The independent news organization of Duke University

Halperin named next vice dean

Six down, eight to go.

Dean of the School of Medicine Dr. Sandy Williams has named Dr. Edward Halperin vice dean for education and academic affairs and vice dean for clinical affairs. The announcement was the sixth position of 14 major vacancies Williams has filled since his arrival at Duke last year.

Halperin, currently chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and L.R. Prosnitz professor of pediatrics, replaces Dr. Russel Kaufman, who announced in late April that he would leave the position to become director and CEO of the Wistar Institute, an independent non-profit biomedical research center in Philadelphia.

"We [at the medical school] are stewards of this magnificent resource and must be mindful of the heritage of our past as represented by our predecessors on the faculty, respectful and attentive to the problems of the present as represented by the needs of our patients, and responsible for the needs of the future as represented by our students and trainees," Halperin wrote in an e-mail.

Williams said Halperin's appointment gives him full faith in the future of the medical school.

"He is a scholar in the finest tradition of the word," Williams said.

In the newly created role as vice dean for clinical affairs, Halperin will work with faculty, clinical department chairs and the leadership of the clinical service units and hospitals on faculty recruitment and retention.

Halperin will also assume Kaufman's duties as vice dean for education and academic affairs, which include responsibility for the doctor of medicine academic program including admissions, student services and perhaps, most timely, the ongoing curriculum review.

"We must maintain the strength of the third year, enhance its scholarly nature, but offer several options for the modern student to pursue that scholarship," Halperin wrote. "We must be mindful of modern techniques of education and assessment in the first year so that we nurture a basic medical science education while offering varying formats for learning."

Ali Raja, president of the Davison Council, the medical school's student governing body, approved of the appointment.

"The curriculum review is at an extremely crucial stage right now," Raja wrote in an e-mail. "There has been a lot of information gathered and some great recommendations made, but we need some real direction from the top to make the changes happen. Hopefully Dr. Halperin will provide that."

Halperin, who will take the position June 1, said he hopes to add educational experiences in medical ethics, medical history and law and medicine to help students face the challenges of the biomedical revolution. He will remain chair of radiation oncology until spring 2003.

The other positions Williams must fill include a variety of department chairs, such as for medicine and surgery, and a genomics institute director.