We began 2020 hopeful that we could continue the school’s upward trajectory in research, medical education and innovation. Abruptly, we realized that everything we hoped to accomplish would be directly impacted by the rising threat of the pandemic.
Faced with a new threat unlike any the school had seen in a century, our medical education team quickly shifted gear in March to redesign the curriculum so it could be delivered exclusively online.
Our clinical faculty were confronted by the challenge of facing a new, deadly disease of which so little was initially known. Their sacrifices—in time apart from family, in serving at personal risk to themselves—epitomized the very definition of courage, and of public service.
Our student body responded with initiative and great character. In the spring, about one-third of the Class of 2020 volunteered to graduate early so they could be available to serve on the frontlines of the pandemic. By year’s end, our student volunteers were administering the vaccine.
But perhaps our greatest achievement of 2020 was how IU School of Medicine, with our colleagues in public health, channeled its considerable expertise to the task of keeping all of Indiana University safe.
Despite these challenges, the School of Medicine had another record year in research productivity, even with temporary interruptions. We kept the pipeline of physicians flowing with another stellar graduating class while enrolling a new class. Importantly, we also took steps to ensure we have a more inclusive environment for our learners, faculty and staff.
In short, we nimbly adapted to the circumstances and created a new template for our research, our study and our public service. In a year of great challenges, IU School of Medicine rose to meet them all.
Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA
Executive Vice President for University Clinical Affairs
Dean of the School of Medicine