“Dr. Martin has been a wonderful leader of the Medical School and a real consensus builder among all of the Harvard-affiliated hospitals. He has been the glue for many of the interinstitutional programs that have made Harvard a national leader in clinical care and research.”
Martin also moved quickly to improve diversity, initiating a review of assistant and associate professors that resulted in many well-deserved promotions of women and minorities. Soon after, the Executive Council on Diversity developed a uniform plan to monitor recruitment of minorities in all HMS residency programs. In 2000, Martin and hospital leaders agreed to adopt a more aggressive and collaborative approach for recruiting senior-level minorities to the faculty.
The dean also increased diversity in leadership positions at the School. During his tenure, two female science chairs were appointed, Carla Shatz, head of the Department of Neurobiology, and Joan Brugge, head of the Department of Cell Biology, the School’s largest basic science department. Martin also appointed Nancy Andrews the first dean for basic sciences and graduate studies, and he named Cynthia Walker the first female executive dean for administration. In appointing Joan Reede as dean for diversity and community partnership, he was also naming the first female African-American dean in the history of the University.
To nurture a collaborative culture among faculty, the School offered seed grants that paired researchers on the School’s research Quadrangle with colleagues at the hospitals. Important collaborations grew. As early as 1998, the JDF Center for Islet Cell Transplantation at Harvard Medical School was created through a $20 million, five-year grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation that supported more than 30 researchers from across several Harvard institutions.
In 1999, more than 800 faculty across the entire Harvard Medical community were pulled together to create the Dana–Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, and the National Cancer Institute awarded it a $50 million grant to fund 15 core facilities, creating the largest cancer research enterprise in the country.
Many more collaborations developed. In 2000, the Harvard Clinical Research Institute was launched, a partnership between HMS and Caregroup and Partners HealthCare to create a single gateway for industry-sponsored clinical research. The Harvard Medical School/Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics also opened that year, and in 2001, the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair (HCNR) was created with an anonymous $37.5 million gift. HCNR links more than 700 neuroscientists across all of the affiliated institutions in an effort to find new therapies for disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Martin also looked to the power of computing to link the more than 10,000 Medical School faculty. An electronic bridge was created in December 1999 when a robust intranet, eCommons, was developed to give all faculty quick access to a variety of resources, including the electronic medical and scientific literature at the Countway Library of Medicine. Computing was also used to advance medical education. In 2001, the MyCourses web portal was introduced, allowing students access to an array of course materials.
To improve medical education, Martin also shepherded the first comprehensive review of the HMS MD curriculum in 20 years. Redesigned courses have been launched over the past year and will roll out over the next few years, including changes in the hospital-based clerkships. Martin also helped introduce the combined MD–MBA program that enrolled students for the first time last year.
Martin made remarkable gains in building research facilities that would help foster interdisciplinary and collaborative work. In 2003, the School opened the 525,000-square-foot New Research Building, the largest academic building in the history of the University. The new building helped ease space limitations created by many new programs, including the first entirely new department in more than 20 years, the Department of Systems Biology.
When Martin steps down in July, he will focus his attention on the efforts of the HCNR. President Bok will convene a faculty advisory committee this fall to begin the search process for a new dean, with the expectation that the ultimate selection will be made by the next president of Harvard.