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July 17, 2023

To the YSM Community:

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. Although we will share the content of many of the talks in departmental meetings and town halls later in the year, the discussion was so rich that I wanted to provide a summary and links to relevant resources here.

John Tsang, inaugural director of the Yale Center for Systems & Engineering Immunology (CSEI), opened the retreat with an overview of his research and this nascent center. The center will recruit both existing and new faculty and trainees from diverse disciplines to develop systems and synthetic biology approaches to study and engineer the immune system, with a major focus on connecting the state of the immune system to physiological function of organs in health and disease. By understanding how immune cells act as sensors, John envisions that one can “engineer synthetic immune cells with homing, signal detection, recording, and actuation capacities for disease detection and modulation.” Stay tuned and reach out to John if you are interested in learning more and collaborating with CSEI.

David Coleman, interim director of Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI), shared ongoing work to enhance the efficiency and service offered by the center. Faculty advisory groups are providing critical input, and the center will soon be issuing a request for application (RFA) for new deputy and associate directors. YCCI is participating in efforts to realize the vision for a single IRB across YSM and YNHHS and is planning to implement a prospective protocol feasibility review process to improve the successful completion of research studies. With this process, studies of trainees and junior faculty would be prioritized for funding support. Those of you who are interested in becoming more involved in clinical and translational research leadership, watch out for that RFA.

Lucila Ohno-Machado, deputy dean for biomedical informatics, updated the group on efforts to enhance research data access and information services at YSM. She emphasized the need to develop better data governance to remove barriers to researchers while enhancing efficient, secure, and compliant ways to analyze sensitive data. She is working with department leadership to embed informatics directors in departments, who have domain-specific knowledge of research and clinical concepts, data, and workflow, and who will partner with biomedical informatics faculty who have expertise in predictive analytics and other AI methods. Lucila is also working with the library to streamline data collections and develop training and self-service tools for simple data summarization.

Amy Blanchard, director of Research Cores, gave an exciting presentation on efforts to advance core services and quality, which include standardization of core positions. Faculty advisory committees and user satisfaction surveys have led to new equipment and expertise in mass spectrometry and proteomics, and investments in new technology. Research cores and services are listed here.

Jessica Illuzzi, deputy dean for education, reviewed the YSM Strategic Plan for Medical Education. The school has identified the first 18 longitudinal coaches from among more than 50 faculty nominees, who will assist medical students in establishing their own goals and in tracking their progress in reaching the milestones for each of the nine YSM competencies in each new phase of the curriculum. To foster community among our students, we are launching six new advising colleges in the fall. Each college will include advisors and coaches, medical students, PA students, faculty, trainees, alumni, and community liaisons.

Keith Choate, associate dean for physician scientist development, summarized the experience with the Faculty Development Annual Questionnaire (FDAQ) during its first year of full implementation. As of June, 86% of faculty had completed their FDAQ and 72% of those had met with their chair or section chief. Faculty rated the quality of the feedback they received 4.54 on a five-point scale.

Darin Latimore, deputy dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, shared departmental progress in meeting their goals related to the DEI strategic plan. Seventeen clinical departments measured their outreach efforts by tracking the proportion of residency and fellowship applicants who were underrepresented or women. Fifteen clinical departments and seven basic science departments tracked the proportion of faculty search applicants. Several departments have developed a catalogue of career advancing national leadership positions and honorifics for which they will sponsor faculty. Others tracked career development opportunities to which they were nominating faculty.

I hope this summary conveys that there are many good things happening. I also hope you will explore the embedded links related to your interests. We will continue these and other discussions throughout the year during departmental meetings, town halls, and ongoing meetings of the Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) and YSM Executive Group. As a reminder, FAC minutes and summaries of Executive Group meeting discussions are available to the YSM community online. Please feel free to reach out with your thoughts about these or other issues of strategic importance to our school.


Nancy J. Brown, MD
Jean and David W. Wallace Dean of Medicine
C.N.H. Long Professor of Internal Medicine