As We Move Into the New Year…

by Sana Loue
December 22, 2016

This year has brought a remarkable number of challenges. The world has been rocked with an increase in terror attacks, the numbers of refugees seeking safety from violence or persecution are at record-breaking levels, in the U.S. we are seeing an increase in reports of hate crimes and, in many ways, our country seems more divided politically than ever. Closer to home, we have seen communities threatened by lead-contaminated water, neighborhoods racked with violence and senseless deaths, and a political climate characterized by individuals’ seeming unwillingness or inability to build bridges across divides. Still closer yet, our faculty have been challenged with the need to provide care to an increasing number of patients, decreasing reimbursements, increased competition for funding, and what likely seems like fewer hours in the day to get more done.

Through all of this, and through all of the challenges that confront each of us on a personal level, our faculty and staff have shown their concern for each other, for the School of Medicine, and for our community. Despite busy schedules and multiple and often conflicting demands on their time and energy, they have contributed countless hours to mentoring their colleagues and our students, to finding ways to improve the lives of those around them, whether through patient care, research innovations, educational initiatives, or simply extending a heart and hand to a fellow colleague.

As Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” I thank everyone who has helped to create these new paths during 2016 and look forward to working with you to forge yet others during the upcoming year.

Building and Nurturing Community

by Sana Loue
August 18, 2015

Martin Luther King once said, “First, we are challenged to rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” I find this observation particularly relevant as we strive to meet the challenges of increasingly tight NIH funding and work together towards the reaccreditation of our school. While we have not abandoned the model of the independent scientist forging ahead in his or her lab towards new discoveries, we have broadened our perspective to recognize the interdisciplinary nature of current endeavors and the ever-growing need for dialogue and collaboration across fields, departments, and funding sources.

The Office for Faculty Development and Diversity has as one of its principal aims the creation and nurturing of a sense of community among all SOM faculty, staff, and students. Our diverse perspectives are a reflection of who we are—the conglomeration of events and situations and relationships in which we participate as we walk through our lives as members of a family, a community, a religion, a race, an ethnicity—whatever group we may identify with or have been identified with by others. So, too, is our SOM community a reflection of our individual identities and our collective identity.

In an academic medical center, it is exactly our diversity, our embrace of that diversity, and our constellation as a community that allow us to be creative, to strive beyond the status quo to find new and better ways of doing things—for our patients, families, and communities, including our SOM community. I urge you to join me in weaving the diverse strands of our SOM community together into a magnificent tapestry!