Yale School of Medicine should be an academic home where women and underrepresented in medicine (URiM) faculty, staff, and students thrive, and where diversity and excellence are inextricably linked.
Beyond Sterling Hall
Department chairs, deputy deans, Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS), and university leaders once again gathered in June to reflect on the direction of our school and academic health system.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with participants in the Advanced Emerging Leaders Program, a leadership program developed through a collaboration between Yale Medicine (YM) and the Yale School of Management.
During our recent Yale School of Medicine (YSM) department town halls, we have been discussing the progress on our journey to closer alignment between YSM and Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS).
In the coming months, we will learn the Supreme Court decisions regarding race-conscious considerations in undergraduate admissions in the cases of Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. We need not wait for these decisions to reaffirm the strong commitment of Yale School of Medicine (YSM) to diversity and inclusive excellence.
In March, we articulated our commitment to align Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS) and Yale School of Medicine (YSM) to realize our full potential as one of the nation’s premier academic health systems. The imperative for increased alignment stems from our recognition that we must put the needs of our patients first, above all other considerations. Today, our patients struggle to access our services and to understand and navigate our complex organizational structures. They deserve the best from us, and we are focused on creating and delivering this patient experience.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I cannot help but reflect on how grateful I am to be part of Yale School of Medicine. We are surrounded by extraordinary people who come together to advance the most compelling mission of caring for people while advancing knowledge and health.
Last week, Jewish members of our community marked Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. As someone who was raised in another faith and came to Judaism as an adult, I have often been struck by the power of the communal acknowledgement of shortcomings on Yom Kippur. Acknowledging one’s flaws together is intended to lead to a renewed commitment to repairing ourselves and our community. It is in this spirit that I share with you the results of a recent survey conducted at the medical school related to faculty, student, and staff engagement, inclusion, and belonging. The university will soon share the results of a university-wide faculty survey conducted in the fall of 2021.
Academic medicine is sometimes described as a three-legged stool, balanced on the legs of three missions–education, research, and clinical care. I would make the case that our stool has four legs, with the fourth being people development, encompassing not only the education of our students and trainees but also the career development of our faculty and staff. People development is about creating an environment where all can thrive, and it is the underpinning of our strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
It’s been a quiet month in Lake Wobegon… not so much in Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Nevertheless, in the third week of June, department chairs, deputy deans, Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS), and university leaders gathered off campus to reflect on the direction of our school and academic health system. Although we have convened before during the pandemic, this retreat felt different—like a homecoming and a new beginning at once.
As we anticipate (and even preview) the Supreme Court's decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, I want to take a moment to articulate the communication guidelines of the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) dean’s office and the rationale behind them.
Today, as we mark a leadership transition at Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS), we write as dean of Yale School of Medicine (YSM) and chief executive officer of YNHHS, to affirm our shared commitment to align further our two institutions to realize our full potential as one of the nation’s top academic health systems.
Earlier today, President Salovey, Provost Strobel, and I met with the faculty, students, and staff of Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) to share the plans for the search for a new dean and the decision to transition YSPH to become an independent, self-supporting school. We anticipate this transition will occur within a year of the appointment of the new dean.
February 1 marks my second anniversary at Yale. Two years ago, we published the first Beyond Sterling Hall, “Listening.” Since then, I have been buoyed by our listening sessions and continue to learn from you. I am humbled by your excellence and your commitment to your work. I am also continually reminded how difficult it is to communicate effectively
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has reminded us of the power of rigorous observation, critical thinking, and scientific discovery. We have witnessed how the application of basic discoveries made over many decades can culminate in the rapid development of vaccine technology. Lessons we have learned about the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 have shifted our understanding of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.
During this month of Thanksgiving 2021, I am drawn to reflect on the meaning of philanthropy. On October 2, Yale University unveiled the public phase of a $7 billion capital campaign. The title of the campaign, For Humanity, may seem like hubris to some. Rather it is meant to convey that the work we do here must have impact far beyond Yale. It captures the meaning of the word philanthropy, from the Greek “phil,” love, and “anthro,” human.
A couple of weekends ago, several people sent me this column by our faculty member and NY Times writer Lisa Sanders. There is so much to love about this story. In its telling, Dr. Sanders captures what it means to be a teaching hospital and academic health system. She celebrates the commitment of our faculty, staff, and trainees to the value of human life and the tenacity with which they ask questions and apply their diagnostic acumen in the pursuit of saving lives.
This story further reminds us of the centrality of our clinical work to the realization of all our missions. I do not simply mean that revenue from the clinical enterprise supports our education and research missions, although this is true. Rather, the story highlights the critical role of the hospital and clinic in teaching analytical thinking as well as diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to our undergraduate and graduate medical trainees. Clinical observations inform discovery, and the partnership between Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Health System enables us to offer our patients access to cutting edge diagnostics and therapies made possible by research.