In November 2018, postdoctoral fellow Jay Vornhagen, PhD, was appointed as the first Department of Pathology Medical School Postdoctoral Trainee Senator. The Medical School Postdoctoral Trainee Senate is a volunteer organization of postdoctoral fellows whose mission is to identify areas of need in the community of nearly 600 postdoctoral fellows at the University of Michigan Medical School, and communicate these needs and possible solutions to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS) Senate and leadership.
To ensure graduate students and postdoctoral fellows receive top-tier training, Michigan Medicine established the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS). According to their website, OGPS “[aims] to provide a foundation and a community for trainees to explore the next step of their career in the biomedical sciences” by “[developing] programs and pathways for students and postdocs to grow intellectually, personally, and professionally on their scientific journey.” A critical aspect of achieving this end is by raising the voices of the wide variety of trainees that fall under the purview of OGPS. To further these aims, OGPS leadership established the OGPS Senate to allow trainees to “bring forth suggestions, issues, concerns, and new initiatives impacting our University of Michigan Medical School community.” However, the OGPS Senate was missing a critical voice, that of postdoctoral fellows, until now.
Under the leadership of Dr. Mary O’Riordan and Lisa Gubaci, the Medical School Postdoctoral Trainee Senate was formed. Each Department or Division at the University of Michigan Medical School, including the Department of Pathology, is now represented by a volunteer postdoctoral fellow. Their objective is to act as a liaison between postdoctoral fellows and their home Department or Division, to assess the state of postdoctoral training, and to advocate for policies that create positive change. Moreover, it is the responsibility of this individual to foster a sense of community between postdoctoral fellows within their Department or Division.
The Medical School Postdoctoral Trainee Senate holds quarterly meetings for discussion of issues to be raised to the OGPS Senate and leadership. These issues are then raised in conjunction with trainees from the Biomedical Graduate Student Government, Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program, and Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program. All postdoctoral fellows are invited to Medical School Postdoctoral Trainee Senate meetings, and interested postdoctoral fellows from the Department of Pathology should look forward to emails from the Medical School Postdoctoral Trainee Senate to communicate the time and location of these meetings. More information about the OGPS Senate can be found here.
The Department of Pathology Medical School Postdoctoral Trainee Senator, Jay Vornhagen, PhD, has been a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Michael A. Bachman’s laboratory since October of 2017. He has held numerous leadership and advocacy positions across the University of Michigan, including a term as co-president of the University of Michigan Postdoctoral Association. Any member of the Department of Pathology that is interested in the Department of Pathology Medical School Postdoctoral Trainee Senate or would like to discuss the state of the postdoctoral experience in the Department of Pathology may contact him directly.