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College of Medicine Alumni Magazine: Fall 2023 Dear Alumni

Charles B. Cairns, MD

Charles B. Cairns, MD, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs

Dear alumni,

Every few issues, our Alumni Association president, Edward Siegel, MD ’12, generously hands over this column to me, so that I have this opportunity to connect directly with you. It has truly been a transformative four years serving as the dean of Drexel University College of Medicine.

In the wake of the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital in 2019, we partnered with Tower Health to purchase St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, which is not just the primary teaching site of our pediatric rotations, but a source of vital community support for the families of North Philadelphia who rely on the hospital for the care of their children. We have expanded our regional clinical campuses through a unique educational and clinical partnership approach. We now have strategic partnerships with seven multi-hospital health care systems, including Allegheny Health Network (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Cape Fear Valley Health (Fayetteville, N.C.), Crozer Health (Chester, Pa.), Kaiser Permanente (Alameda, Calif.), Pinnacle Health – now UMPC (Harrisburg, Pa.), WellSpan (York, Pa.) and Tower Health (Reading, Pa.).

In 2021, we opened a new four-year, state-of-the-art campus in West Reading, Pa., in conjunction with Tower Health. In 2023, we opened a new cutting-edge, interprofessional and interdisciplinary Drexel Health Sciences Building in the University City district of Philadelphia. We have resurrected Drexel Medicine, integrating mission-based community and multi-institution health care. Drexel Medicine was one of the first practice groups to launch Garden Plot, Epic’s electronic health record for independent medical groups unaffiliated with a larger medical system. We have implemented a strategic approach with Drexel University across colleges and institutes to develop innovative programs in convergence between engineering, informatics and biomedicine, and community translation with nursing, health professions and public health. These cross-disciplinary programs are directed at the needs of communities in urban, suburban and rural settings with a focus on those underserved by health care and underrepresented in innovation.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a whole new set of challenges and forced us to rethink the way we operate as a medical school, as well as highlighting existing health inequities and reducing life expectancies in our communities. We know that patients who share the same culture and language as the providers who care for them have better health care outcomes. Thus, we are dedicated to diversifying the medical workforce. We have expanded our Drexel Pathway to Medical School program and increased our clinically active faculty across our regional campuses. We have grown our faculty development programs, including internalizing offerings from Drexel’s renowned Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program for women and expanding the national version of ELAM to include the Executive Leadership in Health Care (ELH) program.

As a result of these efforts, Drexel University College of Medicine has now become the largest private allopathic (MD-granting) medical school in the nation (enrolling 304 students per year) with a large, clinically active faculty of more than 2,400, and a truly national geographical footprint. As I look back over my time at Drexel, I am amazed by what we have achieved together in so little time and while facing so many unexpected challenges. I am proud to lead this storied institution and look forward to whatever is next on the horizon.

As we celebrate these achievements, I hope you will join me in advancing our College’s continued success. By making a gift to the area your choice, you can make an incredible impact: growing the scholarship support that brings a Drexel education within reach, helping recruit and retain the faculty who provide critical instruction and mentorship, accelerating our groundbreaking research endeavors or naming a space in our remarkable new educational building in University City. If you have any questions about giving opportunities, please contact Andrea Hannan at or 215.432.7934.

Thank you for your support of the College of Medicine! The meaningful difference that we make for our students, our faculty and the patients and communities they serve, as well as the numerous people across the globe who benefit from our educational and research developments, would not be possible without our dedicated network of alumni like you.

Charles B. Cairns, MD
Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean
Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs

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