Associate and assistant deans welcomed to the School of Medicine

File photo

File photo

The Office of the Provost announced three associate and assistant deans for the Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine via email on Sept. 7.

The new deans include Associate Dean of Clinical Medical Education Dr. Miriam Hoffman, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education and Learning Strategies Dr. Keith Metzger, and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Welfare Kate Sheppard.

Dr. Bonita Stanton, founding dean of the School of Medicine (SOM), said that this announcement speaks to the progress in the process of creating the School.

“The three new deans have been very involved in the development of the vision since before we had begun discussing seriously their involvement in the new SOM,” Stanton said in an email interview. “I am so pleased to say that up to this point, we have successfully recruited our top choice for each position.”

The new associate dean and assistant deans are assisting in the completion of the School of Medicine’s LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education) accreditation application and structuring the curriculum.

“Our critical hurdle remains submission of our application to the LCME and their positive response, which includes both their decisions, first to grant us a site visit based on the application and subsequently their decision to grant us Preliminary Accreditation based on their review of our application and the site visit,” Stanton said. “Only then can we begin to seek and accept applications to our medical school.”

According to Stanton, the School of Medicine has to submit two documents for preliminary accreditation, the Data Collection Instrument (DCI) and the Self Study. The documents concisely describe the vision and curriculum for the School.

The application for preliminary accreditation can be submitted in December, April or August. The School of Medicine plans to submit its application in December or April, according to Stanton.

The three new deans’ past experience paved the way for assisting the School of Medicine and its current goals.

“I am helping with the application and accreditation process with specific sections of the application regarding student affairs and the learning environment, as well as, any other area where the Dean and team feels I can assist,” Sheppard said in an email interview. “The accrediting body for undergraduate medical education and the accrediting body for graduate medical education have similar requirements and procedures, so although it’s a totally new and exciting endeavor, it’s also very familiar.”

Sheppard has prior experience in leading the accreditation and operations of 10 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) programs at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, according to the announcement sent by the Office of the Provost.

Metzger, assistant dean of Undergraduate Medical Education and Learning Strategies, said his initial responsibility is to build the curriculum for the School of Medicine, with a focus on the “pre-clerkship” phase of learning.

“While much of this learning happens in the classroom setting, our curriculum will also include a significant amount of experiential learning in the community and in medical settings very early on,” Metzger said in an email interview. “Bringing together all of these dimensions of student learning is an important aspect of this work and will be part of my focus.”

Metzger called the basic structure of the curriculum “innovative.”

Metzger has experience in the development and implementation of innovative medical education programs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, according to the Office of the Provost announcement. He was also involved with LCME survey visits at various institutions.

Metzger added that the School of Medicine will also house the College of Nursing and the School of Health and Medical Sciences, allowing for “interprofessional education opportunities, and featuring a state-of-the-art simulation and standardized patient facility,” he said.

According to Associate Dean of Clinical Medical Education Dr. Miriam Hoffman, students will progress through modules where they learn content from the biomedical, behavioral, social and population sciences.

“All the material that will be taught, including biomedical sciences, will be taught in its clinical context and with its clinical relevance,” Hoffman said. “It’s so that students understand why this is important and how they will use it when they’re taking care of patients.”

Some of Hoffman’s previous roles include chair of the Clerkship Curriculum Subcommittee and member of the LCME Curriculum Committee at the Boston University School of Medicine, according to the Office of the Provost announcement. According to Stanton, a search committee was formed to find the new deans of the School of Medicine.

The committee consisted of faculty and deans from the School of Medicine, School of Health and Medical Sciences, the College of Nursing, the College of Arts and Sciences; and physicians from Hackensack-Meridian. The search began in spring 2016 and ended in late spring early summer, Stanton said.

Leah Carton can be reached at

Author: Leah Carton

Leah Carton is the Managing Editor of The Setonian. She is a senior at Seton Hall majoring in journalism and public relations. She is a former Features intern for Seventeen Magazine and a former Corporate Communications & Marketing intern for Meridian Health.

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