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Special Millennium Article
January 2000

What I Learned From Being a Dermatologist as Chancellor

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Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(1):87. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.1.87

In July 1994, after 20 years as chief of dermatology at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan, the position of chancellor of the medical sciences campus became available, and I had the privilege of being appointed. The next day, I had the responsibility for 9 deans and 34 chiefs of departments, including the dean of medicine. One of the first memories that came to my mind was a moment at the beginning of my career in dermatology when I had an interaction with the vice chief of medicine at the San Juan Veterans Administration Hospital. On the yearly faculty evaluation form, I put my name in the section that asks for a particular physician who is capable of being chief of staff of the Veterans Administration Hospital. The vice chief of medicine, with the consent of the chief of medicine, answered no, and I, of course, asked why. He answered, "Because you are a dermatologist," which surprised me. He also remained firm in that view despite my objection. The recall of that incident became my first lesson as chancellor: leadership does not belong to any branch of medicine but to the individuals.

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