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Points of Light

From the dean's desk

Points of Light

Dean Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD

The winter solstice is upon us, and after that, the days will lengthen and light will return to the land.  Our winter season is marked by many holiday celebrations full of goodwill and light.

It’s been a very successful year. Our talented students have produced another delightful Doc Opera. Our fourth-year students are finishing their residency interviews. Our second years are ready to finish pre-clinical work and move on to clinical rotations (and USMLE!). Our first years from the warmer climates are realizing why they needed to bring long pants and boots. Our third years are full of the joys and sorrows of first impact of extended clinical care of patients. And our medical educators are celebrating eight years of full accreditation following our 2017 LCME visit.

And the new Star Wars movie has burst upon us in all its glory! 

We have had many points of light lately. The Cancer Center has finished its once-every-five-years renewal cycle and produced an exceptional score, a fabulous reward for all the hard work that the Center, led by Stan Gerson, has done.

And they are not alone. Our new Center for Health Integration, coupled tightly to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health is pursuing its best ideas to improve the health of our community. First Year Cleveland is making strides toward improving our dismal infant mortality statistics – and is insisting on explaining them, so we have the understanding not to repeat our past mistakes.

Two grants were awarded to Jonathan Haines to unravel the genetic components of Alzheimer’s disease, and two to Tony Wynshaw-Boris to study autism. This is a remarkable concentration of effort against a pair of devastating brain disorders and these teams have truly lit candles to beat back the darkness in these areas.

Researchers led by Wenquan Zou have detected prions in the skin of patients with Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, offering diagnostic potential and a better understanding of the pathology distribution in this damaging, and fortunately rare, disorder. There is evidence that instruments that have entered the skin of these patients might transmit the prions and therefore the disease, an important observation for physicians and patients alike. Another candle for a dark disease.  

As we draw toward the turn of the sun, we also draw toward the new beginnings of the new year. I expect 2018 to be an incandescent year as we glory in the achievement of the last 175 years and look forward into the next century of accomplishment. We have an incredible foundation on which to build, and we have the momentum to continue the discoveries, the educational excellence, the community engagement and benefits that have become our hallmarks. 

On the darkest evening of the year, may you have the brightness of the holiday season in your heart, and the fire in your mind and belly to make a difference in human life in the coming year. Together, we can initiate the next 175 years in spectacular fashion.

Happy Holidays

Pam

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