First Message from Stan

photo of Stan Gerson

On July 1, I was honored to become your interim dean of the CWRU School of Medicine on an interim basis. I look forward to continuing much of the work that Dean Pamela Davis was leading as well as beginning new initiatives to deliver medical breakthroughs, train the next generation of physicians and scientists, and improve healthcare in our community and throughout the world.

As we combat the continuing onslaught of this pandemic, a cruel experiment of nature, COVID-19 continues to disrupt education and academic life—and most informal discourse across our campuses. Our robust research faculty and staff continue to confront and overcome new challenges daily to accomplish their important work, while our clinical faculty provide heroic care to patients under stressful conditions that have approached an all-hands-on-deck crisis. The dichotomy of bustling hospitals and active labs in contrast to empty offices and classrooms, virtual meetings and mask-wearing illustrate a demarcation of our courageous risk management and the individual exposures we experience to accomplish our mission.

I am thankful for how thoughtfully everyone is contributing to this restructured puzzle of medical care and research. As we await the return to a more normal work life, our COVID-19 response has been exemplary, as we have shifted our focus and applied our skills and new technologies to address this virus and its treatments.

I look forward to our new medical students arriving this week, and our new graduate students will be back in a month or so, which means we can refocus on education—both remotely and in person. We have learned how to operate with caution and concern under these conditions, manage engagements at a distance, and safely add research discovery, medical patient care, and training to our daily professional lives. 

Our tradition of accomplishments is astonishing and the resilience of our faculty and staff is a sight to behold! Our research and educational efforts coupled with our training of medical students, PhD candidates, and many Master’s students have greatly informed us. Our eyes and ears are directed towards our community with attention to our underserved populations and the need to increase diversity among our students, trainees, staff and faculty. We are rising to the challenge more than ever; our efforts must continue to assist our community through these difficult times.

What comes next? Although it’s premature to provide a virtual perspective of the future, it starts with recognizing the incredible faculty of our medical community we have here in Cleveland—the juggernaut and synergies of clinical care, research and education spread across four amazing healthcare centers and our school—over 3,000 medical faculty strong! 

Looking ahead, our engine of success will be our synergy in research and education, seeking the best teams to investigate new medical problems, responding nimbly to changing healthcare challenges—and relying on our collective wisdom to fashion a better world. 

A tall order? Yes—and I look forward to tackling it together.