With his appointment as deputy dean for clinical affairs in February, David J. Leffell, M.D., HS ’86, continues a task he began almost 10 years ago, when he added a new portfolio to his work in the clinic and laboratory. As associate dean for clinical affairs and director of what was then called the Yale Faculty Practice, Leffell sought to improve the business side of medicine. The faculty practice is now the Yale Medical Group (YMG), where recent surveys show improved patient satisfaction, as well as areas where improvement is needed. Most importantly, the YMG has begun to introduce changes in the practice of medicine, helping it move outside traditional departmental boundaries into interdisciplinary, disease-based teams that include researchers as well as physicians.

“Because our knowledge of disease is so much more refined, we understand that solutions to illness are not limited to a particular organ in which the disease is expressed,” said Leffell, who will oversee the growth and development of the clinical practice. Among his goals are strengthening ties between clinical care and medical research and spreading the word about Yale’s faculty expertise. He also hopes to improve the clinical infrastructure by making it easier for patients to make appointments and by ensuring close communications between referring physicians and specialists.

“To teach medical students to be doctors of the 21st century, to take care of patients with new technology and medications of the 21st century, you have to have a clinical practice of the 21st century,” Leffell said.