April 4, 2003

Gabbe lauds School of Medicine’s advances at Spring Faculty Meeting

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Dean Steven G. Gabbe jokes at the Spring Faculty Meeting Tuesday with a visual aid from this year’s Cadaver Ball where he dressed as Kermit the Frog during a skit. (photo by Anne Rayner Pollo)

Gabbe lauds School of Medicine’s advances at Spring Faculty Meeting

Lauding the advances made throughout the year, Dean Steven G. Gabbe was optimistic about the School of Medicine’s future — especially the “10 by ‘10” goal he announced last year to catapult Vanderbilt into the top 10 medical schools as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. (Editor’s note: at the time of meeting, the 2003 magazine rankings had not been released.)

Gabbe, speaking to the faculty at the 2003 Spring Faculty Meeting Tuesday in Light Hall, highlighted the strides made by the School of Medicine in 2002.

Progress has been made across the board as basic and clinical research is growing, top students and faculty are being recruited, the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance is expanding, and funding is increasing through the clinical enterprise, philanthropy and technology transfer.

The top medical students in the nation are continuing to seek admission at Vanderbilt. The average grade point average for the incoming Class of 2007 is 3.78 with an average MCAT score of 11.1. Of the 3,507 applicants, only 231 have been accepted. By May 15, however, the final decision day, about 150 students will have asked Vanderbilt to hold a spot for them in the class of 104.

The incoming class will also be the most diverse, according to Gabbe. The largest number of underrepresented minority students applied (290), were interviewed (69) and admitted (27). Gabbe attributed this particular advance to the newly created Office for Diversity in Medical Education led by George Hill, Ph.D., associate dean for Diversity. At this time, the class is also comprised of more women than men, with women outranking men, 56 percent to 44 percent. This is the first time in the school’s history that women outnumbered men in an incoming class.

The grading system at the School of Medicine is also changing. The school is implementing a pass/fail system — a move Gabbe hopes will eliminate student pressure and promote content learning.

Resident recruitment is also improving at Vanderbilt. Last year 126 students matched at Vanderbilt with 34 from top 25 medical schools in the country, or 26 percent. Of this group, 25 were from Vanderbilt. In 2003 134 students matched at Vanderbilt with 44 from the top 25 schools, or 33 percent. This group of 44 included 21 students from Vanderbilt and 23 from other top 25 medical schools.

Research funding is also up dramatically at Vanderbilt. Funding has increased from 1998’s $135 million to $238 million in 2002.

Vanderbilt is the third fastest growing program in the nation in terms of increased NIH funding from 1998 to 2001, with an increase of more than 18 percent. The Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, led by Dr. G. Roger Chalkley, has more than tripled in 10 years from 153 students in 1992 to 403 students in 2002.

Faculty recruitment is another way Vanderbilt is leading the nation, according to Gabbe. This year, two departmental chairs were filled — Dr. Paul Sternberg is the new chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Dr. Sam Santoro was named Pathology chair. Searches are under way to fill the chair in Psychiatry and vice chair position in Biostatistics.

“Our progress has been excellent,” Gabbe said. “It has been and continues to be a privilege to be part of this faculty and to be your dean.”

Gabbe attributed the success to a collaborative at Vanderbilt. “What makes us different from other schools is collaboration among the departments and with the university,” he said. “We are only going to accomplish our goal if we work together.”