Dean candidate Powell recognizes medical school’s difficulty

Amy Hackbarth

Dr. Deborah Powell said she recognizes medical students experience an information overload during their first years at school.

“Faculty members have always understood that they are not teaching students for medical practice as we now know it but for practice in the future,” said Powell, University of Kansas Medical Center executive dean and vice chancellor for clinical affairs. “The future of medical practice is growing and getting harder to imagine.”

Powell stressed information management while visiting campus as a candidate for the University Medical School dean position.

She is one of five candidates for the position, which will open in June after current dean Dr. Alfred Michael retires. The successful dean candidate will fill the position in July.

Powell’s views on medical
students’ overwhelming course loads interested Margaret Njonjo, a first-year medical student who attended Powell’s lecture.

“There is such an information overload that people who work in a certain field have difficulty keeping up with it,” Njonjo said. “How can medical students be expected to?”

Powell also addressed the need to blend research activities among departments and to increase employment opportunities and medical school enrollment for minorities and women.

Powell is the fourth candidate to visit the University in the past month.

Dr. Eli Adashi, obstetrics and gynecology chairman at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, visited the University at the end of March. Dr. Sharon Murphy, Northwestern Medical School pediatrics professor, and Dr. Thomas Krummel, Stanford University School of Medicine surgery department chairman, met with University officials last week.

The fifth candidate has yet to be named.

University officials expect to narrow the dean search in mid-May, when a committee of officials, faculty members and students will select three candidates from the group of five.

Amy Hackbarth welcomes comments at [email protected]