Chancellor and dean emeritus named Case Western Reserve Distinguished Alumni

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

August 11, 2011

Aaron Lazare, MD  

Chancellor and Dean emeritus Aaron Lazare, MD, is the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). The award recognizes a graduate who has achieved extraordinary distinction in a career rooted in education at CWRU. Dr. Lazare will accept the award at a ceremony to be held during the university’s annual alumni weekend in October. 

A 1961 graduate of the CWRU School of Medicine, Lazare was attracted to the institution by its collaborative and collegial educational style, which was described to him as “an experiment in medical education to demonstrate that students who are treated with respect will treat their patients with respect.”

Coming from Harvard University to UMass Medical School in 1982 to become the chair of psychiatry, Lazare was appointed dean and chancellor in 1991. Under his leadership, excellence in curriculum and dignity for all learners were the goals for every educational program at the Medical School. Based on his formative experience at CWRU, Lazare established an entirely new field of scholarly inquiry, becoming a pioneer in reshaping the doctor-patient relationship—transcending the dynamic of shame and humiliation often found there—through understanding, communication and respect. Those principles are now foundational to the educational experience at UMass Medical School.

Throughout his career as a clinician, educator, scholar and leader, Lazare has embodied the CWRU mission to improve people's lives through preeminent research, education and creative endeavors. One of the nation's top 25 medical schools, the CWRU School of Medicine counts among its former and current faculty and alumni eight Nobel laureates, six members of the Institute of Medicine, two members of the National Academy of Sciences, two U.S. Surgeons General and the first woman director of the Centers for Disease Control. “Case’s medical school has nearly 7000 alumni,” said Lazare. “It’s a great honor to be the one chosen for this award.”

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