A Letter from the Dean

Emerging from the pandemic, I’m heartened by our community’s resilience. Faculty, students, and staff rose to the challenge of teaching, learning, and working remotely through hard work and sustained effort. I am proud of how we persevered through one of the most difficult times in recent memory, and we have many things to celebrate.

The new academic year brings a new start and new faces to our community. Here at the medical school, we have just welcomed the 92 members of our MD Class of ’25, as well as our new residential MPH class. We are also excited to welcome new students into our biomedical graduate programs as well. Now that most of our community is vaccinated and Dartmouth has lifted most of the pandemic restrictions on campus, it is wonderful seeing students returning to in-person learning.

Another new face coming to Geisel is our Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education (SADME) Sonia Chimienti, MD. Coming to us from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she was the vice provost for Student Life and Enrollment Management, Dr. Chimienti brings a wealth of experience in medical education that will foster the success of our students throughout their entire academic experience.

The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI) is also starting the new academic year with a new director, Amber Barnato, MD, MPH, MS. A physician dually trained in general preventive medicine and public health and hospice and palliative medicine, Dr. Barnato is taking up the leadership of TDI at a critical time. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of TDI’s work to improve population health and reduce the many disparities in our health system.

In this issue of Dartmouth Medicine meet Steven L. Bernstein, MD, Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s inaugural chief research officer, who talks about his multiple leadership roles across Dartmouth, including Geisel and the C. Everett Koop Institute, and his plans to unify the research enterprise.

Reflecting on this past pandemic year, digital health entrepreneur Andres Jimenez MED ’04, discusses his response to the disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on Black and brown communities by creating and launching designated.health—a nonprofit virtual clinic where medical volunteers connect to uninsured patients online.

Also, three recent Geisel graduates share thoughts about their first year of emergency medicine residency training during the pandemic and offer advice to medical students applying for residency.

And learn how nonclinical basic science research, funded by a pilot grant from Geisel’s Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, brought Dartmouth investigators together to understand the connection between exercise, memory, and mental health using remote sensors designed by students.

We’ve learned a lot over this past year – about the field of medicine and public health, our nation, and ourselves. These are lessons we can all take to heart and look to the new academic year with excitement and hope in a new beginning.

Duane Compton, PhD
Dean, Geisel School of Medicine