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A Piece of My Mind
November 18, 1998

Tales of the Unnatural: Return From the Dean(d)

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;280(19):1657-1658. doi:10.1001/jama.280.19.1657

It has been 5 years since I stepped down as dean/vice president for a medical center after serving in that position for the same duration and thus having exceeded the 3½-year average tenure for medical school deans since 1980. Allowing this time to pass has provided me an opportunity to develop a more nuanced perspective on the position of leader of an academic medical center. I had been cautioned about accepting a deanship by a number of colleagues including a former dean/VP (for brevity I will use the term dean to describe this position). Perhaps the most poignant caution came when one of my colleagues pointed out that the word dean is but one letter from dead. While the implications of that comment have not turned out to have been realized, it was a very near thing.

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