Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, RESD ’85, Installed as the Walter A. Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine
By Laura Otto
Before a full house and standing ovation, Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D. ’81, RESD’85, vice president for health affairs and dean of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was formally installed as the Walter A. Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine, Oct. 23.
The endowed chair, named in honor of Walter Andrew Bloedorn who served as director of GW Hospital beginning in 1932 and dean of the school of medicine from 1939–57, was established in 1983 by the Walter A. Bloedorn Foundation to support the dean for academic affairs at SMHS.
“I’m humbled, honored, and inspired on a daily basis to lead the school that gave me so much,” said Akman, as he joined a distinguished group of leaders who have held this title, including Ronald P. Kaufman, M.D.; Roger Meyer, M.D.; Allan B. Weingold, M.D., Hon. ’98; and John F. Williams, M.D. ’79, Ed.D. ’96, M.P.H., RESD ’83.
As he addressed the audience, Akman took a moment to acknowledge those who have passed away; his twin brother Bryan, his former partner, Steven M. Dixon, M.D. ’83, and his father’s cousin, Leonard C. Akman, M.D. ’43.
He recalled how Leonard Akman, a double GW alumnus, gave him his first microscope as he prepared for medical school. “As a 21-year-old student I didn’t fully recognize the meaning or significance of that gift regarding the path that I was to share with Leonard as a soon-to-be trained physician,” he said.
Leonard passed away a few years ago and left a substantial bequest to SMHS that reflected a deep well of gratitude to his alma mater. The gift established an endowed professorship in global psychiatry in Leonard’s parents’ names, Charles and Sonia Akman. It also supports the new Clinical Learning and Simulation Skills (CLASS) Center in Ross Hall. “When the new CLASS Center opens in 2014, our students and patients will enter into the Dr. Leonard Akman reception area and learn in the Dr. Steven Dixon conference room,” he said. In addition, future medical students will benefit by having tuition support from the Bryan J. Akman Scholarship fund, and medical students and residents will have opportunities to take international medical electives with support from the Dr. Leonard Akman Global Medicine Scholarships.
“It is particularly meaningful to have this very profound connection to Dean Walter Bloedorn, whose distinguished history includes opening the doors to the first African American physician to get hospital privileges at GW,” Akman said. “Those of you who know me, know that I am incredibly proud of this university and its school of medicine and health sciences. As they say, I am a person who bleeds buff and blue.”
Akman added that what comes with being a dean who is an alumnus is “a deep commitment to remember and honor the history of this school and those alumni, faculty, and deans who came before me; a responsibility to lead this institution by upholding and reflecting the core values of professionalism, integrity, civility, and humanism in medicine; a responsibility to lead our institution as it pursues its historic missions of education, research, clinical care, and service; a deep respect for our leadership in educating and training professionals across the health care spectrum; and, an obligation to look into the future and build something better.”
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