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Duke Med School Has a Real Dean - Maybe We Should Try This At Minnesota?

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Duke Medical School Dean Nancy Andrews

From the Durham Herald Sun:

DURHAM -- The dean of the Duke University School of Medicine said today that leadership in difficult economic times, and any time, takes collaboration. Dean Nancy Andrews spoke with Duke Chapel Dean Sam Wells Tuesday afternoon at the Duke Clinic as part of the deans' dialogue series.

Andrews said the medical school has two worlds -- the health system, where the majority of faculty work, and the medical school, which is dealing with the same financial issues as the rest of the university. The health system is relatively healthy financially, she said, but there is stress, including the impact of impending health care reform. Andrews also noted that the National Institutes of Health budget has been flat and medical school research is driven by federal funding.

She gets the most pleasure from her work by watching people develop in their careers, whether students or faculty. She also loves clinical research. She stopped practicing clinical medicine to be able to spend time in her lab, teaching and work as an administrator.

"My dessert at the end of a long day is thinking about the research lab," she said. Andrews loves to hear about clinical research, she said.

Wells asked Andrews about her role as a female leader. She said that she, like some other women, has been underestimated and felt invisible in the workplace. She hopes that is changing, she said, because all kinds of leadership and talent needs to be drawn from a larger pool than in the past.

Andrews said she has learned the most about leadership by listening to people.

"I can't just be seeing things through my own eyes. I need a bigger picture," she said.

Andrews said that leading during difficult economic times means being aware that the economy is affecting people different ways, at home and work.

"Ultimately what I'm most worried about is helping people see the strength in this organization," she said. Andrews thinks the down time of the economy will last longer than people anticipate, and it is important to come together.

The economy "makes us think of things that don't cost money," she said. "Our greatest resource is the people we've got here -- it's not the money. In a way, that's the silver lining."

Andrews hopes her legacy at Duke is helping people improve health and make scientific breakthroughs. When faced with a problem, she said, you roll up your sleeves and do the best you can. When the best isn't the right thing, it's time to change course and do better, she said. Andrews said being a leader means promoting the work of others, not just yourself.

Leadership matters. We need a full-time dean at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Right now we have a part-time dean and a gaggle of vice-deans. Given the economic and political turmoil we face at the medical school, this is unsatisfactory. I have yet to talk to a senior faculty member who does not agree that we need a full-time dean.

Frank? Bob?

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