New Appointment Will Help Further “Enhance and Strengthen Education Mission” of UM School of Medicine during Pandemic
University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, Donna Parker, MD, FACP, along with UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, today announced the promotion of Kerri Thom, MD, MS, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, as the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Dr. Thom previously served as the Assistant Dean for Student Research and Education in the UMSOM Office of Student Affairs.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Thom has assumed this important role,” said Dr. Parker. “She is an outstanding clinician, educator, and researcher. Beyond that, her commitment to humanism, professionalism, social justice and the Baltimore community is unparalleled. I cannot imagine a more qualified person to mentor the next generation of medical students at the University of Maryland.”
In her new role, Dr. Thom will be responsible of the day-to-day management of the Office of Student Affairs in meeting its primary mission of supporting and providing mentoring guidance to the School’s MD Degree students. Dr. Thom also will oversee the writing of all Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs), a key component of a medical student's application to residency programs.
Dr. Thom acknowledges that an immediate challenge facing her, and her staff, are the academic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the call to action for medical schools to address systemic racism and health disparities in medicine that have been highlighted throughout the pandemic. “I think our biggest challenge has shifted to advocating for each one of our students across all four classes by understanding how these recent events has impacted each of them uniquely,” she said. “We intend to ensure that every student is able to complete the curriculum, and in doing so, that they graduate as all excellent physicians who demonstrate the core UMSOM values of humanism, professionalism, leadership, scholarship, and attention to social justice and diversity. With our awesome team in the Office of Student Affairs and Office of Medical Education, we are in this together with our students and ready to tackle anything that comes our way.” she said.
Dr. Thom’s promotion has been greeted with wide approval throughout the school’s leadership. “Dr. Thom assumes this position at an unprecedented time of upheaval due to the Covid-19 pandemic, where every student has experienced major disruption to their education,” said James B. Kaper, PhD, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and James and Carolyn Frenkil Distinguished Dean’s Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. “We are extremely fortunate to have someone with her great experience, professionalism, and personal qualities to lead the Office of Student Affairs.”
Dr. Thom received her MD from the University of Florida College of Medicine. She then completed her internal medicine residency and infectious disease fellowship at the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Baltimore VA Medical Center. She received her MS in Epidemiology and Clinical Research from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. An infectious disease physician and a faculty member in the school’s Departments of Epidemiology & Public Health and Medicine, she additionally serves as Assistant Dean for Student Education and Research as well as a Physician Advisor for Quality at the University of Maryland Medical System.
“In light of the current challenges posed by the pandemic to all medical schools, including our own, the promotion of Dr. Thom to her new role underscores the fact that we have the very best professionals in place to enhance and strengthen the quality of our educational mission here at the UMSOM,” said Dean Reece, who is also Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine.
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 45 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has more than $540 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 student trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu.