Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
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.
Hellman S. Tales of the Unnatural: Return From the Dean(d). JAMA. 1998;280(19):1657-1658. doi:10.1001/jama.280.19.1657