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A Letter from the Dean

The sight of Monarch butterflies fluttering erratically always marks the arrival of fall for me. It is an exciting time of year. I'm energized by the crisp air, which fosters the eruption of brilliant foliage, and by the return of our current students and the arrival of our new students. I can think of no higher purpose than to help these students in their efforts to make a positive impact on the world.

The life cycle of butterflies also provides a powerful metaphor for transition, such as the transitions our medical and graduate students undergo during their time at Geisel. Our medical students arrive on campus with remarkable life experiences and achievements. The Class of 2018 is a diverse and academically excellent group, and I am impressed by what these students have already accomplished. Their transition is already underway, guided by our structured and experiential curriculum along the path from being learners to being healers. You can read more in this issue about how we teach our medical students compassion and about some recent graduates who are putting that training into action as they embark on residencies in family medicine.

Our graduate students have equally impressive backgrounds. Their path is somewhat different, as they undergo an intensive apprenticeship with our faculty. The apprenticeship model fosters their transition from being consumers of knowledge to researchers who add to our understanding of the world. One example comes in this issue's Student Spotlight, which highlights the work of a graduate student in the Molecular and Cellular Biology program.

These transitions would not be possible without our outstanding faculty and staff. I view the faculty as one of the most important assets of Geisel. They are dedicated teachers and accomplished researchers, and they set high standards in the classroom, the clinic, and the lab. Members of the faculty also play a crucial role in administering the institution as they serve with staff members on the committees and councils that oversee the school's daily operations.

I'm sure that alumni readers can recall the powerful transitions they underwent as they interacted with faculty on their journey to earning their degree. Our alumni are the living embodiment of our curriculum, and I would love to hear your stories about how our school helped shape your lives.

Finally, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the transition that I am experiencing as I settle into my new role as interim dean, succeeding Chip Souba. We have myriad opportunities to advance and improve the educational and research programs at Geisel, and we are constantly looking for ways to innovate. I have already begun to engage the faculty with key strategic issues to advance the medical school's missions. I look forward to using this space in the future to highlight the exciting developments to come.

Duane Compton, PhD
Interim Dean, Geisel School of Medicine

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