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July 12, 2011, Volume 58, No. 01

Legacy: Academic Partnerships

I hope the entire Penn community has read the recent pieces in The Philadelphia Inquirer about Dr. Arthur Rubenstein, long-time dean at the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president of the Health System, and the contributions he has made to Penn and the City of Philadelphia.

I would add to his incredible legacy at Penn his vision and commitment to forging academic partnerships, supporting interprofessional education, and advancing interdisciplinary research. In these areas, he is ahead of many important recent dialogues about health care.

The Institute of Medicine, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Carnegie Foundation have all recommended an increasing focus on the vital role that teams of nurses and physicians play in providing safe, quality care with fewer errors. The Lancet Commission, on which I served, calls on health professionals to learn from each other’s discoveries and challenges and the Commission recommends transforming health care systems to meet global needs by making education interprofessional.

Because Dr. Rubenstein kept his eyes on patient needs, kept his fingers on the pulse of professional expertise, and constantly took the temperature of health care costs, he established links between nurses and physicians, supported real working relations among Penn’s health schools and set the stage for better health care globally. His legacy at Penn goes beyond the Perelman School of Medicine and far beyond the perimeters of the US.

—Afaf I. Meleis,
Dean, School of Nursing

Almanac - July 12, 2011, Volume 58, No. 01