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Dr. Terry Wolpaw, vice dean for Educational Affairs, retires Dec. 31

Dr. Terry Wolpaw, vice dean for Educational Affairs, will retire at the end of December after nine years of service to Penn State College of Medicine.

Wolpaw, who also is a professor of medicine and faculty member in the Division of Rheumatology, has long been committed to educating physicians for the 21st century, helping them become skilled, critically thinking and humane caregivers and preparing them to adapt and lead in evolving health care and research environments. She was instrumental in guiding the College of Medicine through the complexities of teaching and learning in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In her role, Wolpaw oversaw undergraduate, graduate and continuing education. She also led the Office of Global Health, the Physician Assistant program, Penn State’s Clinical Simulation Center, the George T. Harrell Health Sciences Library, the Office of Medical Education Research, the Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education and the MD curriculum track at the University Park campus.

“I have valued Terry’s counsel on medical education issues and respected her leadership in creating a strong commitment to our students and learners,” said Dr. Kevin Black, interim dean of the College of Medicine. “She is an innovator and has created programs that will have a lasting impact on the College of Medicine.”

Wolpaw came to the College of Medicine from Case Western University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was associate dean for curricular affairs and professor of medicine, as well as interim director of Case Western’s Center for Medical Education.

She is a national leader in medical education and received one of the first American College of Rheumatology Clinician Scholar Educator career development awards.

During her time at the College of Medicine, she led a team of outstanding medical educators in securing two highly competitive five-year American Medical Association (AMA) Accelerating Change in Medical Education grants totaling $3 million, a rare accomplishment for medical schools across the country. These grants firmly established the College of Medicine as a national leader in medical education, which led to the incorporation of health systems science as a core curricular pillar. They also helped to reframe the Graduate Medical Education systems-based practice competency to serve the health care systems of today and tomorrow. Perhaps most importantly, the grants have opened the door for the College to co-design medical education initiatives with committed partners in its own systems of care, a vision that Wolpaw brought to the College nine years ago. Because of the vision and leadership of the College of Medicine, this has evolved as a leading-edge theme for medical schools across the country.

Another major contribution to pedagogy is her creation and scholarly study of SNAPPS, an innovative approach to patient-case presentations that has been adapted for clinical trainees at all levels both nationally and internationally. SNAPPS is a unique learner-driven presentation tool that builds on education science to facilitate clinical reasoning and inquiry-based learning.

“It has been a privilege to be part of the educational growth and teaching excellence at the College of Medicine,” Wolpaw said. “The COVID-19 pandemic exemplified the extraordinary ability of our faculty, staff and students to think beyond boundaries, adapt and innovate to ensure that our community of learning remains strong. I am very proud to have been a part of Penn State College of Medicine and to have had the support and opportunity to contribute to its educational mission.”

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