November 19, 2004

Rodgers named new assistant dean for Medical Student Affairs

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Scott Rodgers, M.D., is the new assistant dean for Medical Student Affairs.
photo by Dana Johnson

Rodgers named new assistant dean for Medical Student Affairs

Scott Rodgers, M.D., a psychiatrist in the division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, has been appointed assistant dean for Medical Student Affairs, effective January 1, 2005. He will replace Bonnie Miller, M.D., who is vacating the position to serve in the new office of Medical Education as associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education.

“I look forward to working with the students,” Rodgers said. “I think the students at Vanderbilt are brilliant. They are inspiring to me — eager and enthusiastic to become great doctors. I find student interactions to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of teaching, and I'm excited to be in a role where I can help them achieve their career goals.”

Rodgers joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2000 as assistant professor of Psychiatry and took on the additional responsibilities of directing the second-year psychiatry course, directing the third-year medical student clerkship in psychiatry, and heading up the Pediatric Consultation/Liaison Service. He said it was his experience working with the students that attracted him to the assistant dean position.

“Teaching, or working with students in some capacity, has always been important to me,” Rodgers said. “Through my teaching experiences at Vanderbilt, I have been able to get to know many students over the years, and one of the things I enjoy most is counseling them as they approach residency selection. Obviously, I have been more involved in the past with those students choosing residencies in psychiatry, but this new position will allow me to expand my work with students to include all the specialties, and I am very eager to get started.”

Rodgers is in the process of transitioning from a practice consisting of more than 300 patients — mostly children and adolescents — to spending only one-half day in clinical care. As a Master Clinical Teacher, he will also continue working on the Clinical Transaction Project one-half day a week. It will be an adjustment, he said, but he's easing into his new role by spending some time in Light Hall, getting to know the students and learning under Miller.

“Like her predecessors, Dean Miller has continued the tradition of excellence in this office.” Rodgers said. “Luckily, I'll be working closely with Dean Miller, and I hope to maintain the high standards she has kept.”

Rodgers does know what its like to be a Vanderbilt medical student. After earning a B.S. in Zoology and a B.A. in German Literature from Duke University, he taught science at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta. Then he came to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1990 as a Justin Potter Scholar.

“This is a medical school where teaching and mentoring are valued,” Rodgers said. “I know our faculty takes medical student education very seriously, and I can attest to the fact that students feel listened to and cared for while they're here.”

After earning his medical degree in 1994, Rodgers went on to serve an internship in Pediatrics, a residency in Psychiatry, and a residency in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. There he was chief resident in the Acute Psychiatry Service, as well as chief resident in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

“I am sure Scott will be wonderful with the students, and I think he brings strengths that will be very helpful in this position,” Miller said. “He is easy to talk to, creative and has already developed some great plans to get to know the students.”

Miller said that while she will miss working closely with students, she's excited about her new role.

“I see it as a major challenge,” she said. “In February, the School of Medicine sponsored a major curriculum retreat to consider the needs of physicians in the 21st century, and to consider the optimum medical school curriculum to address those needs. Over the next several years, we will work towards building that program, while maintaining Vanderbilt's great strengths. We plan to study the outcomes of our programs, just as we study outcomes of patient care, to make sure that they are accomplishing what we intend.”

The Office of Medical Education will be a means of supporting the medical programs, performing educational research, incorporating curricular change, and measuring the effects of these changes. The office is currently in the process of appointing a director and will be hiring technical staff as needed in the future.

A new Learning Center will also fall under the office, which is expected to be open in the fall of 2006.

“This center will house a standardized patient program, which help students learn how to perform patient interviews and exams, as well as simulators, which will teach students how to respond in critical situations,” Miller said.

The Office of Medical Education will also supply support to graduate medical education and continuing medical education for house staff and faculty development.

“We want to ensure students are getting the best educational experience and foster an environment of continuing education,” Miller said.