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Kate Lapane, PhD, associate dean of clinical and population health

        Kate Lapane, PhD, associate dean of clinical and population health

What is your role at UMass Medical School and how does it support the overall institutional mission?
My research focuses on patients often systematically excluded from clinical trials—frail, elderly, nursing home residents. My goal is to conduct novel methodologic research to improve our ability to understand the beneficial and potential adverse effects of medications in the aging population.

As associate dean, I have worked closely with leadership and the faculty to align the graduate education enterprise for clinical and population health research with the expertise and vision for future research excellence at UMass. Together, we’ve created a training environment which brings together clinicians, epidemiology trainees, and those from the basic sciences to collaborate in learning. In addition, our team has worked extensively to expand the number of training grants to support exciting clinical and translational science and to improve the diversity of the biomedical sciences graduate student population.

What part of your job brings you the greatest satisfaction?
Although finding the sweet spot where the education and research missions work together synergistically has been rewarding, I derive the greatest satisfaction from seeing our students passionate about their research, setting goals and ultimately achieving their dreams. With the spectacular students at UMass, this happens often!

Why did you choose UMass Medical School and what keeps you here?
That is an easy question (and my answer is the same for both)! Without a doubt, the outstanding faculty. When I was a trainee, I admired UMass faculty—Rob Goldberg, Judy Ockene, and Jerry Gurwitz in particular—because so often I was citing their groundbreaking research in my own work! Then, junior faculty I know and admire chose UMass and were doing extremely well here. I knew from their experience that UMass had a nurturing culture committed to facilitating the careers of the next generation of top scientists. This was a “must have” on my list. I heard that UMass recruited Catarina Kiefe and I kept an eye on how quickly UMass built the top notch Quantitative Health Sciences department. When the opportunity arose, the decision was clear.