A message from the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs

Dear Alumni,

Fall is a beautiful time to be a medical student at Penn State Hershey. Since this is my first fall at the College, I thought I would invite you to enjoy it with me by revisiting memories of the campus that was around you during your time in medical school. The cornfields are turning dry and brown. Nights are cool now. The hills are still green and lush, but there is a whisper of color. Looking around the campus, I think you would be surprised how familiar it feels, and yet how different it is.

Amid the familiarity of the Hershey campus we know so well, healthcare is changing; students are changing; and medical education is changing. The same pioneering spirit that founded the College continues to keep it on the cutting edge of education in a world where healthcare is evolving and its destination is unpredictable.

Penn State College of Medicine is among the schools that are leading the call to realign medical education with the current and developing system of care delivery and patient needs. With the awarding of a five-year, $1 million grant from the American Medical Association, we are bringing leaders from across our healthcare system to the medical education design table and asking them to participate in curriculum development. This collaboration between systems leaders and education leaders will help students to learn and participate in authentic systems-level healthcare activities, working as individuals and as members of teams, communities and systems. We need to develop physicians who 1) are comfortable in addressing uncertainty; 2) consider the best use of finite resources at individual and group levels; 3) monitor efficiency, safety and quality; and 4) understand the impact of systems of care on patients and patient outcomes.

By looking around the campus in autumn we can find strength in the familiar and inspiration to take on new challenges in education and healthcare. This is what the College of Medicine has always done. This is what it continues to do. You have given us big shoes to fill. We accept the challenge of continuing the work you have begun.

In closing, please accept my warmest thanks for the welcome and support you have given me as Vice Dean, and for your commitment to our students and to our College.

Terry Wolpaw, MD, MHPE
Professor of Medicine
Vice Dean for Educational Affairs