New TCOM dean has bold vision for medical education

By Alex Branch

Flip Web
 
Frank Filipetto, DO, has accepted the position of Dean of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) at UNT Health Science Center after a nationwide search.

Dr. Filipetto, who joined the Health Science Center in 2011, has led the nationally recognized medical school on an interim basis for 18 months.

Dr. Filipetto said he was proud to continue to lead TCOM as it evolves to meet the rapidly shifting needs of the health care system in the United States.

“Our students, alumni, faculty and staff are tremendously proud of TCOM’s rich history of leadership in osteopathic medicine and our success in defining and producing the providers of the future,” Dr. Filipetto said. “We will work together to prepare our talented students with the skillset to change the way health care is delivered in the future. We owe this to our society.”

Dr. Filipetto distinguished himself as the top candidate during the dean search, said Charles Taylor, PharmD, UNTHSC Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

“Dr. Filipetto has a bold vision for medical education deeply focused on student success,” Dr. Taylor said. “His desire to strengthen our partnerships will benefit TCOM and the Health Science Center. I am confident his leadership will accelerate our position as a leading medical school in the country.”

Dr. Filipetto has been recognized at UNTHSC for his academic leadership, mentorship of students and faculty and for raising TCOM’s profile in Fort Worth. His wife, Janet Lieto, DO, is a TCOM faculty member, and his daughter,Francesca,is a TCOM student.

As health care changes, so must medical schools. Dr. Filipetto said. Traditionally, the foundation of medical education in the United States has been a two-pillar approach focused on science and clinical care.

However, Dr. Filipetto envisions the integration of a third pillar of Health Systems Science, which would prepare students to understand health care economics, data and new technologies, quality improvement, leadership, entrepreneurship and improved health care delivery models.

“It’s not just about graduating the smartest students,” Dr. Filipetto said.  “Twenty-first century medical education must be about providing students with marketable skills to lead the change in health care that medical education has traditionally not done well. TCOM has always been a leader in creating innovative learning strategies, and we will continue to lead.”

Promoting student and physician wellness also is an area of emphasis. Studies show that more than 50 percent of physicians nationally meet at least one criteria for burnout, Dr. Filipetto said. That leads to more medical errors, more physician turnover and less productivity. Addressing provider wellness can assist in improving healthcare and reducing unnecessary costs.

“Our students are the next generation of physicians, and we must support and prepare them to thrive in and transform health care as they leave the Health Science Center,” he said.

Prior to joining UNTHSC, Dr. Filipetto served as acting chairman of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s School of Osteopathic Medicine’s Family Medicine Department. Dr. Filipetto earned his osteopathic medicine degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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