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Nobay Named School of Medicine and Dentistry Associate Dean for Admissions

Thursday, December 08, 2016

"The medical school is highly regarded across the country because it is not about churning out doctors, but about creating leaders who represent holistic values."

Associate professor of Emergency Medicine Flavia Nobay, M.D., has been named associate dean for Admissions at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, succeeding professor of Neuroscience John Hansen, Ph.D., who is retiring this spring after more than 20 years in the position. Nobay, who currently directs the Emergency Medicine residency program, will transition into the role over the next six months as an assistant to Hansen. Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of URMC and dean of SMD, announced her appointment Dec. 6.
“Flavia is very passionate about the medical school, has a strong familiarity with the curriculum, and is focused on strengthening our Rochester connections, while building our national presence and outstanding alumni base,” said senior associate dean for Medical Student Education David Lambert, M.D., who led the selection process. “Moreover, she’s deeply committed to furthering the school’s holistic approach to student selection that John has so skillfully and thoughtfully championed here. Our philosophy looks beyond test scores to explore all the varied dimensions a student can bring to the profession. As a residency program director, Flavia has a keen sense of the traits and abilities today’s physicians need to possess, and will bring valuable insight to our admissions process.”
The SMD is now one of the most selective medical schools in the country, typically accepting 104 students from a nationwide pool of over 6,000 each year. Twenty-one percent are underrepresented in medicine and 51 percent are female. Roughly 40 percent of SMD graduates elect to stay and build their careers in Rochester.
Nobay said she hopes to build on this success and shape a student body that personifies the school’s humanistic approach, but is also in lockstep with the evolving health care system and its need for diverse, outcomes-driven, data savvy, team-oriented physicians.
Although she has cherished her role as an emergency medicine physician and teacher since joining URMC in 2006, the move to the medical school feels like a natural progression, she said.
“Working in Emergency Medicine gives you an ability to connect with people in a way that is not reproducible in any other field,” she said. “And, teaching and mentoring emergency residents has been a deeply rewarding way to have an impact on the future of health care. But this move was an easy choice for me because I’m representing a fantastic product. The medical school is highly regarded across the country because it is not about churning out doctors, but about creating leaders who represent holistic values. Students here are taught not to just listen to a stethoscope but to listen to the patient, and interpret findings in the context of a patient’s illness, environment and family. They are taught not to just treat a patient in the moment, but to find ways to make the quality of a patient’s life better and safer. Being a part of this revolutionary educational dynamic now is a privilege.”
Nobay says the best traits a future physician can have are curiosity and a passion for learning.
“They can’t be afraid to ask the hard questions,” she said. “They must be unbiased, independent thought leaders who realize that they are ambassadors of the community and have a responsibility to enrich it in any way they can. They must always be aware they are part of a mechanism larger than themselves and be adaptable to working on health care teams.”
A native of Los Angeles, Flavia Nobay completed her undergraduate work at the University of California at Berkeley and earned her medical degree from the University of California at San Diego. She completed her residency and post-doctoral training at UCSF’s Alameda County Medical Center, where she served as a clinical instructor, and later as assistant professor of Emergency Medicine, from 1991-2006, after which she joined URMC.
After arriving in Rochester, Nobay was also selected to lead the Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) program, an eight-year B.A./B.S. plus M.D. program for outstanding undergraduates committed to pursuing a medical career. It is the University’s most competitive combined admissions program.
Her work with REMS and with residents has given her an opportunity “to oversee experiences on both ends of the academic spectrum” with the medical school being the only remaining piece.
In her new leadership role, Nobay said she hopes to help bring more women into medicine who aim to ascend to academic and leadership roles, and develop strategies to support their progression. Nobay recently co-authored a journal article on the best practices for recruitment and advancement of women in emergency medicine.
Before assuming her new post, Nobay plans to take a month-long trip to Borneo, in Southeast Asia, with her husband, David Adler, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of Emergency Medicine and of Community and Preventive Medicine, and their children. Adler is working with a global health project to provide health care to Borneo residents in order to keep them from cutting down the rainforest to pay for it—a project that also typifies Nobay’s goals and vision.
“What is most important to me now is educating future physicians about the importance of creating health systems that advance entire populations of people, to teach them the highest standards of care, and give them the tools to make a difference,” she said. “Education is where we can make the greatest impact on the future.”

Nobay has directed the Emergency Medicine residency program since 2008 and has served as a mentor to many students.

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