Dr. Katherine Chen is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Education for the Obstetrics/Gynecology Department at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai . She also directs the third year medical student six-week Obstetrics/Gynecology clerkship. Recognized for her excellence in teaching through various awards at Harvard Medical School and Columbia University, her most recent honor in 2012 is the Mount Sinai Institute of Medical Education Excellence in Teaching award. She was also a faculty member AOA inductee in 2010.
The Rossi editor-in-chief had a chance to sit down with Dr. Chen and discuss her philosophies on teaching, as well as her life as a physician, mother and book enthusiast.
Q: What attracted you to Mount Sinai?
I came here specifically for an administrative position in education. Prior to that, I was at Columbia University on an NIH grant, primarily doing research – 75% research, 25% clinical. Then I had a midlife crisis and decided I wanted to focus more on education. I’m very grateful to my chair Dr. Brodman for offering me the position and for supporting me in my endeavors.
Q: What was this midlife crisis?
I always knew I had a knack for teaching, even while I was a resident. But at that time, I had gotten advice that to advance in the academic world, you needed to be a clinical expert with productive research activities. So I went down that path first. I spent several years focusing on Obstetric Infectious Diseases, gathering clinical research skills, and performing studies. When I turned 40, I realized that the projects I enjoyed most were the ones I did with students and residents. I couldn’t get away from teaching.
In medicine, as with other fields, developing effective leaders and educators is essential to our profession. Teaching is a vital role of all physicians, and good teaching directly improves patient care. Similar to other aspects of medical practice, becoming an effective teacher requires training and experience. An increasing number of medical students, residents, and practicing physicians are seeking advanced training in education to provide them with a conceptual and scholarly foundation for their educational responsibilities, and to enhance their leadership potential and increase their effectiveness in their profession.
Mount Sinai’s Institute for Medical Education (IME) serves the vital need for creating, educating, mentoring and retaining the best educators for our students, residents and faculty. Fostering the success of our educators includes recognizing and rewarding those who display dedication and excellence in their work, and providing programs that develop and reinforce their scholarship, teaching skills and successful promotion.
Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Peter W. May, Chairman of the Boards of Trustees, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, have announced that in early 2013, Mount Sinai School of Medicine will be renamed in honor of Trustee Carl C. Icahn, who has generously supported this institution for more than three decades.
The new name—the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai—was bestowed by the Boards of Trustees in recognition of Mr. Icahn’s many years of dedicated service, his leadership in advancing medical science, and his nearly $200 million in lifetime giving to Mount Sinai. Mr. Icahn’s most recent gift of $150 million is the largest in Mount Sinai’s history and among the biggest gifts made to a medical school. His previous contributions to Mount Sinai resulted in a state-of-the-art medical school research building on the Mount Sinai campus being named the Icahn Medical Institute.
Exploring successful models of innovation—
in and out of traditional biomedical research organizations—will be the focus of a three-day conference hosted by The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
The conference, SINAInnovations, to be held Monday through Wednesday, November 12-14, will feature prominent speakers from academia, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, the investment community, and global media. It will highlight the most effective ways for academic medical centers to accelerate drug discovery and commercialize emerging biotechnologies, with the ultimate goal of creating better diagnostics and treatments that cure human diseases.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine recently unveiled its new supercomputer that is helping researchers unlock the intricate mechanisms that lead to human diseases, and hasten the discovery of treatments for them. The computer, named Minerva, after the Roman goddess of wisdom and medicine, was custom-built by Patricia Kovatch, the school’s first Associate Dean for Scientific Computing.
Minerva provides 64 million hours of computation per year. It has 7,680 processing cores, a peak speed of 70,000 gigaflops, and 30 terabytes of random access memory, making it one of the nation’s highest-performing computers in academic medicine.