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Dean Steven Gabbe outlined Vanderbilt’s five-year plan to boost the School of Medicine’s U.S. ranking. Gabbe also announced the new administrative structure of the Dean’s office. (photo by Dana Johnson)

“10 by ‘10’’ -- Dean sets ambitious goal for School of Medicine

BY: JON COOMER

4/12/2002 - Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, dean of the School of Medicine, took on a new role Monday afternoon at the Spring Faculty Meeting—cheerleader.

Addressing faculty members, Gabbe summarized Vanderbilt’s five-year strategic plan to be ranked in the top 10 U.S. medical schools by 2010 as “10 by ‘10.”

“It’s easy to say, but hard to attain,” Gabbe told the faculty members gathered in Light Hall. But Gabbe was optimistic about reaching the goal. “It’s a reach and that’s what we’re all about here.”

Gabbe outlined the key elements of the academic strategic plan: growing basic and clinical research; recruiting top students and faculty; rewarding excellence in teaching; expanding the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance; and increasing financial resources through philanthropy, technology transfer and clinical enterprise.

The Medical Center is a critical component of the University’s $1 billion capital campaign fund announced last year.

Nearly half of the projected funds will be used at VUMC to promote the five-year strategic plan. Gabbe highlighted the Medical Center’s projected use of the $483 million: scholarships and student financial aid, $74 million; faculty recruitment, $40 million; addition of 74 endowed chairs, $148 million; key programs, $113 million; space and facilities, $109 million (research, $27.5 million; clinical, $81.4 million).

The addition of 74 endowed chairs is crucial, according to Gabbe, to boost Vanderbilt’s rankings. There are currently 66 endowed chairs, or 5.5 percent of the faculty at VUMC. Nine percent of the faculty at Johns Hopkins hold endowed chairs. If successful, the additions would increase Vanderbilt’s percentage to 12 percent.

“We have to keep moving or else,” Gabbe said. “In 1998 we were ranked 16th with Case Western. In 2001 we are still 16th and now they are 22nd.”

Gabbe stressed the importance of moving up in the ranks in terms of medical school recruitment. “When we went head to head with the top schools such as Harvard, we were able to recruit only 20 percent (of students),” he said. “When we went head to head with schools ranked just below us, we recruited 75 percent. People do look at these rankings when deciding where to go to medical school.”

Increasing scholarships is another way to make Vanderbilt more attractive to potential students. The five-year plan calls for the addition of $50 million for endowed scholarships.

“Right now, the average debt of our students graduating from medical school is $95,000,” Gabbe said. “Our ability to provide financial aid influences recruitment (of students).”

Recruitment of top faculty and recognizing outstanding teachers are also important parts of this plan, Gabbe said. Gabbe also stressed dual recruitment as a key component to Vanderbilt’s success.

Office restructured

On Monday Gabbe announced the restructuring of the Dean’s office.

Gabbe has been charged by Vice Chancellor Harry R. Jacobson to serve as chief executive officer of the School of Medicine with the following new positions: Senior Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, held by Dr. John Sergent; Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, Dr. F. Andrew Gaffney; Assistant Dean of Admissions, Dr. J. Harold Helderman; Chief of Staff, Lynn E. Webb, Ph.D.; and a restructured Dean’s Executive Council, which now includes Lee E. Limbird, Ph.D., Dr. Alastair J.J. Wood, and Dr. Mark Magnuson.

Current administrative positions within the medical school have not been affected. Leadership roles for Dr. Deborah C. German, senior associate dean for Medical Education, Dr. Gerald Gotterer, senior associate dean for Faculty and Academic Administrative Affairs, Dr. Roger Chalkley, senior associate dean for Biomedical Research, Education and Training, Dr. Bonnie Miller, associate dean for Medical Students, and Dr. Fred Kirchner, associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, will remain the same.

The School of Medicine is also creating an office for Diversity directed by an Associate Dean for Diversity. This position should be filled soon.

This addition is critical to Vanderbilt’s goal to be among the top 10 U.S. medical schools, according to Gabbe. On average, 12 percent of U.S. medical students are from underrepresented minorities compared to only 6 percent of Vanderbilt medical students. Four percent of VUSM faculty are minorities.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Gabbe said.

Gabbe also reviewed recently announced leadership positions as an integral part of VUMC’s future. In the past year, the following people were recruited and/or appointed to leadership roles: Dr. Jeffrey Balser, chair of Anesthesiology; Pat Levitt, Ph.D., director of the Kennedy Center; Susan Wente, Ph.D., chair of Cell and Development Biology; John Gore, Ph.D., professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering; Dr. Larry Churchill, Stahlman Professor of Ethics; and Dr. Billy Hudson, director of the Center for Matrix Biology and professor of Medicine.

Ongoing searches are also being conducted to recruit chairs for Ophthalmology, Pathology, and Psychiatry, and a vice-chair position for Biostatistics in Preventive Medicine.

New committees formed since last year include: Letters of Offer and Contracts, led by Dr. Gerald Gotterer; Capital Funding, Dr. Dan Beauchamp; VA Relations, Dr. Steven Gabbe; Leadership Development, Don Moore, Ph.D., Dr. Andy Spickard Jr., and Dr. Jim O’Neill; Increase in Residency Positions, Dr. Fred Kirchner; and Academic Strategic Plan, Dr. Steven Gabbe.

NIH ranking increase

Vanderbilt University Medical Center continues to maintain its position among the leading academic medical centers in the United States in terms of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

Vanderbilt was ranked 21st out of the 125 U.S. medical schools in 2001 in funding from NIH grants, a four-position increase from 2000’s 24th ranking. VUMC’s department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics was ranked No. 1 in the country, up three slots from 2000. The department of Anatomy (Cell and Developmental Biology) was ranked No. 5.

“This is a significant increase,” said Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, dean of the School of Medicine.

On Monday at the Spring Faculty Meeting, Gabbe linked the NIH rankings with the School of Medicine’s five-year strategic plan to move up in the national rankings of U.S. medical schools; his goal is for Vanderbilt to be in the top 10 by 2010.

The biggest single difference between Vanderbilt and other top schools like Harvard and Johns Hopkins, Gabbe said, is NIH research dollars.

“Increasing our research dollars is critical in our goal to be ranked in the top 10 U.S. medical schools,” Gabbe said.

The Department of Medicine led the Medical Center in monetary awards from the NIH. The department, ranked 18th last year, moved to 12th this year with 135 grants totaling more than $55 million.

“The Department of Medicine is very fortunate to have such a productive group of investigators,” said Dr. Eric G. Neilson, Hugh Jackson Morgan Professor and Chairman of Medicine. “The excitement in the department and for our trainees has to be for the new intellectual diversity of our research portfolio and what it can mean to training future physician-scientists and graduate students.”

More than $130 million was awarded to VUMC last year from the NIH. In all, 19 departments were listed in the 2001 NIH rankings. They include Cell and Development Biology; Anesthesiology; Biochemistry; Medicine; Microbiology and Immunology; Neurology; Ob/Gyn; Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation; Otolaryngology; Pathology; Pediatrics; Pharmacology; Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; Psychiatry; Preventive Medicine; Radiology and Radiological Sciences; and Surgical Sciences.

Award recipients

Following Gabbe’s presentation, the faculty teaching awards were presented.

Recipients of the Faculty Teaching Awards in the School of Medicine were:

• Dr. Alice C. Coogan, associate professor of Pathology, for teaching medical or graduate students or practicing physicians in the small group setting.

• Dr. Jacek Hawiger, Oswald T. Avery Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology, for innovation in educational programming that has proven effective.

• Dr. Gerald B. Hickson, professor of Pediatrics, for teaching medical or graduate students or practicing physicians in the lecture setting.

• Lawrence J. Marnett, Ph.D., Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research, for mentoring postdoctoral fellows and/or residents in the research setting.

• Neil Osheroff, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry and Medicine, for mentoring graduate and/or medical students in the research setting.

• Dr. John L. Tarpley, professor of Surgery, for teaching medical students, residents, and/or fellows in the clinical setting.

Recipients of the Faculty Teaching Awards in the School of Nursing were:

• Susan M. Adams, MSN, RN, assistant professor of Nursing, specialty director, psychiatric/mental health nursing, for teaching in the lecture and/or small group setting.

• Theresa Inott, MSN, RN, instructor in Clinical Nursing, for teaching in the clinical setting.

• Carolyn Bess, DSN, RN, associate professor of Nursing, academic level director, RN prespecialty, for educational innovation that has made a significant contribution to excellence in teaching and learning.

Recipients of the Faculty Reserach Awards were:

• The Stanley Cohen Award—Richard M. Caprioli, Ph.D., Stanley Cohen Professor of Biochemistry.

• The Grant W. Liddle Award—Dr. James E. Loyd, professor of Medicine.

• The Charles R. Park Award—Tadashi Inagami, D.Sc., Ph.D., Stanford Moore Professor of Biochemistry.

• The William J. Darby Award—Peter Buerhaus, Ph.D., Valere Potter Professor of Nursing and senior associate dean for Research, School of Nursing.

• The Ernest W. Goodpasture Award—Dr. Sergio Fazio, associate professor of Medicine and Pathology, and Dr. MacRae F. Linton, associate professor of Medicine and Pharmacology.

• The John H. Exton Award—Jackie D. Corbin, Ph.D., professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

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