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Nancy Angoff named associate dean for student affairs

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1998 - Fall


Nancy R. Angoff, M.P.H. ’81, M.D. ’90, H.S. ’90-93, an
assistant clinical professor of medicine who began her career in medicine after raising a family and working as a teacher and guidance counselor, has been named associate dean for student affairs.

Dr. Angoff specializes in treatment of patients with HIV and will continue to see patients at the Nathan Smith Clinic. She joined the faculty in 1993 after completing her residency here. She obtained a degree in public health from Yale in 1981 and her medical degree, also from Yale, in 1990. She has served as course director of integrative clinical medicine, chaired a working group on death and dying, co-chaired a working group on end-of-life care and co-taught a course in medical ethics at the divinity school. She has been an attending physician at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Nathan Smith Clinic.

In 1990 she received the Miriam Kathleen Dasey Award, presented to the student who, by strength of character, personal integrity and academic achievement, gives promise of fulfilling the ideal of the compassionate physician. Highly regarded for her clinical knowledge and compassionate treatment of patients, she has three times received the Meyer Etkind Prize, awarded by house staff to the physician who embodies those qualities.

“Like many Yale students her background is not traditional,” said Dean David A. Kessler, M.D., as he announced Dr. Angoff’s appointment at a luncheon for second-year students in September. “She was a working mother when she went to medical school and did her residency. She knows Yale from the inside out, from a number of different vantage points—as a student, as a resident, as a practitioner, as a teacher.”

In her remarks after Dr. Kessler’s announcement, Dr. Angoff described her path to medicine. “I grew up,” she said, “at a time and in a family when women didn’t become doctors. They married doctors but they didn’t become doctors. I was told that I should become a teacher, that I would have something to fall back on when my kids were in school.”

She graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1968 and received a master’s degree in education from the University of Cincinnati in 1971. Although she started out in education, her interest in medicine led her into public health in 1981. A few years later a lunchtime conversation with a colleague provided the spark for her career in medicine. When her colleague asked what she truly wanted to do, Dr. Angoff said she wanted to study medicine, then ticked off a list of obstacles. “I was too old. It cost too much money. I had kids. I had never taken a science course in my life,” Dr. Angoff recalled telling her colleague, who answered, “You haven’t told me one reason why you can’t.” Her husband, Ronald Angoff, M.D., a pediatrician on Yale’s clinical faculty, also encouraged her medical studies.

Dr. Angoff’s appointment concludes an internal search that began earlier this year when the duties of Robert H. Gifford, M.D., H.S. ’67, then associate dean for medical education and student affairs, were divided into two jobs. Dr. Gifford became the school’s first deputy dean for education on July 1. As associate dean for student affairs, Dr. Angoff handles student needs and concerns. Her duties include counseling, writing recommendation letters for students, organizing events such as Match Day and Commencement, working with student organizations and handling disciplinary problems.

“From the moment I set foot here I have been devoted to this place. It’s an incredible institution. It’s home for me,” she told students, who greeted her appointment with a standing ovation. “If I can help any of you to love medicine as much as I do, I will have fulfilled my duty.”

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