for painting that picture.

Lisa Leffert:
You're welcome. I mean, obviously everything has its mundane aspects, but it's very hard to not appreciate the gift you're being given in this kind of circumstance.

Yesterday, I was thinking those who won the category and Question I wrote down was reading an article who talked about the Secret Origin type of question saying that's interesting. And I thought one of the most intriguing experience about you is you worked at a consulting firm, a very prestigious firm, and I believe you're a math major, done very well in school. And later in the job, I may mention Bain, that anybody in their early twenties who dream of and still today and I think that was kind of a career switch very early on. That's something. What was that trigger point like that you snapped yourself out of something that's almost obvious into something in my mind, full of uncertainties, more school, more work.

Lisa Leffert:
Yeah. Well, I mean, it's in a way it's it's sort of not that mysterious. My father's father was a doctor and he quite explicitly decided that my father would be a doctor, would be a surgeon and would be the specialty surgeon that he became. Even though it wasn't what he was interested in doing. And whereas my father didn't explicitly say anything like that, I definitely grew up feeling like I was supposed to be a doctor from the earliest time and the first job I ever got were volunteering in the hospital, etc.. So when I went to college, I was what I called the closet premed and I didn't major in science and I took the bare minimum of courses and I plan to take the the entrance exam, the MCATS when I graduated and I thought, wouldn't it be nice to do something different right out of college, which was less common then than it is now?

Lisa Leffert:
Lots of people experiment with lots of things after college and I was sort of isolated up at Dartmouth. So I was kind of at the mercy of the companies that came to Dartmouth to recruit. I couldn't really travel around and do a lot of interviews. And one of the companies that came were the management consulting companies. And I and I talked to the people from Bain and they were super nice and young, attractive and they were fun. And I had no idea what it was they did and was completely shocked when I had an opportunity to work there. Ironically, when I accepted the job afterwards, I found out that there was a retreat, like an orientation retreat on the weekend I was supposed to take the MCAT. So by working there, I wasn't able to take the AM cat and ultimately didn't take it till four years after I graduated from college, which was totally painful. I really liked the job there. I. I had a class of young, fantastic people, some of whom I'm still friendly with. And we flew all over and they treated us really well. I can't say I was overly moved by the work itself, which is only a reflection on me, not the work.

Lisa Leffert:
And when it came time to think of what was next, most of them, after two years applied to business school, I did think about applying to business school. I took the GMAT or whatever it was. Oh God. But I thought maybe I should work in another job within business to try to sort it out. And someone there helped me get a job in venture capital. And I think it was a number of things. First of all, the person for whom I worked in venture capital was my only boss. To this day, who I really, really didn't like, he was just really mean and particularly mean to women.

Lisa Leffert:
And I have, despite all the different feel, very male oriented fields that I've been in. He was by far the only one that I would say was just flat out mean. So I think it was partly that partly the fact that he was interested in health care investments, but obviously didn't care about patients. It was just more a way to make money. That actually pushed me more toward medical school at the time. I wanted to try to do both medical school and business school. But twenty five years ago, it was highly discouraged. I tried it. Once I got accepted to medical school, I actually approached them about doing a combined degree, but no one was interested in letting you do that. I mean, they weren't going to stop you from doing sequential degrees and my original. Plan was actually to do medical school, but not necessarily take care of patients. Try to go into medical administration.

Lisa Leffert:
But one thing led to another and just sort of stuck the patient. And even to this day, the fact that I'm more than 50 percent taking care of patients would not have been when I would have predicted. But I just really liked the health care side more than the business side of health care.

Fei Wu:
Makes sense to me. I know this is not my domain of expertise. That makes total sense. And one of the questions as I've what I came out of college, I had a several friends. They probably wouldn't call me group of friends who are contemplating medical school. And there's one gentleman who didn't realize he was so interested in medicine until he was in his late 20s. Then I remember some of my doctor friends whose kids I graduate from college and they were building a painting, a path for them.

Fei Wu:
So that's a long way of saying that there are so many people still today are really considering medical school. And then I think that kind of lead into part of your job is to coach younger doctors. And, you know, it's a very tough decision. I mean, what I do. I couldn't get a PMP project out of the certificate for about three months and I can drop it. It's not useful versus this path is so difficult. What are some of the tips and tricks and advice that you have for people in their early 20s graduating from school to really consider this?

Lisa Leffert:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I have to. This is one of those times where I have to not look at my own circumstance, but look outside because I for me, it just I was already sort of in totally, totally, I don't want to say, indoctrinated, but sort of indoctrinated with medicine.

Lisa Leffert:
The thing that always amazes me is the residents and students that I meet who had no physicians in their family and out of nowhere decided to become a doctor. That fascinates me. Like, where did they get that idea? Now, sometimes it's it's disease related, meaning even they themselves or someone close in the family was ill at a formative time. And so they had a lot of interaction with the health care system. And that made them very much want to be a doctor. So that's certainly some of the cases, but others not so much. Maybe due to some TV shows. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, or someone they met who they thought was particularly cool or they could relate to. I guess I would say like anything else you're going to work really hard in. Or at least spend a lot of your waking hours in whatever you do. So you have to be passionate about it. You know, within that there are lifestyle choices you can make, but there's almost nothing these days that you can do that truly is wholly a lifestyle choice, because still, if you add up the number of hours you're doing it, it's a lot. So you have to be passionate about whatever it is. I would say that medicine is a big commitment. It's a long training period. It's very costly, certainly for those people who have to take out loans and don't have any help with scholarships or family financing or whatever else, it can be overwhelming. And you cannot hold your breath for 10 years later when you finally get out of training. I mean, you have to be living each time along the way. It has to be part of your life.

Lisa Leffert:
Otherwise, I think it can't work. But my sense is that people who go in to health care in general, not just becoming a physician, do it because they feel like it's like they have to you know, it's it's the thing to do. It's just the most interesting thing for them to be in. And then they choose specific areas or kinds of training within it because they need someone or people who remind them of them or who they want to be or who they admire or who take them under their wing. And that's almost always the way it happens. You know, some mentor doesn't even have to be a long term mentor, can be even a single interaction. I mean, the way I got into anesthesia a little bit, my father, who was a surgeon. Mentioned it, but I when I told you I wasn't even sure I was going to actually be a clinician, but I didn't did decide ultimately. All right. I need to do something to at least get a little bit of training so I can practice medicine if I want to. And I went through all of my rotations that you do in the hospital, and they were all interesting. But I didn't really feel like any of them were. I couldn't really see me in any of them. And then I took an anesthesia elective because my father suggested it.

Lisa Leffert:
And you don't hear a lot about anesthesia in medical school. And I met a woman who was just visiting the mass general from Australia. She. So the fact that she would be so instrumental. Her husband was doing a fellowship from Australia. And at the mass general. And she just came along and was there for a year as a young faculty member. But she was the first person who I met. And I thought, I want to be her. And that was it. It wasn't even so much the subject matter of anesthesia. I certainly wasn't thinking of obstetric anesthesia at the time. It was just her.

Lisa Leffert:
Oh, yeah. I'd be her. And there it was.

Fei Wu:
That was one of the life defining moments of knowing what you want to do. It can be quite magical. And for me, that moment was being a 15, 16 year old in Beijing and watching American and Canadians play ice hockey against each other. And I thought, that's my life calling. When you say that I'd love to play hockey in high school and college, but I pretty much stopped there knowing that, you know, I Fei. for one hundred twenty pounds probably last year. But it led to other places. Yeah, exactly.

Fei Wu:
Other opportunities meeting. Interesting people would still be able to talk about it today. One of the one of the things I've been reading to think it's called faculty development or is it and try to really practice my English terms here. Are just good enough at a podcast. until last night when I got a faculty development.

Fei Wu:
As you know, I am passionate about internships and coaching young people, even as early as middle school and high school. I just I love it. And I would do it for free.

Fei Wu:
I did it at Sapient and I'm still doing it. Arnold And every waking moment, just thinking about it makes me feel very special, very significant. And based on my experience, to be quite honest, it's never been an area that the company necessarily focus on all that much. And, you know, also when it comes to promotion, that's not something that was ever talked about. You know, in one case, it was my boss's boss's boss who wrote me a letter telling me how great head of North America. Me, how great it was. But that was the end of the story. That didn't stop me. And I know that's something that I even everybody talk about. That's what you do. I wonder what you do.

Lisa Leffert:
I so understand what you're saying. So I did faculty development for 15 years before anyone noticed. And the way I got even a pseudo title, which was not this title under my last chair was because they were going to undergo a review. Specifically, what that meant was that some other chairs, national chairs were going to come in and sort of do an assessment of the department. And they sent a long list like we want to hear about ABC. And within that list was what you do to develop your faculty. So this work that I had been doing for all of this time that I had been sort of talking to him about the importance of and everything else that they couldn't have cared less about.

Lisa Leffert:
All of a sudden they came to me and they said, you we need you to write up something about this, because they needed to be able to show it, show that they were doing work in it. And even then, even though I then sort of had a title and Lee helped advise me as a way to get on one of the important departmental committees as the representative of this, I had no authority. It wasn't until 15 years later when the chair, my current woman chair from California moved and she was very passionate about faculty development. She was doing it in a much more usual.

Lisa Leffert:
Setting, which was she was vice chair of faculty development of research at University of Southern California, UC San Francisco UCSF, and that is a more traditional path because research is at least in a formal sense, you always have a research mentor. So there's always career development that's supposed to be happening. And there were grants where you have a mentor in grants, where you're the mentor. And it's a very formal process. But she clearly believed in it the way you believe in it. Far more than just the pro forma scientific stuff. And I got because of being on that committee, I got to be among the people who interviewed the candidates for chair. And when I met her, we began to talk about this and we haven't stopped talking about it since. And she actually elevated the position to a vice chair that it does not exist as a vice chair position in certainly most anesthesia departments and even most departments in medicine. Lee, I think, may have a department that's a little bit similar now, but it's very rare in an academic medicine department.

Fei Wu:
I think it's this part is such a you know, I know you have many core offerings, but even in my line of work, there is no just and we don't go to school to study project management, to study advertising. It doesn't really. And then you look at those courses, kids are learning about how to write literature, some basic math curriculum, courses and curriculum. And I often notice even in my business that people are not well prepared for their positions even coming out of. I would imagine medical school areas are really not prepared for. And as you I can imagine how anxious I must be, you're thrown in front of a patient and you're there to deal with the most kind of frustrating moment right then and there. And I feel like you create a curriculum for them, kind of bridge the gap to fill that void.

Lisa Leffert:
So, yeah, it's interesting. And when I mean, there's sort of almost two aspects of it. One are the medical components of it, but the other is just it's the first time that they really are having a job. So just knowing how to find a job because so much of medicine, that's one thing that keeps you for these 10 years when everyone else is writing season applying for jobs. It keeps you in a much more pro forma setting where you're it's almost more like applying to school. There are matches. You you sort of enter lotteries and such. So it's really not interviewing for jobs in the same way. And then suddenly they're sprung free. So first of all, they have to figure out how to get a job and then they have to figure out how to behave in a job and prosper in a job and advance their career and everything. So there's a whole set of skills that relate to being attending physician, some of which are medical, but almost more of them are about being a professional in the workforce, in the workplace that we spend a lot of time. So, for example, I end up seeing a lot of the residents before they graduate fellows and helping them with their CV is in their cover letters. And how do you get a job?

Lisa Leffert:
Then we hire a lot of our own and I band them together the first year about OK. Now you're an attending. Now you're a grown up actor. Not to mean that are children before, but. All right. How do you what do you do? How do you supervise other people? How do you build your academic career? How do you deal with conflict? How do you deal with people from other role groups? You know, sort of all those kinds of skills, because you're right. They don't tend to teach that stuff in residency, even though the people are twenty five years old.

Fei Wu:
And it's so true that I feel like all area. This is this is why I can so relate to give my passion as well. And it's just so reassuring and comforting to know that there is value, you know?

Lisa Leffert:
Absolutely.

Fei Wu:
Sometimes I you know, sometimes I do what I do because I love it and sometimes thinking on top of the 50 hours already put it, this is just just more. Is it? Do people really get it? Is it really benefiting their lives?

Lisa Leffert:
It's tremendous. I mean, we've seen what it's added to the young people's lives through our own children and your efforts. But it's I can tell you from someone who employs people in the workplace and sees young faculty and who does well and who who struggles that it's it makes all the difference in the world. But sometimes it takes takes a while. It's not money making directly. People don't realize that it actually is cost effective. Yes. Because it's expensive to hire people who don't work out. And it's expensive to have folks just never mind all of the other reasons to do it. It's expensive to have folks who, for whatever reason, struggle more aren't productive. So people really should tie the two together. And that's maybe sort of a hint I would give, which is in this era of efficiency, retention is very cost effective. Getting the right people in the door and then retaining them through the period of time that it makes sense to retain them is extremely poor, increases productivity and cost effectiveness. So this is a very important part of that. Never mind that it's the right thing to do and it's tremendously satisfying and it's wonderful for the people being mentored.

Fei Wu:
I completely agree.

Fei Wu:
I feel like there are there articles, but not enough written in my opinion about intention. When you look at typical advertising model, agency model, 70 percent of the resources, you know, labor fee, everything goes towards new business that you may or may not get and 30 percent if existing resource serving existing businesses. And you know, when I conducted this, what I call a digital learning workshop at my current company, Arnold, it's just a form. Initially, a lot of me talking then I try to beg people, talk to people. Could you share your knowledge and yours?

Fei Wu:
And now it's a it becomes this a forum for people from different departments that you never even heard of. They'll come contribute the content. And it was so touching to me to see that when people wrote about what they love, love about the agency, love about working here. And the reason was that welcome month learning workshop for them to get to know people for young people as young as twenty four years old, because I said I don't care about what rank you are. You know, we have something to share. And there they are presenting something they carefully put together and with their presentation facilitation skills. They loved it so.

Lisa Leffert:
Well, maybe that's something that you could write about. I mean, you could be the one to write about this and really share your experience and and show that it does. It does work because a lot of people don't have the courage or the wherewithal to try new things, especially if they don't think that it's going to work. But the way things get distributed is when people put it out there. So that would be a wonderful thing for you to you know, we could think about what how one shares in your industry, you know, this kind of thing. But that would be a wonderful thing. And and those kinds of things do get you promoted when you share things and are able to kind of getting people's attention. Yes. That's when they get promoted. It's the internal work. Yeah, that doesn't often doesn't. So when you get other people's attention, almost without exception of what industry or in those things get you promoted.

Fei Wu:
I will I have to write an article about retention and about coaching and how they go hand in hand. And I love how you mention that when I started when I was ready to start a podcast. and I looked online, "Is it smart to start a podcast". "who'll listen to Podcast". and the responses, kind of saying don't do it. There are thousands of out there people who don't care. People do not listen to long form conversations that tend to turn out to be completely not true. I've done it for I've only been doing this for two months. Completely part time, part time. And as we're sitting here, I think out of 13 episodes I released, I am now cheating about a thousand downloads. Wow. Yeah. So that's almost a little less than 100 depending on the person. What I find most amazing is before this interview, you went out for a run, not because of the interview, the rest of the interview. Is this your daily, weekly routine? And when I see you, I said, you know my job since 9:00. I have to get on the train at 8:00. This is so. And I was reminded that you need to be at work at times sometimes at 7:00 in the morning.

Fei Wu:
I don't think I didn't even know there was a 7:00. So I love for other women and men to really listen listen to you. Understand how you kind of balance your life. Not to say that everything all time is to be perfect, but how do you find that balance from, you know, concerned? Well, what is the other way? It was trying to say this like, I love one of the saying. To say that if you think you need to be balanced all the time. That's a very artificial way to approach the mind. Yeah. So how do you manage? Well, I'm not good at it's relaxing. You know something?

Lisa Leffert:
There's only so many hours in the day. And I do have to sleep. I'm not one of those people who sleeps four or five hours a day. I really like seven or eight hours of sleep. And I work very long hours. So I have to be at work before 7:00 almost every day. And so and work about six days a week. So I and probably at least twelve hours.

Lisa Leffert:
So I don't relax very much. I mean, it's it's OK for me, although as I get older, I do need to sort of re-evaluate if it continues to be OK. So I'm always so almost always doing at least one thing or, you know, always on the move. But I pretty much do a lot of the things I want to.

Lisa Leffert:
I exercise because I really like to exercise. If I didn't like to exercise, I can't say I would necessarily. And somehow it all sorts it sort of fits in.

Fei Wu:
What are some of the other things, I guess? You said you're not good at relaxing, but aside from working out, what do you Fei. silly things to do? Watching a movie

Lisa Leffert:
Yes, I love People magazine. I am a very good at knowing what's up in pop culture. So yeah, it's certainly exercising is almost every day. I love reading the newspaper and sort of popular culture things, but don't get to read a lot of fiction. I love being with the boys. So and there especially now that they're older, they're around it sort of off times. So whenever that is. I love spending time with them. This vacation last week, we had we actually were very domestic. We stayed in together and cooked and I baked a lot and everything, which was pretty atypical for me, but it was really, really nice.

Lisa Leffert:
I do housework. We see movies sometimes outs out of the house and often inside. We saw Wild last night for New Year's Eve and the Reese Witherspoon movie, Talk to Friends. I don't have a lot of hobbies per say that you would think of collecting things or creating things, sewing things like that. Life is pretty full.

Lisa Leffert:
Yeah, but that's it. I feel like it's balance between kind of mental and physical and usually enough sleep and family.

Lisa Leffert:
Yeah. Only family's huge, huge, huge, huge part of your culture as well.

Fei Wu:
Yeah. And I adore both of the boys and I could talk about them all day long, which is not something I'm going to do.

Fei Wu:
I guess my last question, I think it's not to overlook being being a woman or working woman in a very demanding job that I cannot imagine. I can't say that I know what it's like now after the interview. I don't know. I can imagine. I cannot imagine myself kind of managing that for the for you for the past 20, 25 years and raising two two gentlemen now. And they are absolutely incredible. What are some of your vices for working mothers who at times.

Fei Wu:
I mean, I hope to become a mom, too. And how do you balance that? What are some of your advice for them?

Lisa Leffert:
I would say don't worry about being too perfect. Don't worry about it. Saying the right thing, doing the right thing. Going to the right classes. Just be yourself.

Lisa Leffert:
We did not. We laugh about it now. We did not worry about every single thing that came out of our mouths and whether we were using the right parenting techniques. We didn't read parenting books. However, you can only do so much. We just tried to be honest.

Lisa Leffert:
We sometimes we were cranky when we took them grocery shopping because we needed to go grocery shopping. I didn't sit on the floor and play a million games with them, but I did really engage with them. I I because I like to do running and stuff. I took them with me. It taught them how to ride bikes. Somewhat reluctantly for at least one of them. And that would be my my goal and my advice.

Lisa Leffert:
I think if you also are trying to fit some particular pattern or or this crazy schedule with the kids as well, I don't know how you could possibly do it. I didn't do it to try to be more selfish. I just in my heart of hearts, I thought it would work out OK. And I feel like it's worked out OK. They have interests. We didn't force them to play instruments and they didn't want to or do all the right after school activities. But it's nothing. We didn't keep track of them.

Lisa Leffert:
We just sort of we just kind of let it happen a little more organically. And, you know, it wasn't always pretty, but we're super close. We get to this day, even though they're 20 and 17, they are very, very open with us. They this last week, they each spent here with their respective girlfriends. So I feel like they're not running away, but they still want to come home and share these things with us. So it doesn't mean everything is perfect by any means or they haven't been struggles because there have.

Lisa Leffert:
But that would be my advice. That's great. I know it is one thing as you're painting that you never ask them to be over achievers.

Fei Wu:
You never can nudge them. I don't recall any conversations of do you get a pluses? And I laugh saying, you know, people say that a minus is the Asian.

Lisa Leffert:
Well, they might say that we we set a very high bar in terms of their doing their best.

But certainly when it came to enumerating that everyone had to do sports and everyone had to do music and everything. That kind of thing. We didn't I mean, it just we would have gone crazy. I wouldn't have known where to start. It wasn't our personalities anyway. And we could never have tried to keep up with that kind of thing. It just would have felt artificial. But I don't want to give the impression that we were super laid back. That's we're not. We didn't pretend to be different from what we were. They know exactly how laid back we are.

Fei Wu:
This is awesomely so. I was wondering if there's anything that I haven't a. I'm sure there are plenty of vast amount of things I haven't covered. But if there's anything you find intriguing to talk about that, you know, two other categories, to be honest, I kind of covered all everything here is I thought about social media these days and how that contributed to medicine or just generally how medicine kind of changed over time. Those are basically the things we kind of vaguely talk about.

Lisa Leffert:
I mean, I I think I have probably more to say on the things that we have talked about, social media and medicine. I'm not a good person to talk about. Lee is. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And medicine changing over time, actually. He could also talk about and it is changing over time. Very much so.

Lisa Leffert:
And I try to be a part of it in some administrative ways because I think it's a good way to be proactive and not be cranky that things aren't the way they used to be. But again, I think he'll be a good person to talk about it. I think in some ways things have improved in other ways. We've sort of lost sight of some things, like just the ability for the patient to feel taken care of as opposed to split up between 9 million different little specialists and everything.

Fei Wu:
So interesting.

Lisa Leffert:
But there's no point in in just criticizing and there's certainly no point in.

Lisa Leffert:
Going back to the glory days, which were never as glorious as you make them out to be, right?

Fei Wu:
No, it wasn't. I know that's such a fallacy.

Lisa Leffert:
So I think it's important to be part of the reason why I do administration. Even now, after all these years where I feel like I've kind of done enough administration is if you continue to try to be part of the solution or setting up systems for the future, then you again, you. You move forward and you try to impact moving forward rather than just being a sort of sideline commentator.

Thank you so much. I hope you had some fun. Yeah, it's awesome as well. And I just I get so excited that I can tell you that. When was the last time for me to feel this way? I mean, not that I'm easily amused. I love sports hockey, but the fact that I could sit down and talk to people and really appreciate and learn so much, even just before talking me researching and now talking to you and then you, I believe this fall together and I spend eight to 10 hours to compile the knowledge and I love it. I just love revealing what we do for how I feel. What I do is so insignificant. But never, always make me feel very appreciated.

Lisa Leffert:
It's a remarkable thing that you're doing. And it's certainly gift to me to have a moment to reflect, because so often you're just doing and not reflecting what I gift on New Year's Day. Oh, thank you. Happy New Year to you.

Fei Wu:
To listen to more episodes of the Feisworld podcast, please subscribe on iTunes, where visit Feisworld.com (That is FEISWORLD) where you can find show note, links, other tools and resources. You can also follow me on Twitter at Feisworld. world. Until next time. Thanks for listening.

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