Interim dean looks to continue College of Medicine momentum

February 20, 2014 | Features, UToday, Medicine and Life Sciences
By Jon Strunk

It’s a time of transition for the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences.



Dr. Jeffrey Gold departed at the end of January to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and a search is under way for a permanent dean. The college just finished an exhaustive — and outstanding — accreditation visit from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), and academic, clinical and research matters continue apace.

Interim Dean Ron McGinnis has no plans for the college to slow down.

“I don’t intend to take my foot off the gas. We’re a University on the rise, and it’s important to maintain that momentum,” McGinnis said. “From the academic side, we had a great LCME visit — one of the best ever — but we’re not going to rest on our laurels.”

McGinnis is moving forward with plans to modernize the medical curriculum. Broadly speaking, the goal is to integrate more clinical experiences into the first two years of medical school, a time traditionally dedicated to the natural sciences. Similarly, UT is looking to integrate additional basic science education in the clinical experiences that are a standard part of the second two years of medical school.

“Stagnation comes from being satisfied with where you are, and we plan to always be pushing to get better,” McGinnis said.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs said that even though leadership changes and transitions are a constant at any institution, organizations can’t afford to slow down.

“Ron has proven himself to be an outstanding leader. His history at this University and the universal respect and admiration employees have for him are key in ensuring the College of Medicine continues to grow in quality and prestige as we search for a new permanent dean,” Jacobs said.

McGinnis’ history dates back almost to the Medical College of Ohio’s founding. He arrived at MCO in 1974 as a member of the fifth medical class.

“I developed close relationships with the faculty that were here at the time and it was really the friendly, family nature of the organization that attracted me,” he said.

After a family medicine residency and 12 years at Toledo Hospital in private practice and as chair of the Department of Family Medicine, McGinnis returned to his alma mater in 1995.

“I came back to MCO to complete a residency in psychiatry. I’d always had an interest — my wife is a psychiatrist — and many of the people I saw in my family medicine clinic had psychological complications,” he said. “After my residency completed, I was able to join the faculty.”

McGinnis imagined a career divided into thirds — patient care, teaching and administration — and following Jacobs’ arrival at MCO in 2003, he served as associate dean for clinical affairs and medical director.

“Some of my proudest moments working at MCO and now UT were working with Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Gold to improve patient safety, access to care and care quality,” McGinnis said.

In 2010, looking to increase his interaction with students, McGinnis became associate dean of student affairs, a role he held until his appointment by Jacobs to interim dean early this year.

“You think to yourself, ‘Wow, I was a student, a resident, a faculty member, an administrator, and here I am as a leader of the organization I’ve spent so much of my life in.’ I’m very happy to be an MCO grad and now serve as interim dean,” he said.

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