Dr. Lara Stepleman, chief of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia, has been named the medical school’s inaugural associate dean for faculty success and inclusive excellence.
Stepleman, who has served as director of the MCG Office for Faculty Success since 2018, is charged with overseeing, promoting and building an intentional, inclusive and integrated approach to supporting MCG faculty needs across different career stages, appointment types and roles, which is ultimately aimed at recruiting and retaining good faculty. Efforts to support this goal include offering individual career consultations; training MCG leaders to serve as mentors to more junior faculty; and offering workshops and programs related to promotion, tenure and career skill building.
In the last academic year the Office of Faculty Success, which also includes research/administrative assistant Taylor Coleman and graduate assistant Kenneth Matthew Williams, provided 131 career consultations to faculty in 20 different MCG departments, which represents a 15% increase over the previous year. With Stepleman’s assistance, MCG’s success rate for promotion and tenure was 100%.
In addition to her role in the Office for Faculty Success, Stepleman has served as director of the medical school’s postdoctoral fellowship in health psychology — a program she initiated, sought funding and developed the curriculum for — since 2003. Since 2001, she also has served as director of HIV Behavioral Health Services for the clinical arm of the MCG Ryan White Program, which funds health care and support services with the goal of getting people living with HIV into care and keeping them there.
In 2018, she was appointed the inaugural LGBTQ information officer for the Augusta University Health System, serving as a resource and liaison for patients, families, providers, staff and hospital administrators to facilitate an inclusive, patient- and family-centered care environment for LGBTQ patients.
From 2015-17, Stepleman co-chaired the Association of American Medical College’s Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Development. She also is a member of the AAMC’s Group on Faculty Affairs and Group on Women in Medicine and Science.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1992 from New College of Florida and later a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She first came to MCG and the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 1998 to complete a predoctoral internship in chronic pain and chronic illness, after which she completed a doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001. She returned to MCG to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral medicine and HIV and joined the faculty later that year.