Dean’s Letter
Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A.

Photograph by Peter Freed

Dear Alumni, Colleagues and Friends of the Miller School Family,

I want to express my sincere gratitude for the very positive feedback we received from you regarding the inaugural issue of the University of Miami Medicine Magazine. Unfortunately, much has changed since that first issue as the global pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has not only caused an unprecedented disruption of our daily routine, but also has taken an extraordinary toll on human life.

The vivid images from New York and other cities that have been epicenters of the ravages caused by COVID-19 remind us of the inestimable importance of our amazing health care providers, who selflessly put their lives at risk to save others. They also remind us of the critical role of academic health centers such as ours not only in treating these patients, but also in training the next generation of physicians and in accelerating the discovery of rapid diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions to combat this vexing virus.

At the Miller School of Medicine, we had to re-imagine our approach to medical and graduate education as we learned to embrace social and physical distancing during this pandemic. We took rapid measures to introduce online education for first- and second-year medical students, as well as graduate students, and suspended clinical experiences for our third- and fourth-year students. We will hold a virtual graduation ceremony for our fourth-year students on May 9.

Indeed, our scientists are at the forefront of attempts to expand our testing capabilities and to find a cure or a vaccine to stop this global pandemic.

Despite these disruptions, the Miller School of Medicine remains steadfast in its quest to fulfill its educational, training and research missions. Indeed, our scientists are at the forefront of attempts to expand our testing capabilities and to find a cure or a vaccine to stop this global pandemic. This issue of the Magazine — an online special report — highlights the groundbreaking efforts of our researchers to control the spread of this virus from both basic science research and public health standpoints. Those stories are accompanied by many others, prepared earlier, that tell of our important work in different areas.

Finally, I am delighted to report that our research portfolio continues to grow steadily. Our NIH funding is the highest ever, at nearly $150M. We have climbed to #39 in the NIH Blue Ridge rankings, and we remain #1 in NIH funding in the state of Florida. Several of our researchers are ranked among the top NIH-funded investigators in their respective fields. In fact, when one considers NIH funding per principal investigator, the Miller School ranks #22 among research medical schools in the U.S. We are more determined than ever to continue our unrelenting quest to improve the health of humanity as we seek a cure for COVID-19.

I hope you and your families will remain healthy and safe during these challenging times.

Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A.
DEAN & CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER

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