Podcast: Leading the way to tuition-free medical school opportunities

In this episode of the "Keeping Up With the Radiologists" podcast series brought to you by AuntMinnie.com in collaboration with Penn Radiology, Saurabh (Harry) Jha, MD; Mitch Schnall, MD, PhD; and Hanna Zafar, MD, interview Robert "Bob" Grossman, MD, in tell-all fashion.

For those who do not know him, Grossman is a New York neuroradiologist whose career evolved from radiologist into chief executive officer of NYU Langone Health and dean of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, formerly New York University School of Medicine. Grossman has been described as a major force in the American Society of Neuroradiology.

When Grossman was named dean of the NYU School of Medicine and chief executive officer of NYU Langone Health in 2007, his colleagues at the American Journal of Neuroradiology said few realized the important national and societal awards Grossman has been given and the national committees on which he has served.

Now going on 17 years later: "What I tell people: You have to be prepared and prepare yourself. And then when the opportunities avail themselves, take them," Grossman said on this edition of "Keeping Up With the Radiologists" podcast. "But the most important thing, in my opinion, and something that I always mentor people about is being in the moment. ... I was actually very happy in my career as a neuroradiologist and section chief." 

Grossman, a distinguished Louis Marx Professor of Radiology and researcher, joined NYU Langone in 2001 as chair of the department of radiology and professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and physiology and neuroscience. Grossman's name was added to the School of Medicine's marquee in 2019 to honor his contributions, including his 12-year journey and success with developing and establishing tuition-free medical school opportunities in the New York City region. 

This podcast pieces together a short scrapbook of NYU's School of Medicine history as an "unbelievable place" in the 1950s to having "lost its way" in recent decades past. What Grossman shares is timely as many hospital leaders today face financial crisis and confront modern healthcare dilemmas.

"In the 70s the finances of the city weren't great," Grossman reflected. "The university had to sell off the whole uptown campus to survive. And then they did this ill-fated merger ... long story short, when I started in 2001 as head of radiology, they didn't understand what they had here.

"It was an interesting and very complex culture here that had sort of gone upside down," Grossman continued. "It took a lot of courage to set goals, to set metrics, to hold people accountable, all the things that you have to do, and then have a very big vision, and have enough people buy into that vision."

  • What's the difference between a dean and a CEO?
  • How people should be like protons.
  • Tuition-free education: How is that financially possible?

This edition of the Keeping Up With the Radiologists podcast explores the roots of Grossman's strong opinions about alleviating the debt burden of medical school education that keeps students from even attempting to enter the field.

"Why don't other schools do it? Well, it's hard and you have to be focused on it," Grossman explained. "And if a dean is four-and-a-half years in duration, you're not going to do that." He continued, "I had an opportunity on Long Island to do a full asset merger with what was then called Winthrop Hospital. ... Our goal was to give students an opportunity to fulfill their aspirations." The story continues in this episode of the "Keeping Up With the Radiologists" podcast. Listen now.

Impressions from this episode:
{04:32:20} About business school
{07:46:13} Courage to go against conventional wisdom
{08:27:12} Historical reflections, NYU
{11:29:08} Cultivating leadership
{12:52:15} Learning from experience
{17:23:20} Mavericks and conformists
{17:54:14} Administrative leadership
{18:52:01} Adopting new ideas
{19:42:00} Veto proof majority
{20:54:15} Cultural change
{21:04:10} Tuition free education, medical school
{23:55:01} Medical school debt
{25:52:03} Primary care vs radiology
{26:53:19} Build a medical school
{30:41:12} Screening med school applicants
{33:38:20} Medical school loan repayment
{35:04:12} Crisis management, Hurricane Sandy
{45:07:00} Radiology departments turning out executives
{49:01:22} Time management
{58:04:04} Careerists

Saurabh (Harry) Jha
Mitch Schnall
Hanna Zafar
Kenneth Langone
NYU Langone
Winthrop Hospital
Hurricane Sandy

Special guest:
Robert "Bob" Grossman, MD, chief executive officer of NYU Langone Health and dean of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

Saurabh (Harry) Jha, MBBS, is an associate professor of radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Jha obtained a master’s degree in health policy research from the Leonard Davis Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his medical degree from the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s, King’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals. Jha developed Value of Imaging, a set of radiology educational resources.

Mitchell Schnall, MD, PhD, is a physician at Penn Medicine in its abdominal imaging services program. Chair of the department of radiology and the Eugene P. Pendergrass Professor of Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine, Schnall has served as the group co-chair of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group since its founding in 2012. He is an international leader in translational biomedical and imaging research, working throughout his career across the interface between basic imaging science and clinical medicine to ensure effective integration of radiology research with other medical disciplines.

Hanna Zafar, MD, is associate professor of radiology at Penn Medicine. Zafar's focus is in the identification of gaps at the intersection of clinical medicine and radiology care systems and the design of novel interventions that positively impact the practice of evidence-based radiology. Zafar joined the faculty in the department of radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine after completing her radiology residency and abdominal imaging fellowship from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 2008.

This episode of Keeping Up With the Radiologists is brought to you by AuntMinnie.com in collaboration with Penn RadiologyThe series is also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Check back for new episodes!

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