December 10, 1999

German to help guide national policies on medical student affairs

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Dr. Deborah German

German to help guide national policies on medical student affairs

Dr. Deborah C. German, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, has been named the national vice-chair of the Group on Student Affairs (GSA) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

She was elected by her peers from the other 124 medical schools in the United States and will serve as vice-chair this year. She will become chair-elect next year, then finally chair of the committee that oversees functions of the admissions offices, student records, counseling programs, issues of promotion, residency applications and medical school testing such as the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE).

Serving on national committees is not new to German, who joined the faculty in 1988. She has led the southern region of the AAMC's GSA.

She also serves on other national committees. She is the AAMC representative to the National Board Liaison committee, which looks at how U.S. medical licensing exams meet the needs of medical students and medical schools. In the past year, the exam has become computerized and is given at Sylvan Learning Centers across the country. She was also recently placed on the National Committee on Admissions of the AAMC and on the National Task Force on Integrating Education and Patient Care.

German said the AAMC position is a tremendous opportunity to become involved in issues that affect medical students, residents and faculty and to make a difference at not only Vanderbilt but the other 124 medical schools as well.

"I am honored to have been selected by my peers to fill this leadership role for the next three years," German said.

She has also been instrumental in developing a new program, the medical careers counseling program (Med Careers), that was piloted at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. It is a comprehensive counseling program now offered for medical students at all institutions during their four years of medical school to help them become more familiar with the possibilities of specialization and primary care.

German is president of another national group — the Society for Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine. The group is putting together an educational program that will contribute to the advancement of faculty at academic medical centers nationally. One goal is to encourage faculty to pursue careers of leadership in academic settings.

German said it is an exciting and important time for medical education.

"As we come to the end of the 20th century, one of the burning issues of medical education is how to fund an academic center and its teaching mission in an atmosphere of financial constraints. The 21st century will bring opportunities associated with the advances of technology. We will seek new innovations to solve old problems," she said.

"Medical schools and medical educators need to balance their interest in the students with their interest in their faculty. Without an excellent faculty, we can't properly educate medical students. So in this leadership role with the group on student affairs, we will find ways that incorporate new technology with old fashioned doctoring to help faculty to continue to teach while maintaining excellence in patient care and research," German said.