February 18, 2005

Gabbe outlines goals for Medical School

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Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, delivered his State of the Medical School Address this week at Langford Auditorium.
photo by Anne Rayner

Gabbe outlines goals for Medical School

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students gathered in Langford Auditorium Tuesday evening for the second annual State of the Medical School Address delivered by Steven G. Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine.

In his address, Gabbe focused on the school's mission and the steps being taken to achieve these goals.

“Our mission for the School of Medicine is a very simple one,” Gabbe said. “That is to have the best students, educated by the best faculty, in the best environment, to become the best physicians and scientists. This is what I think about when I go to bed at night and when I get up in the morning.”

Gabbe said the school was working to recruit the best students through an effective admissions and recruiting process, by providing applicants with the information they need on the front end, creating a memorable second visit weekend, and providing a diverse environment.

“It is extremely important for us to establish a diverse environment,” he said, “because that is the best environment for us to work and train together.”

Also important, Gabbe said, is ensuring the school offers a high-quality, relevant curriculum. He highlighted the curriculum revisions that are under way: enhancing integration between the basic and clinical science curriculum, introducing “core” professional skills in the first year and throughout the four-year curriculum, and developing a fourth year capstone curriculum that focuses on basic-clinical science integration.

Having the best faculty members also factors into being the best medical school. Gabbe said that being competitive in the recruitment market, providing programs to continually develop faculty members, celebrating successes and sustaining a collaborative environment were steps toward this goal.

He noted this year's key recruits, such as Sten H. Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., Amos Christie Chair in Global Health; Nancy E. Chescheir, M.D., chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Daniel R. Masys, M.D., chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics. Gabbe also pointed out the importance of retaining faculty members, and named several who have remained at Vanderbilt despite having been recruited by other institutions.

“In each case, one of the main reasons they decided to stay here was our collaborative environment,” Gabbe said. “They felt that the opportunity to work here and work very closely with faculty in an environment that supported their activities was more important, often times, than more financial support at another institution.”

An environment that fosters the best in both research and clinical learning is important for both recruiting and retaining the best students. Gabbe said this means creating outstanding research training programs, establishing interdisciplinary centers, offering essential support systems and providing state of the art research space.

It also means being a leader in patient safety and fostering a service culture, he said.

In closing, Gabbe said that he is confident that the school will meet its goals and objectives through the efforts of its students and faculty.

“I want to tell you once again what a privilege it is to be the dean of this medical school. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't meet someone or hear about something we're doing that makes me even happier to be here,” Gabbe said.