Each of us has a unique story that brought us to the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC). Like many of our faculty, I was drawn by AUC’s mission, which elevates the teaching and mentoring of medical students above all else. AUC’s commitment to student-centered learning and to supporting a community dedicated to student success played a significant role as I considered joining the AUC family. I was also very impressed by our students – not just those of you whom I’ve met, but also those of you whose insights and reflections I’ve had a chance to read online or had passed along to me by my colleagues.

In any case, one word kept coming back to me as I considered taking and then accepted the position of executive dean and chief academic officer: opportunity. The more I got to know the school, our students, our faculty, and the stimulating but supportive environment in which we learn together, the more I felt that AUC provides an opportunity for qualified and dedicated individuals to prepare for successful careers in medicine.

One of my personal highlights from my first full semester at AUC was delivering the keynote address at the White Coat Ceremony, where I encouraged new students to “Fill your cup.” That was a wonderful way for me to get to know many of you and get started on our journey forward at AUC.

Here are a few other things that we’ve accomplished that I believe will help us achieve our goals.

  • Watched the new academic building develop from a construction site and then a shell to now an impressive, nearly completed facility that will start serving our students this fall
  • Welcomed Ranu Boppana, MD as the Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science and Clinical Medicine and Alison MacMillan, MD as a Clinical Research Fellow
  • Increased student malpractice coverage, allowing students to meet requirements at many additional hospitals including Canada
  • Revised the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) to reflect US Allopathic School MSPEs
  • Renewed AUC’s agreement with Center for Haitian Studies
  • Secured a savings on the cost of the USMLEWorld’s Step 2 Question Bank for our clinical students
  • Conferred degrees for new graduates and celebrated with 163 graduates who started residency programs

We have a come a long way in a short time – that is the AUC way. Yet there is much to do in the coming months:

  • Roll out a pilot physician advising program for students entering the 2014 Match
  • Assess and enhance the clinical communication roadmap to guide students through the clinical years
  • Improve our clinical processes to ease students’ transition into and through the clinical semesters
  • Complete a self-study for the upcoming visit by the New York State Education Department
  • Redevelop the AUC Student Handbook
  • Recruit an additional clinical dean focused on the academic program during the clinical years

One of the early highlights of my tenure as executive dean was to join the AUC faculty and trustees to confer medical degrees on 163 new graduates. For those in cap and gown, the day is a milestone of completion (of the MD program) and beginning (of the MD career). For those of us who remain at AUC – students, faculty, administration, staff – it means all that and more. The life of a physician is a life of opportunity – each day bringing a new challenge, a new way to make a difference in the life of another person. That’s the opportunity AUC provides to you, our students. What you do with that opportunity is largely up to you, but my pledge is that we’ll be with you every step of the way.

As the semester comes to an end and you plan your activities for semester break, I encourage you to celebrate the passing of another step on your journey to become a physician. For those of you leaving the island for clinical rotations, I assure you that we will make every effort to keep you as engaged members of the AUC family and look forward to your return to our beloved St Maarten campus for graduation.
 

Dr. Heidi Chumley

Posted September 03, 2013 07:47 PM

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    12/12/2013 4:57:40 PM

    I AM A GRADUATE OF THE "HURRICANE CLASS" WHICH MATRICULATED IN SEPTEMBER, 1995. I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO VISIT AUC SINCE GRADUATION (A GREAT CHRISTMAS PRESENT, ON 12/25/1999!), BUT I HAVE FOLLOWED THE ALUMNI MAGAZINE WITH INTEREST, AND HAVE REALLY ENJOYED SEEING THE BEAUTIFUL DEVELOPMENT OF THE CAMPUS, AND NEWS OF NEW FACULTY AND PROGRAMS. AS A HEALTHCARE VOLUNTEER IN HAITI 2 WEEKS AFTER THE TERRIBLE EARTHQUAKE THERE, AND A VISITOR TO HAITI'S JOINT PROGRAM WITH COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY TWO YEARS AGO, I'M VERY EXCITED TO READ IN THIS REPORT ABOUT AUC'S AGREEMENT WITH THE CENTER FOR HAITIAN STUDIES. I'M PROUD TO BE AN ALUMNA OF AUC, AND HOPE TO BE THERE IN AUGUST, 2014. THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS MESSAGE, DR. CHUMLEY. BEST REGARDS.