Monday, July 28, 2014

More than college of medicine

February 17. 2013 6:10AM

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WILKES-BARRE – The new president and dean of The Commonwealth Medical College has a vision for the school that stretches beyond medicine.

Dr. Steven J. Scheinman, 60, joined TCMC in September from SUNY Upstate Medical University, where he was professor of medicine and pharmacology and served for eight years as its senior vice president and dean of the College of Medicine.

In a meeting last week with Times Leader reporters and editors, Scheinman said he pursued the position with the urging of his wife because he wanted the opportunity to build something.

"Why do the same thing again?" Scheinman said his wife would ask him.

Initially reluctant to consider the TCMC position "seriously" because of the school's financial challenges, Scheinman came away impressed after meeting with TCMC officials and its board of directors. He said he saw the commitment of the school's faculty and the community at-large. He praised the curriculum and he beamed when talking about expanding the class size to 100 next year.

"I'm excited. I think this is a good fit."

Scheinman wants to advance the college's educational, administrative, and research activities in new ways. The school's ability to attain those goals depends on being able to find necessary finances and Scheinman said that task goes beyond tuition and other traditional means of fundraising.

"It's not a good thing to rely so heavily on tradition," Scheinman said. "We have to create relationships with partners from throughout the region who will help position us to move forward."

The school will graduate its first class in May after receiving "provisional accreditation" in June following a year of probation due to the financial problems.

The new president said he will play a major, highly visible role in securing the needed financial partners, whom he plans to find among local hospitals, colleges and philanthropists.

"I'm sure everyone held back during the period of uncertainty," he said. "But now I can look them all in the eye and tell them we have come through the worst of it and we are here for the long haul."

Scheinman said one of his top priorities is to hire a development director to begin identifying financial supporters.

"That will happen as quickly as possible," he said. "And I will urge the successful candidate to use me as much as possible. I want to be in front of those community leaders."

Philanthropy will not be the only approach to raising money. Scheinman said he will aggressively pursue governmental support He mentioned Geisinger Health System, Community Health System and Blue Cross He mentioned Geisinger Health System, Community Health System and Blue Cross as key partners.

The funding will be used to build quality programs around science and health care quality, taught in "state-of-the-art" medical school facilities, Scheinman said.

"We provide an innovative curriculum featuring small group teaching at a phenomenal facility," he said. Our students will be well-prepared to enter whatever field they chose to enter."

According to his biography, Scheinman, who is board-certified in internal medicine and nephrology, has earned international prominence for his research into the genetics of inherited kidney diseases and kidney stones. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, and book chapters on topics related to kidney disease and genetics. For most of his career he was principal investigator on grants funded by the NIH, American Heart Association, and other agencies. He has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international meetings and a visiting professor at many prominent universities across the U.S. and abroad.

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