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Buckley named director of Medical Innovators Development Program

Jun. 13, 2022, 8:00 AM

by Kathy Whitney

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Medical Innovators Development Program (MIDP), which trains candidates through a four-year, innovation-centered MD curriculum, has been revised to grow the program in both enrollment and scope.

The program also has a new director in Ryan Buckley, MD. Buckley, assistant professor of Clinical Medicine in the Section of Hospital Medicine, will take the helm from founding director Reed Omary, MD, MS, on July 1.

Ryan Buckley, MD

The MIDP, which previously was open only to applicants with a PhD in engineering or applied sciences, will now accept applications from any incoming medical student interested in making a career out of health care innovation. This affords the opportunity to include more students from diverse educational backgrounds and to expand the number of students learning how to innovate in health care, said Omary, Carol D. & Henry P. Pendergrass Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Buckley has been an active member of the MIDP leadership team for two years and teaches MIDP’s IDEA Lab course. His experience has helped generate opportunities for medical students to win startup capital for their burgeoning businesses and explore the possibilities of creating companies as a career trajectory.

Buckley has been integral to developing the MIDP curriculum, serves on the MIDP admissions committee and as a co-course director for the Foundations of Healthcare Delivery longitudinal program.

“Innovation is ultimately about people — bringing people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives together to find new ways to alleviate the pain and suffering of others,” Buckley said. “VUSM students bring an unbelievable diversity of impressive creative skillsets and experiences into medical school. They’re entrepreneurs, designers, artists, activists, programmers, and myriad other things on top of being scientists.

“It’s a dream job to coach these students as they tackle what we call ‘wicked problems’ — those so messy and convoluted that most view them as impossible to solve. Medicine is full of wicked problems that have plagued the health of people, communities and our society for decades. The more wicked the problem, the more excited MIDP students are to dive in. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Students in the MIDP enroll in the full four-year MD curriculum at VUSM, but take an innovation-focused path. Through intensive design-thinking training and applied experiences in industry, students graduate from the MIDP fully equipped to:

  • Identify existing clinical problems at the health systems level.
  • Translate engineering principles into solutions that improve your patients’ well-being.
  • Navigate the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the patent process.
  • Bridge the gap between academia, industry and health care.
  • Become a leader in medical technology innovation.

“I’m thrilled that we will be able to expand the reach of our innovation program to more medical students,” said Donald Brady, MD, senior associate dean of Health Sciences Education. “I so appreciate the leadership that Dr. Omary and his team demonstrated in getting us to this point, and Dr. Buckley is bringing an enthusiasm and entrepreneurial mindset to MIDP that will help take the program to the next level. It truly is a unique program in the medical education landscape.”

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