Nierenberg to step down from role as Senior Associate Dean
for Medical Education

On March 15, Dean Wiley ‘Chip’ Souba shared the following announcement with the DMS community:

Dear Colleagues,

After nearly 30 years at DMS, and 16 years serving as our Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, Dr. David Nierenberg has indicated to me that he would like to step down from this role and pass the baton. I can think of no one who has been more committed to medical student education, both here at Dartmouth as well as nationally.

Under David's strong and committed leadership, the medical education program at Dartmouth is much stronger than when he assumed his position under Dean Andrew Wallace in 1995. With assistance and collaboration from many capable colleagues (I know Dave would want to thank many, many faculty, students, and staff who did much of the work!), Dave helped develop or lead the following curricular and related initiatives at DMS:

  • Establish a new and vibrant Medical Education Committee, with extensive student input, from the old and dysfunctional Curriculum Committee

  • Oversee the New Directions menu of curricular improvements, featuring earlier introduction to clinical experiences, more conferences and active learning experiences, greater flexibility for students, and better integration of "basic science" and "clinical science" material across all four years

  • Introduce problem-based learning into the Year 2 (SBM) curriculum

  • Achieve better coordination of courses and clerkships within Years 1,2, and 3

  • Develop a required Year 4 course in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics that is a model for other schools to follow

  • Develop and lead a comprehensive course and clerkship evaluation program

  • Plan and develop an office for learning and disability services, helping (among many others) our first paraplegic and hearing impaired students gain full access to our curriculum

  • Plan and then move us all towards a robust competency-based curriculum

  • Work collaboratively with all clerkships to help them develop their lists of essential conditions, diagnoses, and clinical skills

  • Plan, develop, and implement DMEDS (Dartmouth Medical Encounter Documentation System) to help students and clerkship directors track together student learning experiences in all required clerkships, and in all six broad competency domains

  • Implement vertical integration groups to help us plan and implement curricular longitudinal themes across all four years in many diverse areas (most recently the science of healthcare delivery, social justice in medicine, and end-of-life care)

  • Re-design the orientation programs to Years 1 and 2

  • Design and implement our White Coat Ceremony at the beginning of Year 1

  • Restructure Year 3 to provide all clerkships with greater capacity, while permitting all students to schedule electives of their choice during that year

  • Develop our academic affiliation with the Sophie-Davis School of Medicine to help their school, and also to help increase the diversity of students in our own school

  • Arrange for two special visiting students from Haiti to attend Year 1 of DMS this year after the devastating earthquake leveled their home university

  • Work with his colleagues who lead GME and CME at DHMC to develop innovative ways to recognize and reward our best teachers at DMS and DHMC.

Through all of this, Dave has continued his extensive his hands-on teaching in SBM courses, Year 2 Pharmacology, the Year 3 ICE course, and of course his beloved Year 4 capstone course in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.  Both within DMS and DHMC, Dave has been arguably our strongest advocate for the importance of education, teaching, and learning as the central mission of our medical school, and as one of the three core missions of our D-H partners within DHMC. Over the years, the students at DMS have selected David to receive two of the three teaching awards offered during Year 2, and graduating seniors have chosen him as the "best teacher of clinical sciences" three times. In 2008, he received one of the annual AOA Robert Glaser Distinguished Teaching Awards at the AAMC annual meeting, the most prestigious teaching award for medical school faculty in the country. David has been directly involved teaching more than 1,900 DMS graduates since he arrived in 1981, and I know he takes great pride in how well they perform on national board exams, how well they match, and most importantly, what superb physicians they become. He remains close to many of "his" graduates.

Fortunately, David will stay at Dartmouth and continue to teach, mentor, and provide valuable expertise. He will work to conclude the various curriculum improvement projects that he has launched, and will continue to help us with the critical task of preparing for the LCME site visit in 2013. I invited David, as he as agreed, to take the lead in enhancing our relationship with the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, a relationship David established several years ago. This clinical experience offers our clerkship students a wonderful and unique opportunity to broaden their education through their involvement with a very diverse patient population in an excellent, large urban academic medical center, and be taught by CPMC faculty who are deeply committed to education.

We will begin a search for David's successor in short order. Until that person has been identified, David will continue to serve in his current role. Thereafter, I have asked him to serve as Senior Advising Dean so we can take advantage of his experience and wisdom as we prepare together for our upcoming LCME site visit, and begin discussions on ways that we can all work together to make our medical school curriculum even more exciting, distinguished, and ready to make the leap from excellent to outstanding and distinctive. Of course, he will continue to be active in patient care as section chief in clinical pharmacology, teaching clinical pharmacology, directing SBM, and helping us accomplish the many important and exciting educational challenges that await us.

Please make it a point to thank David when you see him for his passionate advocacy for and effective leadership of medical education within our School and our Medical Center for all these years. Thanks very much.

Chip Souba