Michele Pugnaire, champion of medical education at UMMS, to step down from senior associate dean role

‘Driving force’ in medical education will remain on the faculty as professor emerita and continue her teaching roles

UMass Medical School Communications

April 07, 2017
  Michele P. Pugnaire, MD

Michele P. Pugnaire, MD

  Anne Larkin, MD, FACS

Anne Larkin, MD

  Melissa A. Fischer, MD, MEd

Melissa A. Fischer, MD

Michele P. Pugnaire, MD, will step down from the role of senior associate dean for educational affairs in July, according to an announcement by Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine. Dr. Pugnaire will remain on the faculty as professor emerita and continue her teaching roles, as well as keeping her role as the School of Medicine sponsor of our Dominican Republic Batey Health Initiative.

“For more than 35 years, Michele Pugnaire has been a tireless, creative and forward-thinking member of our academic community,” Dr. Flotte said. “For the last decade, she has been the driving force in many of our successes in creating and refining curriculum, shaping the academic program to meet new challenges and, importantly, championing our highly effective moves into new simulation and teaching technologies. Her accomplishments have played a significant role in the national distinction of our educational programs.”

Pugnaire’s achievements at UMass Medical School since completing her residency in family medicine there in 1984 are well-known to its academic and clinical community, and share a common theme: how to continuously improve the educational experience to make better doctors, nurses, scientists and teachers. From her time as course director of the hugely influential Longitudinal Preceptor Program; to her leadership of the family medicine clerkship and pioneering efforts in student advising; to her work over the last 10 years in the development and implementation of simulation and experiential learning, Pugnaire has been unwavering in her commitment to ensuring that education and educational development is at the center of all we do here, Flotte said.

“As our educational enterprise has grown in size and complexity, Dr. Pugnaire enthusiastically engaged with the challenges that come with growth, and in doing so, ensured the success of initiatives that have helped make life-sciences education more accessible, meaningful and relevant to our students,” he said.

As an administrative leader, Pugnaire has many notable milestones in her career, including the recruitment, mentoring, nurturing and success of the educational affairs team, especially the associate deans; and the development and implementation of the Interprofessional Center for Experiential Learning and Simulation (iCELS).

Her work in the profession includes roles with the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Worcester District Medical Society (including more than 20 years as chair of the Scholarship Committee and, three years ago, as Orator), the Boston Medical Library, the AAMC, AMA and UMMS, as the leader of its accreditation review team. Recognition of Pugnaire’s work has come from these same organizations and a number of others, including AOA, the AAFP and, in 2014, Chancellor Michael F. Collins, in the form of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service.

Anne Larkin, MD, FACS, vice chair and associate professor of surgery; assistant dean for graduate medical education; and since last year, director of the LCME accreditation effort, will serve as interim senior associate dean for educational affairs. Flotte said Dr. Larkin’s commitment to teaching, training and professional development, including a number of roles in her department and in regional and national organizations, along with her deep familiarity with UMass Medical School, where she has served as an attending surgeon with distinction since 2001, make her an exceptionally capable successor for Pugnaire.

Melissa A. Fischer, MD, MEd, professor of medicine and associate dean for undergraduate medical education, has been appointed to serve as associate dean for academic innovation and iCELS. In her expanded role, Dr. Fischer will contribute her vision and expertise in curriculum and academic programming to the ongoing growth and advancement of simulation and experiential learning across all of our educational programs. 

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