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State of the Department of Medicine address reviews achievement, challenges

Jun. 14, 2018, 8:32 AM

Nancy Brown, MD, delivers last week’s State of the Department of Medicine address in Langford Auditorium. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Nancy Brown, MD, Hugh J. Morgan Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, delivered a mixture of accolades and challenges to the dozens of faculty members, residents and fellows who attended her annual State of the Department address last week in Langford Auditorium.

Among the good news: Vanderbilt’s internal medicine program ranked 10th best in the country in the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings.

The department also ranked second among the nation’s departments of medicine in terms of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its diverse research portfolio totals $260 million.

In other announcements, Cecelia Theobald, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Medicine, has succeeded Shubhada Jagasia, MD, MMHC, professor of Medicine, as vice chair for Clinical Affairs for the department. Last month Jagasia was named chief of staff for Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital and Clinics.

Among challenges facing the department, Brown acknowledged concerns among physicians that the demands of electronic health records, automated clinical support systems and other technologies can impinge on the time they can spend at the bedside.

“A lot of how we handle this depends upon us,” she said. “We are advocating very hard for systems that will help lessen this burden.”

Brown ended her talk by quoting an unnamed faculty member who was recently a patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and who was immensely impressed by the care he received. “Personalized medicine at Vanderbilt extends beyond the hope of individualized therapy tailored to one’s genetics,” she read.

“Personalized medicine must permeate every aspect of our clinical practices at the bedside, our mannerisms, our words, our touch, our willingness to put the patient interaction above the check boxes and our absolute commitment to optimize the patient’s experience while achieving the best clinical outcome,” the statement concluded.

“This is what it’s all about,” Brown said. “We have to stay focused on what it is we do and our values. You do that very well and I’m very proud to be part of the department.”

The meeting concluded with the presentation of teaching awards and other recognitions by each of the department’s divisions.

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