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Thomas Jefferson University's Sidney Kimmel Medical College Appoints Associate Dean For Regional Campus

March 16, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ – MARCH 2018 – Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC) at Thomas Jefferson University and Atlantic Health System recently selected vascular surgeon and medical educator James Alexander, MD, as its associate dean for its regional medical school campus.

Dr. Alexander will oversee the regional campus, which is set to open in July, at Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center.

Prior to joining Jefferson and Atlantic Health System, Dr. Alexander was the vice chairman for Education in the Department of Surgery at Cooper Medical School, as well as professor of surgery. At Cooper, Alexander piloted a third year longitudinal integrated clerkship for the school, which opened in 2012.

“We are honored to have such an accomplished physician and educator of Dr. Alexander’s caliber leading the Sidney Kimmel Medical College regional campus at Atlantic Health System,” said Jan
Schwarz-Miller, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Academic Officer for Atlantic Health System. “Dr. Alexander brings a great deal of experience in the unique model of learning, which will prepare students to become the health care leaders of tomorrow.”

Dr. Alexander was born and raised in Massachusetts. He completed his bachelor's degree at Yale University, and his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Alexander is a vascular surgeon who is very active in all phases of vascular surgery, including aortic, carotid, and endovascular surgeries. At Cooper, he started a vascular surgery program, as well as a vascular research center.

In 2015, SKMC entered into an agreement with Atlantic Health System to establish the campus, which would be the first site in which SKMC implements a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship, or LIC. The  model differs from a traditional curriculum, in which medical students would learn specialties in blocks, and teaching would occur solely, or mostly, within a hospital setting.

Students enrolled in the LIC, follow a panel of patients throughout their third year of training – an approach that reinforces continuity of care and patient-centered treatment. The curriculum will place medical students throughout Atlantic Health System’s network of care, in many cases following selected patients from their primary care doctor, to specialists in the community, to the hospital, and back out to community outpatient settings for recovery and rehabilitation.

SKMC chose to pilot the LIC model at Atlantic Health System due to the organization’s robust  continuum of care – a system comprised of 350 sites of care including the network of more than 2,500 community-based health care providers in the Atlantic Alliance, and the high-level of care offered at its six hospitals.

Dr. Alexander said the LIC model better reflects how medicine has changed, becoming less reliant on care within the hospital walls.

“Having changed how we practice medicine, let’s put students out where the healing happens, where the diagnosis happens, where the recovery happens,” Alexander said. “The principle of the LIC is continuity. When you have continuity with the patients, the focus becomes less about the
disease and instead on the patient as a person.”

For the patient, the continuity also yields the benefit of becoming more familiar with the medical student who will be participating in their care.

“The student then becomes a friendly face, somebody on their side,” Dr. Alexander said.

In addition, students will not be kept to a rigid schedule, but will be able to adjust in order to pursue  areas of interest throughout the course of the year.

“When you think about the riches of what’s available in this health system, it’s incredible,” Dr. Alexander said. “But you have to make sure that student gets to see all the right things to help prepare them for a career in medicine. There’s a tremendous ability to customize and optimize the experience.”

About Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System, headquartered in Morristown, N.J., is an integrated health care delivery system powered by a workforce of 16,000 team members dedicated to building healthier communities. The system is comprised of 350 sites of care, including six hospitals: Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center, Newton Medical Center, Chilton Medical Center, Hackettstown Medical Center and Goryeb Children’s Hospital. Atlantic Health System also supports communities through Atlantic Medical Group, Atlantic Rehabilitation, Atlantic Home Care and Hospice, and its subsidiary, Atlantic Ambulance Corporation. Atlantic Health System sponsors the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization, one of the larger ACOs in the nation, and Optimus Healthcare Partners.

About Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)

Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) is a leader in interdisciplinary, hands-on, professional education. Jefferson, home of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College and the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, is now a comprehensive university delivering high-impact education in 160 undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,800 students in health, science,
architecture, design, fashion, textiles, business and engineering. The new Jefferson is re-defining the higher education value proposition with an approach that is collaborative and active; increasingly global; integrated with industry; focused on research across disciplines to foster innovation and discovery; and technology-enhanced. Student-athletes compete as the Jefferson Rams in the NCAA
Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.