Rabalais sabbatical

Dear Colleagues:

I am planning a six-month sabbatical, scheduled to begin January 2015. This sabbatical will allow me time to focus on medical education.

During the past decade, our department has invested heavily to bring innovative medical education programs to all levels of medical learners.  Our efforts have been recognized—most recently by the 2014 UofL Paul Weber Award for Teaching—but our work is far from done.

Because of the overall increased understanding of how people learn, the study of cognitive neuroscience, and the explosion of medical knowledge required of physicians, virtually every organization in the medical profession is re-evaluating how we educate physicians.

It is critical for us to continue the significant momentum we have created within the Department of Pediatrics. To this end, I spent the past year learning about model medical education programs’ use of technology and new insights in cognitive science. I’ve conferred with educators at Stanford, the University of California at San Francisco, The Cleveland Clinic and Harvard University.

Now, I want to immerse myself deeper. My plan is to spend the first half of 2015 engaged in a focused, intense experience, learning firsthand how these recognized leaders are transforming medical education. This is an opportunity for me to grow as an educator and the department to continue the trajectory of excellence established by Drs.  John Roberts  and Kim Boland and their outstanding team.

In my absence, Dr. Charles Woods will serve as Acting Chair for the department.  A very respected educator and administrator in his own right, Dr. Woods has my complete confidence to take on this role and to perform admirably. He and I will work together closely during the next five months to insure a smooth transition.

The process of transforming a 22-year-old lay person into a fully capable physician is one of my great passions, as well as an important part of my job as chairman of the UofL Department of Pediatrics. I am very thankful to Drs. Ganzel, Dunn and Willihnganz for this great opportunity to focus exclusively on this important work.


Gerard P. Rabalais, MD, MHA
Professor and Chairman
Billy F. Andrews Endowed Chair of Pediatrics