2021 State of the School of Medicine Address

October 18, 2021 and October 19, 2021
Virtual Session
David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
James Byard/WUSTL Photos

Washington University in St. Louis’ School of Medicine’s Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Dean, David H. Perlmutter, MD, gave his annual State of the School Address virtually on Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. CST and Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. CST. Dean Perlmutter spoke about the School of Medicine’s progress over the past year as well as the school’s future. He also thanked employees for their dedication and perseverance as we continued to achieve our missions.

A recording of his address is available online

Leadership lessons from the pandemic

What I’ve come to learn during this crisis is how much people can do when they have the kind of purpose we have, and also, the kind of team we have. We realized, because of the isolation, how much we want to be around our colleagues. What I saw was people wanting to be here, to be able to contribute as part of a team and that deep need we have in the health care business for providing and helping other people. That’s why all of us went into health care. I noticed for many of us, for those who have been in the business for many years, this was a year we understood why we love being doctors, being health care workers, being able to help other people. 

We learned big lessons about how important communication was. This report is a part of communicating to all of you. I get to see all of the things that are happening because it comes through my office, but not all of you see all of the things that are going on around here and with the rest of the community, and it really is amazing.

Communication was so important to keep everybody here as safe as possible. I feel like that was one of the main things we did here and focused on: keeping everyone safe and healthy. That was a big lesson. There was a moment early in the crisis when we worried about whether we had enough personal protective equipment. We made a risky decision to use more personal protective equipment when we didn’t know what was going to happen in the supply chain because it was so important to keep everyone safe and, luckily, we did not run out of PPE. We’re going to always do these things to keep you all safe. We know from the data – and this is true here and at other academic medical centers – there has been very little transmission from patients to providers, and it mostly occurs in the community. That is a testament to how all of you function here: trying to be safe and take care of the community.

It’s been an amazing year and I want to close now again thanking all of you for what you bring. We’re one of the best and it’s about all of you.

-Dean David H. Perlmutter at the 2021 State of the School of Medicine Address