Geisel Dean Duane Compton delivers a State of the Medical School address

by Erin Lee | 5/28/15 8:20pm

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Geisel Dean Duane Compton delivers a State of the Medical School address
by Erin Lee / Erin Lee/The Dartmouth Staff

In his inaugural State of the Medical School address Thursday evening, interim dean of the Geisel School of Medicine Duane Compton announced that Geisel is on its way to becoming financially stable after a year of budget adjustments. Before an audience of about 100, three faculty members also received lifetime achievement awards and nine were inducted into the Geisel Academy of Faculty Master Educators.

Compton said in his address that when he first became dean last July, he recognized an immediate need to correct “overly optimistic revenue projections.” Since Geisel’s budget was altered in September, its finances have remained on target, he said.

In an interview, Compton said that Geisel is working to both increase funding from research grants and decrease expenses to reduce its deficit. For the 2014 fiscal year, Geisel posted a $5.5 million deficit.

Compton said in his address that with the new fiscal policies, Geisel is projected to save about $46 million over the next five years.

Geisel’s tuition for the upcoming school year will increase by 2.9 percent, Compton said. To increase tuition revenue, Geisel will raise its median class enrollment by three students, he said. Geisel received more than 5,800 applications for 90 spots in its Class of 2019, up from 5,673 last year, he noted.

Compton said Geisel is developing a new health care delivery sciences course that first-year students will take in the fall of 2015. The additional course is fully budgeted and requires no additional financing, he added.

“I’m excited about adding this material,” he said. “We can use this health care delivery science material to help discriminate our curriculum from other schools and generate some differentiation.”

The new Williamson Translational Research Building is expected to open in early August and is on schedule and on budget, Compton said. It will house faculty from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Norris Cotton Cancer Center and The Dartmouth Institute, among others, and the new space will allow Geisel to terminate its leases on other spaces in the Upper Valley, saving Geisel about $2 million per year.

Geisel is responsible for more than 75 percent of sponsored research at the College, and over the past few years, sponsorship has remained flat while expenses increase, Compton said. The projected deficit in research funding is projected to be more than $36 million for fiscal year 2015, he said.

“I think it’s essential that we do research in the medical school, and it’s our job to budget appropriately so we can support those research activities,” he said. “I recognize the level of angst that exists right in the faculty and staff. We are working as fast as we can to develop options.”

Compton said that during his three-year tenure, he hopes to recruit more faculty members and strengthen Geisel’s relationship with DHMC, as well as develop fields of study such as computational biology that attract philanthropic support. He said that he expects a capital fundraising campaign to start within the next two years, which could potentially be used to cut medical student tuition in half or create an endowment for every professor.

At the event, Kimberly Betts G’17 and Nicole Moraco G’17 received awards for excellence in public health from the U.S. Public Health Service. The two students run Memory Cafe, a social group for those with Alzheimers.

Nine faculty members — Cantwell Clark, John Dick, Harley Friedman, Ann Gormley, Hugh Huizenga, Sarah Johansen, Kelly Kieffer, Alan Kono and Sharona Sachs — were inducted into the Geisel Academy of Master Educators. Students and colleagues introduced the inductees with anecdotes that emphasized how they have motivated and challenged their mentees.

Office of research and innovation in medical education director and Geisel professor Greg Ogrinc said the Academy is comprised of faculty — elected for their dedication to students — who mentor other faculty and conduct seminars on medical education. The program, started in 2012, has seen high levels of interest every year, he said.

“It’s an honor for those elected for their educational achievements,” Ogrinc said. “Teaching is giving a great deal of service to the school.”

Bridget Curley G’16 said she was honored when Kono asked her to introduce him at the event.

Asha McClurg G’16 said it is “wonderful” to have the opportunity to recognize individual professors with election to the Academy.

“You know these people are so deserving,” she said.

Geisel professors Peter Mason, Harold Schwartz and William Young also received lifetime educator awards.