Previously the vice dean of research and chair of internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Jerry Nadler, MD, MACP, FAHA, FACE, arrives at the Valhalla campus of New York Medical College as a recognized expert in several aspects of medicine and is world-renowned in the pathogenesis of diabetes. As the brand-new dean of NYMC’s School of Medicine, Nadler eagerly shares with 914INC. his expansive plans to enhance the school’s research capabilities, community partnerships, and curricula — all to propagate not only a more well-trained healthcare provider for the modern era but also to bring community-based well-being to the next level for all Westchesterites.
Why are you a good fit for this position at NYMC?
I was attracted to New York Medical College because of its culture of openness, commitment to diversity, and legacy of excellence in education, research, and community engagement. All of this aligned with my personal values and experience at Eastern Virginia Medical School, a community-based medical school similar to NYMC in its deep involvement with surrounding communities.
NYMC is in a unique position to partner with hospitals and other Westchester-based industry leaders to use community-based research to support the community, and that’s something I plan to continue in my role as dean.
Have you set an agenda for short-term and long-term goals? If so, can you delineate them?
In the short-term, I’m focused on meeting with students and faculty to learn their key needs, fill some vital positions — including a new clinical chair and senior associate dean for Student Affairs — and develop a strategy that is best for this institution.
One of my longer-term goals focuses on growing new partnerships and strengthening existing collaborations within the region, which can ultimately lead to new clinical opportunities for our students and new research opportunities for the College. Specific examples include new clinical rotations at leading hospitals and medical groups, and enhancing research opportunities with [Tarrytown-based] Regeneron, one of the industry’s most successful biotechnology companies.
Are there new curricula in development?
I’m currently working with our education team and faculty on a curriculum redesign to modernize and incorporate new technology that will better prepare our students to be well-equipped to go into practice or pursue academic careers. Specific elements of curriculum modernization will include a system-based curriculum, clinical correlations, and reverse classroom environments, including enhanced virtual-learning platforms.
Future NYMC students will see fewer lectures, more online classes, and an increase in hands-on learning opportunities. Medical students will also have the opportunity to pursue areas of personal interest in-depth, beyond the formal curriculum, including research, biomedical ethics, education, global and population health, and patient safety.
“One of my longer-term goals focuses on growing new partnerships and strengthening existing collaborations within the region, which can ultimately lead to new clinical opportunities for our students and new research opportunities for the College.”
You have an extensive background in diabetes research. How will that factor into the curricula at NYMC, and are there exciting developments taking place currently?
In addition to an expanded diabetes curriculum, I intend to increase diabetes research [at NYMC]. Diabetes impacts the whole body. It has even been tied to higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. But new research on Type 2 diabetes is helping us understand why insulin cells fail and how prenatal development can influence the chance of developing the disease.
In terms of Type 1 diabetes, we are closer to determining if a virus triggers the disease. With this knowledge, we could potentially develop a vaccine for the virus and prevent future generations from developing Type 1 diabetes.
For the graduating class of 2021, you have a rather progressive gender split of 56%/44% in favor of women. Is that by coincidence or design?
NYMC has always championed female students and graduated many notable firsts, including the the first female African American physician in New York State and the first male African American physician in the U.S.
The College doesn’t have quotas but utilizes holistic review to look for and accept the best students based on their educational backgrounds and personal qualities, regardless of their financial needs. We interview thousands of students every year and, for our class of 2021, more female students met our criteria.
Establishing the Touro College of Dental Medicine was a bold stroke for NYMC. What’s new over there?
Having a dental school on our campus is a unique resource for our medical-school students. Dental health has a strong link to overall health and, through Touro Dental Health, our students are able to learn how to diagnose other diseases based on oral concerns.