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Karen Restifo MD, JD, Named Inaugural Vice Dean, Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health

August 10, 2020

Karen Restifo, MD, JD: Regional Vice Dean for Tower Health Campus

Karen Restifo, MD, JD, has been named regional vice dean of Drexel University College of Medicine’s Tower Health campus in West Reading, effective September 1, 2020.

Valerie Weber, MD, the Deborah J. Tuttle, MD and John P. Piper, MD Senior Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, who led the search for the new vice dean, says, “Dr. Restifo’s experience made her the perfect fit to lead the development of the Tower Health campus, in particular her experience on the leadership team of a new medical school. We are delighted to welcome her to Drexel.”

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.

“The most rewarding thing,” notes Dr. Restifo, “is to work with students who will graduate as well-trained, happy, healthy professionals, ready to get out into the community and take care of patients. It’s an honor to have been chosen for this position.”

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.

Charles B. Cairns, MD, the Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean and senior vice president of medical affairs at the College of Medicine, says, “The appointment of Dr. Karen Restifo as the inaugural vice dean for the West Reading campus for the College of Medicine represents an important milestone in the Drexel University partnership with Tower Health. The West Reading campus enables us to provide an ideal setting for community translation of our educational, training and research missions.”

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