October 27, 2000

Gabbe selected as 10th Dean of Medical School

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Dr. Steven G. Gabbe selected as 10th Dean of Medical School.

Gabbe selected as 10th Dean of Medical School

Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, one of the most respected academic perinatologists in the United States and a member of the Institute of Medicine, has been named Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Gabbe, currently professor and chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, will assume the position in March.

“For more than 30 years, Dr. Steven Gabbe has proven that he is an outstanding educator, scientist and clinician,” said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “In recent years he has turned his interest toward medical education and graduate medical education and has shown remarkable talent in those areas. We look forward to the incredible talents that Dr. Gabbe will bring to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.”

Gabbe, one of the world’s leading experts on diabetes and pregnancy, joined the University of Washington faculty in July 1996 where he is the only department chair to receive the distinguished teaching award from graduating medical students. Previously, he was professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, where he was the only department chair to receive the Professor of the Year Award from graduating medical students.

At Ohio State, he assumed several administrative responsibilities, including service on the College of Medicine Strategic Planning Committee, chair of committees on appointment and promotion and chair of the planning process for a new research building for the College of Medicine. At the University of Washington, he has served on the clinical management committee, the most important committee at the medical school, overseeing education and research. Most recently, as a member of the National Institute of Medicine, he has interacted with academic leaders on a national level and looks forward to participating in the IOM’s committees.

His background encompasses both clinical and research experience. His research interests include prenatal diagnosis using ultrasound, the assessment of fetal well being, premature labor, and the complications of childbirth. He is the author of 127 peer-reviewed papers, 93 abstracts, 71 chapters and nine books.

He is the senior editor of “Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies,” a major textbook now in its fourth edition, is immediate past president of the Council of University Chairs of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is the current president of the 220-member American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society. Gabbe also chairs the Maternal Fetal Medicine Research Network of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The network oversees the development of research projects at 13 academic centers with more than 90,000 deliveries each year

Gabbe replaces Dean John E. Chapman, who has graduated 3,317 medical students (nearly two-thirds of the living graduates) during his tenure as dean over the past 25 years. Chapman announced last year that he would leave the dean’s post to assume the post of associate vice chancellor for Medical Alumni Affairs once a new dean was named.

“I wish I could start tomorrow,” Gabbe said during a telephone interview on Tuesday, the day before his appointment was announced jointly at the University of Washington and Vanderbilt. “Vanderbilt is such an incredible institution with such great people. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about what’s ahead.”

Born in Newark, N.J., in 1944, Gabbe is a graduate of Princeton University and Cornell University Medical College. He was a resident and fellow at the Boston Hospital for Women and a research and clinical fellow at Harvard University; he has served on the faculties of the University of Southern California, Ohio State University and the University of Pennsylvania.

He and his wife, Dr. Patricia C. Temple, a pediatrician with experience in managed care administration, are the parents of four children: Adam, 30, a rancher in central Oregon; Erica, 28, a prosecuting attorney in the Seattle area; Amanda, 28, with the Kroger company in Columbus, Ohio; and Daniel, 26, a recent graduate of the American Film Institute and an aspiring film editor. Adam and his wife, Jackie, have a child, five-month-old Alexander.

Gabbe said that although his academic administrative experience has prepared him well for being dean, it was not on his agenda when he began his career.

“But each step along the way increased my interest in education, training, research and practice at a broader level and helped prepare me for this appointment.”

When Gabbe assumes the dean’s position in March, there will be several items on his agenda.

“First of all, I’m going to come and be a student,” he said. “I’m going to learn as much as I can about the institution during my first year.”

His plans include encouraging broader opportunities for resident and fellow education and continuing medical education.

“I certainly want to emphasize medical student education, as Dean Chapman has, but I also want to broaden the focus to include graduate education.”

Gabbe is also interested in translational research, applying what is learned in basic science laboratories to clinical practice. He will also encourage interdisciplinary clinical research.

“Much of my own work in obstetrics and gynecology has been done in cooperation with internists, ophthalmologists, nurses, endocrinologists and neonatologists.”

Gabbe becomes only the 10th dean of VUSM since the school was founded in 1875.

Gabbe compared following in Chapman’s footsteps to the replacement of Vince Lombardi, NFL’s winningest coach.

“These are huge shoes to fill but I can learn so much from Dean Chapman. I’m just so pleased that he has been so supportive. It’s meant a lot to me that the person who’s led the medical school for the past 25 years has been so kind to me.”