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Hofstra Med School Dr Lawrence Smith, Dean

July 10, 2009 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Members and Friends

Dr. Lawrence Smith was our speaker this morning and he is the new Dean of the Hofstra Medical School. The medical school is being established under a joint venture with Northshore LIJ. It was conceived during a fortuitous breakfast between Northshore’s president, Michael Dowling, and Hofstra’s president, Dr. Stuart Rabinowit.

Dr Smith began by describing the long drift the field of medicine has taken. The community based general practitioner has been replaced by an ever increasing number of specialists. The trend has divided the patient doctor relationship and presently, while there is not a shortage of doctors in the region, there is a shortage of family practitioners.

The new school is a 50/50 partnership between the two respected entities. According to Dr. Smith the "Ivory Tower" concept of medical research facilities will not be the guiding vision of the new school.

Smith, who has been on the education side of medicine, said new techniques in teaching medical proffessionals of all levels will be the emphasis. The school will have a world class "Simulation Center." Simulators will be fashioned after those created for the airline industry. When "flying" a simulator you can crash the plane because you made an error, and you can walk out of the room and go to lunch with on one being killed. The simulation facility will allow medical students to initiate procedures on very life-like manequins. Errors in procedures may cause the "patient" to "die" and the feeling for the doctor will be very real, but again, a real person does not die.

In the present and past models an intern doctor worked under the supervision of an experienced doctor, learning all he could, but when it came time to work on his own first patient, it was essentially a new experience. By learning on these fake patients that are programed to react the same way a real patient would, the doctor has already had many successful training excersizes. This facility will be the largest simulator trainning facility upon the schools openning. The facility, overall, will be in the mid-size of all such facilities in the country. These are ambitious plans, but because of the size and strength of the founding entities, it can be acheived. There is no scarcity of scientific knowlege in the region when you consider the resources of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratories and the universities of Long Island. In addition the planners are learning about successful medical schools around ! the country and around the world and employing those methods that are proven winners.

Dr Smith told us that there is a scarce of knowledge in dealing with the suburban elderly, while we know a lot about city dwelling elderly. This is an area that will be explored by the school. The physical plant will be 11 acres adjacent to Hofstra and the Lighthouse Development project.

This plan for a new medical school on Long Island is very exciting in various ways, and the economic impact will be formidable.