The University of Texas System: Innovations in Medical Education




Ruth-Marie E. Fincher, M.D., is Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine. After earning her M.D. degree and completing residency training in Internal Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, she practiced medicine for five years before joining the faculty of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) in 1984. She served as Director of Student Education for the Department of Medicine before becoming Associate Dean for Curriculum for the School of Medicine in 1992 and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs in 1994.


Dr. Fincher has published extensively in the medical education literature, particularly related to students' specialty choice, clinical assessment, and scholarship of education/teaching. She has been recognized as an outstanding educator as evidenced by receipt of the Medical College of Georgia's "Medical Educator of the Year Award" for eight sequential years, the coveted Alpha Omega Alpha/AAMC Distinguished Teacher Award (1996), and the MCG Outstanding Faculty Award (2000). In 2003 she received the Daniel S. Tosteson Award for Leadership in Medical Education.


She brings national perspectives to her local activities as a result of service as president of the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM; 1991), chair of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Step 2 Medicine Test Material Development Committee (1996-98), chair of the AAMC's Research in Medical Education (RIME) Committee (1995-96), chair of the Group on Educational Affairs (GEA; 1997-98), and chair of the GEA Scholarship Project (1999-2003). She is a member of the Board of Directors of Alpha Omega Alpha, the core committee of the International Institute for Medical Education, and governor of the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Physicians (2003-2007).


Michael E. Whitcomb, M.D., received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University (1961) and his M.D. from the University of Cincinnati (1965). He completed an internal medicine residency and a fellowship in pulmonary medicine at Walter Reed General Hospital. He served as chief of the pulmonary disease services at Tripler Army Hospital and Walter Reed General Hospital before leaving the Army Medical Corps with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1974.


From 1974 to 1977 he was a member of the pulmonary disease division at Boston University. From 1977 to 1982 was chief of the pulmonary disease division at The Ohio State University. During that time he also served as associate chair of the department of medicine.


In 1981 he was appointed associate dean for clinical affairs, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, and medical director of the University Hospitals. During the academic year 1984-85 Dr. Whitcomb was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow of the Institute of Medicine (Congressional Fellowship Program). He subsequently served as assistant vice president for health services at The Ohio State University (1985-86), and as dean of the schools of medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia (1986-88) and the University of Washington (1988-90).


He returned to Ohio State in 1992 to establish the university's Center for Health Policy Studies. In 1994 he moved to the American Medical Association as director of the division of graduate medical education; he assumed his current position at the Association of American Medical Colleges on 1 March 1995.


In November 2001 he assumed the additional responsibility of serving as editor-in-chief of Academic Medicine. He has recently been appointed as the director of the AAMC Institute for Improving Medical Education. Dr. Whitcomb has published over 100 papers covering a wide range of topics (clinical medicine, medical education, and health policy issues).


In addition to teaching and conducting scholarly work in clinical medicine, he has held faculty appointments in the health care management departments of two universities and has taught health policy in the graduate programs conducted by those departments.