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Dean's Welcome

From Dr. David Linehan

Dr. Linehan

What kind of place is Rochester, and what makes our School of Medicine and Dentistry so special?

I honestly wasn’t sure when I arrived here in 2014 to chair the Department of Surgery. For me, it was a chance to be mentored by Dr. Seymour Schwartz, a truly iconic figure who literally wrote the book on surgery during his more than six decades here.

Turns out that such mentorship and collaboration define the essence of Rochester. Our institution is big enough to have world-class programs and major NIH funding, yet small enough to build extensive collaboration and curriculum innovations deep into our culture. It’s the best of both worlds.

You’ll even see it in our buildings. Our Center for Experiential Learning has been renovated to include modern, flexible space for small-group and large interprofessional learning. We continue to update with high-definition projectors, video conferencing, high-tech simulation, and more of the latest ways to improve learning.

Providers Hovering Around a ComputerIt’s all part of a medical system that encompasses city and rural hospitals doing extraordinary tertiary and quaternary work. We are also a biomedical research powerhouse, with more than 400 of of our 2,000 faculty members involved in peer-reviewed, funded research spread across 40 departments and centers.

That energy and spirit of discovery has changed lives and made careers. A Rochester team helped develop the world’s first vaccine against cancer, the HPV vaccine, which has led to major reductions in the prevalence of cervical cancer. Rochester cardiologists proved that an implantable cardiac defibrillator can significantly reduce death rates, revolutionizing the treatment of heart disease worldwide. Our neonatologists pioneered the use of lung surfactant to help premature infants breathe, dramatically improving survival rates. In our nearly 100-year history, five faculty or alumni have won a Nobel Prize.

In 2023 alone, our graduate programs created 119 invention disclosures, earned 30 patents, and had 112 active corporate partnerships. And we continually add new programs. On the graduate side, it puts us in the top 5% of all accredited Graduate Medical Education sponsoring institutions in the nation. We’re brimming with innovation and progress.

We’re also full of chances to explore. If you’re open to new learning experiences, you’ll love it here. Our motto is Meliora, "ever better," which in my mind means closely examining the status quo and dreaming about how we can make it better. That makes us all lifelong learners, me included. 

Aerial Image of High FallsWhen you also explore Rochester itself, you find what a hidden gem it is. We’re the third largest city in New York, with vibrant arts and culture, a strong foodie and microbrewery scene, and endless festivals. We’re surrounded by one of the five Great Lakes and numerous beaches, the Finger Lakes region with its picturesque hiking and wineries, several ski slopes, and world-class music courtesy of the Eastman School of Music. The Rochester International Jazz Festival attracts world-class performers from all over the globe. Like our school, Rochester is the best of both worlds: big enough to offer all sorts of activities and opportunities but small enough to be named one of the friendliest cities in the country.

As dean, my goal is to make sure all learners here have every opportunity to pursue their dreams—to make sure they have mentors, partnerships, inspiration, and possibilities. I’m not alone in wanting the best for us. Our University’s 2030 strategic plan calls for 700,000 new square feet of clinical, teaching, and research space on our medical campus, plus additional faculty. 

In short, my move here was the best professional decision I ever made. At Rochester, we do all we can to help everyone who joins us feel that coming to the University of Rochester will bring both personal and professional success.

David C. Linehan, M.D.
Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry