Comings and Goings

CWRU School of Medicine Dean Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD

We are approaching year-end comings and goings.  

Most of our graduates will be going to residencies located in hospitals spread out across the county; but for some we are delighted that they will be staying here in Cleveland! Many of our medical students matched to the MetroHealth System, Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. We are delighted that they will remain with us! For some of our PhD graduates, postdoctoral fellowships here beckon; but many have already left town for new challenges.  

Personally, I am sorry to soon say goodbye to Colleen Goss, administrator extraordinaire. There are few people more competent, well-organized, tactful, intelligent and kind. She has provided guidance and strength to our excellent cadre of administrative staff and occasionally has taken over directly when illness or other issues intervened. She is always the go-to person. While she has every right to retire in grace and honor, I will miss her! 

And of course, we recently celebrated the career of Kathy Cole-Kelly–fondly known as KCK–who has developed our Foundations of Clinical Medicine course over more than a decade. A social worker and family therapist by training and practice, she has shared with students and other faculty her enormous insight on communication with patients and families. She is also an accomplished academic, possessing the drive to keep up with constantly evolving topics, such as novel but unproven therapies, LGBTQ and transgender issues in medicine, and many others. The Foundations course is the one I receive the most emails about from our graduates. They often begin along the lines of: “I’m so ashamed that I used to deride this course as touchy-feely, but in my residency I have learned that the knottiest problems in medicine are not the technical, but rather the interpersonal. I’ve often reached into the toolkit that KCK provided me to solve them.” It must be incredibly rewarding to know how many lives she has touched–not just those she taught, but by extension, the patients they helped. It is truly rare to find a faculty member so dedicated and so competent. While she has every right to join her husband in Rochester NY, I will miss her in Cleveland. Ave atque vale, KCK! Hail and farewell! 

Finally, our medical programs are saying goodbye to the Robbins Building. Sturdily built years and years ago with: no windows; old-fashioned benches; rabbit warren offices; lockers that reminded me of my high school even back when I roamed its halls (don’t ask how long ago that was); tiered lecture halls for pedagogic techniques of days gone by; hallways and doors that have been the backdrop for many a Doc Opera video parody; ventilation systems on the questionable side; and elevators that had to be completely replaced about 20 years ago and now are getting creaky again. Yet, despite all its shortcomings and flaws, the Robbins Building IS the medical school for many of our alumni. There’s always an element of nostalgia when you leave such a space that has been part of our lives for so many years. But I’m not sure I’ll have any regrets, even when we swing the sledgehammers to create new research and education space! 

So, with mixed emotions, we attend the goodbye receptions and watch the moving trucks drive away. For all these transitions, it’s time. We celebrate our successes, give a hug to those we hope to see again, turn our faces toward the sun, and move on.