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August 31, 1995

Medical dean to resign Nov. 1

George Bernier Jr. will resign as dean of Pitt's School of Medicine, effective Nov. 1, to become dean and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

In addition to overseeing the medical school, Bernier will oversee the graduate school and the schools of nursing, allied health and marine biology at Texas.

Interim Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said that Pitt is "indebted to Dr. Bernier for his many important contributions as dean." Nordenberg noted that since Bernier was named dean in 1987, Pitt's School of Medicine has gained national attention for its clinical programs, as well as for its research and educational accomplishments.

"In terms of federal dollars attracted by the faculty, the School of Medicine has moved from 25th to 12th nationally," Nordenberg said. "During the same time, the faculty initiated a major change in the curriculum which places the school among the very best in terms of educational environment." Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences Thomas Detre said: "The undisputed jewel in Dr. Bernier's crown of accomplishments is the School of Medicine's new patient-centered, problem-based curriculum." Implemented in 1992, the curriculum was designed to enhance the ability of students to deal with the explosion of medical knowledge and to make them better thinking and more caring physicians.

The first class under the new curriculum to take the national medical board examination had a 97 percent pass rate, compared to a national average of 90 percent. Pitt students out-performed the national pool in every category.

In announcing his resignation, Bernier said: "I take great pride in the accomplishments of the faculty and students in making the enormous changes that were made in the nine years that I was associated with the School of Medicine. My new position will be, for me, a great opportunity to have the responsibility for a number of schools in addition to the School of Medicine." According to Nordenberg, no decisions have been made about an interim dean for the School of Medicine or the timing of a search for a permanent replacement.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 28 Issue 1

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