By Thomas Steele, President SOM Student Government Association 

“Nothing endures but change.” These words, spoken by Heraclitus around 500 BC, seem especially prophetic in today’s world. No institution is more aware of this undeniable truth than LSUHSC School of Medicine. Undoubtedly the biggest “change” of the last 50 years happened on August 27, 2005, when life was, both figuratively and quite literally, turned upside down for millions of individuals. What followed was a concerted effort of heroic proportions by administrators, faculty, and students to re-establish our world class medical education program. Since that restoration, a period of progress has dawned, and we are now in a unique period of transition as a School – a transition from “restoration” to “excellence.”

The openings of University Medical Center in August 2015 and of the new Veterans Affairs medical center in November 2016 are two beacons of this transition. LSUHSC medical students now have access to two state-of-the-art medical centers through which to care for the medical needs of the Louisiana population. In addition to the expanded opportunities in the clinical years, the members of the Class of 2019 are pioneers in the new pre-clinical curriculum change that began in the 2015-2016 year. The class of 2018 can expect revised and simplified requirements for the L4 year.

At present, the process for reaccreditation with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) is well underway, with the LCME site visit anticipated to occur in the fall of 2017. Results of the Independent Student Analysis (ISA), were analyzed by Dr. Richard DiCarlo, the ISA Committee and the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and led to identification of several diverse areas of student life that should and could be addressed. For example, student safety while crossing Tulane Ave will result in an elevated walkway to the hospital tentatively scheduled to begin construction in spring 2017. Separately, renovation of all seminar rooms in the 3rd floor Medical Education Building is set to begin in summer 2017.

The overarching goal of the ISA committee is to establish a process of continuous quality improvement in a manner where we do not simply identify problems and develop solutions, but continuously monitor the adequacy and effectiveness of proposed solutions. Dr. DiCarlo has coined the phrase “You Said, We Did” and a follow-up survey to assess the results of these proposed solutions will be sent out this spring.

Although change can be frightening, the transition at LSUHSC is a very positive one. When you combine the growth occurring presently at LSUHSC School of Medicine, the solid foundation of our prestigious faculty members, and the student-focused responsiveness of Dean Steve Nelson’s administration, the end result is a fertile environment in which to plant the seeds of lifelong learning and devotion to the field of medicine.