Geisel’s New Office of Educational Affairs & Inaugural Dean of Educational Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to share exciting news regarding the development of collaborative leadership teams to support the educational experiences of learners in Geisel’s professional degree programs. These changes represent a first step towards realizing the vision expressed in the One Geisel, Leading Forward Strategic Plan, specifically to diversify and enhance Geisel’s educational offerings and provide stronger support for our learners.

As I mentioned in the recent State of the Medical School address, a new central Office of Educational Affairs will provide a framework for the collaborative and efficient engagement of curriculum leaders from each of our professional degree programs and will oversee student support services for Geisel’s health professions students. Our professional degree programs are those that typically lead to careers in the health professions or within industry, and which are distinct from traditional graduate programs that lead to academic career advancement. Notably, our graduate studies (i.e., PhD) students will continue to be mentored, guided, and supported through robust services in Guarini’s graduate program offices.

Through coordinated leadership under a common organizational structure, the new Office of Educational Affairs will help us reach an important strategic planning goal to support the expansion of interprofessional experiences and to develop new educational programs.

Foundational to Geisel’s Strategic Plan, this unified Educational Affairs team will support our vision to create an educational environment that brings our health professions learners together inside and outside of the classroom, creating opportunities for professional development and experiential learning across multiple domains. In support of this vision, and to ensure parity in the Geisel student experience, we will also bring the (multiple) existing student services organizations under the umbrella of a new, single Office of Student Life, providing a central hub to support the academic, professional, and personal growth of our health professions learners.

Highlights of the new leadership teams within the Office of Educational Affairs include:

  • Office of Health Professions Education: provides oversight for the development and expansion of our health professions programs, including the MPH, QBS, Masters, and our healthcare management degree programs with Tuck (MHA/MHCDS). This team will also lead the evaluation and development of new interprofessional degree and certificate programs at Geisel.
  • Office of Undergraduate Medical Education: provides oversight for continuum of the MD program, from the Foundational Curriculum through the Clinical years, with the expansion of simulation and experiential learning and a deeper focus on interprofessional education.
  • Office of Student Life: provides oversight for the coordinated support of all Geisel health professions students, including support of career advising, student well-being, academic advising, and events.

To provide oversight over Geisel’s new Office of Educational Affairs, I am delighted to announce that I have promoted Sonia Chimienti, MD, to a new role as the inaugural Dean of Educational Affairs at Geisel, effective July 1, 2023. In this role, Dr. Chimienti will be responsible for overall leadership of the health professions degree programs and student supports within Geisel. An overview of the new organizational structure will soon be posted on our Strategic Planning SharePoint site.

Following this announcement, Dr. Chimienti and the Goal 6 strategic planning team will launch searches for three new associate dean positions to lead the three offices described above. We encourage all members of our community to discuss these opportunities with their department chairs and, if interested, to apply for these exciting new leadership positions.

Building on Geisel’s foundational strengths of a rich and collegial academic community, we look forward to this renewed focus on collaboration and innovation, preparing the next generation of health professionals to be leaders in their fields, bringing curiosity and critical thinking to our most challenging problems in healthcare, and working together towards health equity for all. Realizing these aspirational goals requires that we remove the current educational silos and adopt a different model for how we support our learners across Geisel’s health professions programs. Together, we will connect our educators and students in the health professions to enhance their educational experiences.

I welcome your partnership on this new, exciting phase in fulfilling Geisel’s educational mission!