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Karen Restifo

Karen Restifo, MD, JD

Campus Dean, West Reading Campus at Tower Health; Regional Vice Dean, Tower Health; Professor, Clinical Emergency Medicine


  • JD - University of Connecticut School of Law (2011)
  • MD - Georgetown University (1987)
  • BA - University of Pennsylvania (1982)


  • Washington Hospital Center (1988)


  • Emergency Medicine - Johns Hopkins University


  • Medical Ethics - Harvard Medical School

Karen Restifo, MD, JD, is campus dean of Drexel University College of Medicine’s Tower Health campus in West Reading. Dr. Restifo comes to Drexel from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, where she served as associate dean of student affairs. During her tenure there, she helped with preparation for an LCME full accreditation site visit. She also served on numerous committees, including the Student Performance Committee, Student Affairs Committee, Medical Education Committee, Diversity Council, and the Wellness Task Force. She played a role in the development of Keck School of Medicine’s new MD program curriculum.

Before her time at USC, Dr. Restifo was associate dean of student affairs at the University of Arizona College of Medicine at Phoenix, and then at the Texas Christian University and University of North Texas Health Sciences Medical School. During her time in Phoenix, she was part of the school’s transition from regional campus to an independent medical school, including preparing for multiple LCME accreditation site visits. At the University of North Texas, she was involved in curriculum development and preparation for the school’s preliminary LCME accreditation site visit.

Dr. Restifo was recently chair of the AAMC’s Western Group on Student Affairs, having previously served as vice chair, and chair of the group’s steering committee. She has presented regionally and nationally on the topics of USMLE preparation, standardized video interviewing, improvements to residency match culture, and professionalism during the transition to residency. Throughout her career, she has championed student wellness as a critical part of the process of training outstanding physicians.

After earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Restifo attended Georgetown University School of Medicine. She completed an internship at Washington Hospital Center and an emergency medicine residency at Johns Hopkins University. After 10 years at the Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Restifo attended the University of Connecticut School of Law. She then completed a medical ethics fellowship at Harvard Medical School in 2012. She attended the AAMC Executive Development Seminar for Associate Deans and Department Chairs in 2014, and the Leadership Development Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix from 2014 to 2015.


Recent Presentations

"Keck USMLE Peer Instruction: A Student-Led Preparation Course for Step 1 of the USMLE"
Badash I, Sellami N, Roy D, Campbell A, Zia S, Restifo K
Accepted for presentation, Medical Education Learning Specialists Meeting 2019, Phoenix Arizona, November 2019

"Best Practices in Standardized Video Interview (SVI) Preparation"
Higgenson A, Restifo K
AAMC Continuum Connections, Orlando, FL. April 2018

"A Community Action Plan for Creating a Healthier Residency Match Culture"
Kashima K, Pokorny A, Restifo K
AAMC Continuum Connections, Orlando, Florida, April 2018

"Developing, Assessing and Communicating Professionalism in the Transition to Residency"
Higgenbotham E, Ton H, Restifo K, Savi C
AAMC Learn, Serve, Lead, Boston, Massachusetts, November 2017

"Lessons Learned from a Two-year Implementation of Developmental Behavioral Milestones in a Collaborative UME Environment"
Savi C, Restifo K
AAMC Learn, Serve, Lead, Seattle, Washington, November 2016

"Medical Student Assessment and the MSPE"
Restifo K, Savi C
Phoenix Children’s Hospital Grand Rounds, Phoenix, Arizona, February 2016