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In a ceremony held to mark the emotional start of a lifelong profession, the reactions of medical students ranged from tears to smiles to goose bumps. And some were a little more practical than others.
"It's a little itchy," remarked Esther Bauscher, Class of 2010, who for the first time put on a physician's white medical coat on Aug. 19, during the School of Medicine and Dentistry's Dr. Robert L. & Lillian H. Brent White Coat Ceremony.
She then continued in a more serious tone, "I understand the symbolism of the white coat, as I've worked in emergency medicine before. And I'm certainly glad my family was able to be here with me during this important moment."
Such was the sentiment of one of the 101 medical students comprising the Class of 2010, who each received a short white medical coat during the ceremony. Held at the end of the medical school's orientation week in the University's Interfaith Chapel, students were helped into a short white lab coat by their faculty advisor, and also received a journal to capture their reflections during their four years in medical school. Talks about experiences in medicine were delivered by Barbara Asselin, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, and student Alexis Mottl, Class of 2007. The ceremony ended with the students reciting a Code of Conduct, five paragraphs generated by the students themselves during their first week at school.
"The white coat is a visible symbol for all that is the essence of a physician," said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. "It is fitting that at the start of their medical education, we take time to remind students of the tremendous responsibility they will come to have over their years as physicians."
The White Coat ceremony has become an important tradition at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and for medical schools nationwide. The idea for this relatively recent ritual was the brainchild of a pediatric neurologist who started a foundation aimed at fostering humanism in medicine. Since 1993, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation has encouraged medical schools to hold White Coat ceremonies to mark the entrance of incoming medical students into the profession of medicine.
Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first to conduct such a ceremony in 1993. Rochester's School of Medicine and Dentistry was one of the few to quickly follow Columbia's example, with this year marking the twelfth time such a ceremony has been held here. About 90 percent of all medical schools conduct a White Coat ceremony today.
David R. Lambert, M.D., associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, says the power behind the white coat is, in a word, "awesome."
"While certainly a broad generalization, people will reveal their intimate thoughts and worries to you simply because you are wearing a white coat," Lambert said. "So, it's important that our students start thinking and behaving as though they are physicians, even though they are years off from becoming practicing physicians."
The new name of the ceremony is a tribute to Robert and Lillian Brent, who have been long time benefactors to the Medical School, and most recently donated $1 million to its scholarship fund. Brent is a Rochester native and an internationally known pediatrician and researcher who received all of his education through the University of Rochester. He earned his bachelor's degree from the college in 1948, his medical degree from the School of Medicine in 1953 and his doctorate in embryology and radiation biology in 1955. Lillian Brent, also a Rochester native, graduated from the college in 1950.
Helping faculty become stronger teachers, and improving the recruitment and retention of female faculty and those from diverse backgrounds, are the driving forces behind the creation of two new Associate Dean positions in the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. Effective Sept. 1, Denham Ward, M.D., Ph.D., took on the role of Associate Dean for Faculty Development-Medical Education, and Vivian Lewis, M.D., became Associate Dean for Faculty Development-Women and Diversity.
In announcing the appointments, School of Medicine and Dentistry Dean David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., addresses two very important issues that have far-reaching consequences to the national competitiveness of the education, research, clinical, and community outreach missions of the University of Rochester Medical Center.
"The creation of these deanships attests to our commitment to live the University’s Meliora motto of ‘Always Better.’ Helping our faculty become the best teachers possible will make our students stronger as physicians, and in turn, better mentors and teachers themselves," Guzick said. "Likewise, new approaches to faculty inclusiveness will strengthen our ability to serve an increasingly diverse group of patients and students. Tapping more women and minorities for leadership roles will bring fresh perspectives and broader appeal to the medical profession itself."
Guzick added that faculty input strongly shaped the scope of the new deanships.
"Our faculty and students have appropriately raised concerns about both of these issues, and we have listened," said Guzick. "I am delighted that we did not have to look far to fill these very important positions. Both Drs. Ward and Lewis are accomplished academicians and clinicians with a demonstrated passion for their new area of responsibility. I am confident that they will create a renewed energy and focus to help us move forward."
While the School of Medicine has a diverse student body, both in gender and racial mix, the opportunity to boost minority and female participation at the faculty level remains a critical issue faced not only here, but by academic medical centers nationwide.
"Nationally, we have done a good job of getting the incoming pipeline of physicians more in line with the demographics of our country," said Linda Chaudron, M.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, who, along with Susan Cohn, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine in the Infectious Disease division, examined issues facing women and minority in academic medicine. "But after medical school and residency, women and minorities fall off the academic physician trajectory in unacceptable numbers. We need to better understand the complex reasons driving this phenomenon, and then develop an infrastructure that will attract and retain the best possible female and minority talent to the School of Medicine."
Lack of female or minority role models is often cited as a barrier to recruitment, as is the access to both formal and informal networking structures. And, its geographic location can detract candidates from even considering a position in Rochester. Chaundron and Cohn worked with Dean Guzick on a proposal to address the situation, and also sought guidance from the University’s Task Force on Faculty Diversity and Inclusiveness. The result was the creation of a new position dedicated to expanding the School of Medicine’s efforts.
"I am very excited to take on this new role at the School of Medicine," said Lewis. "Lack of diversity among our faculty has tremendous ripple effects across all areas of our mission. It impacts our ability to treat patients, to teach students, and to attract faculty. We know the issues are complex, and one approach will not solve all of them. Yet, with the strong institutional commitment from both the School of Medicine and the University overall, I believe real progress can be made."
In the upcoming months, Lewis plans to form an advisory group of faculty who will help with a needs assessment of issues specific to Rochester. She also will introduce new methods and tools for chairs to help them diversify recruitment efforts, including development of a database of community contacts for newcomers to Rochester. And she will continue to work closely with the University’s Faculty Diversity Taskforce.
Currently Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lewis has been instrumental in creating the Medical Center’s nationally recognized reproductive unit. A graduate of Harvard College, she received her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Lewis then completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and her reproductive endocrinology fellowship at the University of California-San Francisco, where she helped to start their in vitro fertilization program. Lewis was on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago prior to coming to Rochester in 1991, when she was recruited to direct the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, a position she held until recently. Lewis plans to continue her clinical, research and teaching work while assuming this new position.
Teaching the Teachers
The explosion of scientific knowledge, rapidly emerging technologies, and pressure to meet new competency standards are dramatically changing the approach to medical education throughout U.S. medical schools. That places new demands on teaching faculty to evolve their teaching styles, while balancing commitments to patient care and research. Forward-thinking medical schools must be prepared to support teaching faculty as never before.
"Teachers are not born overnight. They need knowledge, skills, training, practice, and evaluation. We owe it to our faculty to give them the tools and training to improve their teaching skills," said Ronald Epstein, M.D., Associate Dean for Educational Evaluation and Research at the School.
Epstein formed a Committee on Faculty Development in 2005 to prepare a report for the Dean to address the support given to the residents and faculty who organize and teach students in the classroom, laboratory and at the bedside.
Committee co-chair John Hansen, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Admissions at the School, explained that traditionally, faculty development specific to teaching was primarily the responsibility of individual departments. The new Associate Dean for Faculty Development-Medical Education will launch a centralized effort to consistently evaluate current teaching methods and to create shared resources focused on improving the overall quality of teaching.
"I have long believed that education is central to all that we do at the Medical Center," Ward said. "You need good clinical care to teach good clinical care, and vice versa. I am looking forward to working with individual faculty members and departments to understand what training exists, and where the gaps are, so that we can develop a robust set of resources to help our faculty become the best teachers possible."
Ward already is hard at work, meeting with department chairs to conduct a needs assessment. He is also conducting a literature review so that all training is based on proven methods. A quarterly seminar series is in the works, as is a collection of resources that will be housed on a website for convenient access. Ward says he’d like to work toward a certificate program in medical education, and eventually, develop a Masters of Medical Education program at the School of Medicine.
"My appointment clearly tells our teaching faculty and residents that what they are doing is vital to the future of our organization," Ward said. "We just need to give them tools to help them do their job better."
A Professor and former Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, Ward
has long been an integral part of the teaching faculty at the School of
Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of
Maine, and then went onto Los Angeles, where he completed a M.S. in engineering
and a Ph.D. in Systems Science at UCLA. He then turned his attention to
medicine, receiving his medical degree from the University of Miami. Ward
completed a one year internship in internal medicine at Jackson Memorial
Hospital before moving to UCLA, where he finished his residency training
in anesthesiology. He held various clinical and administrative positions
in two departments at UCLA, including director of its residency program
in anesthesiology, before being recruited to become Chair of the School
of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology in 1992. Ward stepped
down as Chair in 2001, and after a sabbatical, has dedicated his time
to teaching at the School of Medicine, in addition to his clinical and
DeHaven Elected to Sports Medicine Hall of Fame
DeHaven has helped shape the landscape of the orthopaedic sports medicine specialty, beginning his career at a time when the field was in its infancy. Over the next three decades, DeHaven would become a prominent leader in sports medicine, known nationally for his research and surgical work, as well as his willingness to mentor young orthopaedic surgeons.
Among his notable accomplishments was pioneering the use of arthroscopy to not only diagnose, but to treat, knee injuries, a novel approach in the mid 1970s when arthroscopy was not yet a mainstream surgical procedure. In addition, DeHaven was the first in the field to question the then standard treatment for knee tears – complete removal of the injured meniscus. Through clinical observation, and eventually scientific research, DeHaven would prove that a torn meniscus often could be repaired successfully. Collectively, these clinical contributions have saved many professional sporting careers, and helped countless other athletes not only stay in the game, but return to the game sooner.
In accepting the honor, DeHaven joins a veritable list of “who’s
who” in sports medicine, including the two physicians who helped
to establish the field as a subspecialty of orthopaedics, and even the
physician who developed the “Tommy John elbow surgery.”
“Dr. DeHaven’s accomplishments have long been legendary within the field of sports medicine and orthopaedics,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “The Medical Center community and his patients have been most fortunate to have Rochester become his professional home, where we have truly benefited from his clinical, research and teaching methods first-hand. I congratulate Dr. DeHaven on receiving this well-deserved honor.”
DeHaven’s success is not surprising stuff coming from a three letterman varsity player, participating in football, basketball and track in high school in Dayton, Ohio, and in football at Dartmouth College. DeHaven would go on to study medicine at Dartmouth’s College of Medicine and Northwestern University Medical School before joining the Cleveland Clinic for his orthopaedic residency. While at Cleveland, he benefited from the vision of C. McCollister Evarts, M.D. At that time, the former Medical Center CEO was chair of Orthopaedics at Cleveland, and arranged for DeHaven to complete an elective rotation in sports medicine within his residency before sports medicine fellowship training was formally offered. He spent three months of his residency in Atlanta studying under the tutelage of Fred L. Allman, Jr., M.D., the first physician to devote his practice entirely to sports medicine.
DeHaven soon had a thriving sports medicine practice at the Cleveland Clinic. When Evarts was recruited to start up the Medical Center’s own Department of Orthopaedics in 1974, he turned to DeHaven to develop the burgeoning sports medicine field in Rochester. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In short order, DeHaven put together a collaborative sports medicine practice, recruiting other sports medicine faculty and hiring physical therapists and athletic trainers to help treat and rehabilitate athletes. He also worked with the area’s minor league professional teams, becoming team physician for the Rochester Red Wings AAA baseball team, the Rochester Americans professional hockey team and the Rochester Rhinos soccer team, and helped establish the practice of assigning athletic trainers to high school and college sports teams. Today, University Sports Medicine is the region’s largest sports medicine and athletic training organization, providing services to 18 high schools, four colleges and five professional teams, and handling more than 58,000 patient visits a year.
DeHaven has authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed articles and 30 textbooks or chapters of textbooks. Among his many professional appointments he has served as president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the Arthroscopy Association of North America. He also has received numerous local and national awards including the AOSSM Mr. Sports Medicine Award, the John C. Kennedy M.D. Memorial Lectureship, and the University of Rochester Spike Garnish Award.
Today, DeHaven continues seeing patients while overseeing the activities
of the University Medical Faculty Group.
That’s not surprising, considering that the new head of Golisano Children’s Hospital chose pediatrics for very simple, pure reasons: “I really enjoy being with children. I enjoy their candor. I enjoy their humor even when they aren’t trying to be humorous. I enjoy that when I make a difference I potentially made a difference for a lifetime and for a whole family.” Schor officially began her tenure as pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong and chief of the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical Center on Sept. 1. The seventh chair of the department since its inception 80 years ago, she replaces Elizabeth McAnarney, M.D.
“The experience and skills Dr. Schor brings to this position ensure a dynamic future for the Department of Pediatrics and Golisano Children’s Hospital. Building on a strong foundation we look forward to helping her expand pediatric research and clinical care,” said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for Health Sciences and CEO of the Medical Center.
Schor comes to the Medical Center from the University of Pittsburgh School
of Medicine, where she was chief of the Division of Child Neurology, director
of the Pediatric Center for Neuroscience and associate dean for Medical
“The idea, which has been a thread going throughout my career, is that the clinical and the research enterprises feed off of one another, inform off one another,” she said.
Schor would also like to build on the breadth and depth of the services and specialties available at Golisano Children’s Hospital, focusing on outpatient services and upgrading inpatient facilities.
What ties Schor’s very diverse agenda together is her administrative leadership and teaching and her passion for both.
“Teaching and mentoring,” Schor said. “What drives a physician and scientist into the academic arena – and I am no exception – is a passion for teaching. When a pediatrician guides a child and family through the child’s entry into adolescence or through a critical illness, it is teaching and mentoring just like guiding a student through a research project.”
The Medical Center’s trio of virologists who helped create the world’s first vaccine against cervical cancer, approved by the FDA earlier this summer, were recognized by Rep. Louise Slaughter in a ceremony Aug. 9. Slaughter presented the three researchers with bound copies of the Congressional Record in which she recognized their role in the creation of the vaccine.