Temple Times Online Edition
    SEPTEMBER 2, 2004
NewsEventsArchivesPhotosStaffLinksTemple Home

Unprecedented faculty recruitment drive
at Medical School reflects stability, spirit

Over the past two years, the School of Medicine has recruited new faculty at a level unprecedented in the history of the school and well above the national average.


Remarkably, a significant number of these new physicians are coming to Temple and Philadelphia from out of state at a time when the region is struggling with monumental malpractice rates, particularly for subspecialties.

Since fall 2002, after the arrival of new Medical School dean, John M. Daly, 119 new faculty members have joined the school, with 16 more pending. The total number of full-time faculty before Daly arrived was 345, and is projected to increase to 437 next year, a net increase of 27 percent. Thirty-seven percent of recently recruited faculty members are from outside Pennsylvania.

In the late 1990s, the Medical School faculty suffered losses from a wave of early retirement and the divestiture of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, which had served as Temple’s children’s hospital.

“It’s extremely hard to recruit new faculty,” Daly said. “They’re wary about moving their families, and the healthcare environment in Philadelphia is competitive and litigious. But they want to come to Philadelphia and they want to come to Temple. It’s because the quality of life and the schools in this region are good, and the mission and camaraderie of the faculty at Temple is clear. They’re looking for growth, stability and academic excellence.”

One subspecialist, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon, joined Temple in June from the University of Oklahoma.

“I came to Temple because it was a wonderful opportunity in a quality medical center with tremendous growth potential,” said Christopher Loftus, a professor and chairman of neurosurgery at Temple. “The existing faculty members are strong and well-qualified. I hope to build on this base and create a department of national and international prestige.”

Daly and Michael Duncan, CEO of the Temple University Physician Practice Plan, note common threads among the new faculty and their reasons for coming to Temple.

“They see a rejuvenated leadership at both the Medical School and the Health System,” Duncan said.

“They sense a palpable mission and spirit at Temple — to educate superior physicians, to improve health care in the North Philadelphia community and to expand our research enterprise — and they want to deliver on this mission,” Daly added.

While the majority of new recruits have come from other schools in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, the number from outside this market is still significant — and it’s intentional.

“We wanted to mix experts trained in the great academic tradition of Philadelphia with those who could bring innovation from different states and health systems because it would be the best way to achieve not just growth but dynamic growth,” Daly explained.

Growth was foremost on Daly’s mind when he arrived at Temple two years ago. He immediately began working with Duncan on building the faculty and the patient practice.

“The economic engine in an academic medical center is productive physicians,” Duncan said. “But when I arrived at Temple, the faculty was already extremely productive. The only way for us to grow would be to bring in new doctors.”

“We tend to attract a certain kind of physician here. Clinically minded academics: high-energy doctors who want to see a lot of patients,” Duncan said. “They’re very committed to the community and improving health.”

Other new faculty members include Joel Richter, professor and chairman of medicine, who joined Temple from the Cleveland Clinic; Charles Jungreis, professor and chairman of radiology, from the University of Pittsburgh; and Nae Dun, professor and chairman of pharmacology from East Tennessee State University.
The hires come in the midst of a Universitywide effort to recruit top scholars from leading institutions from around the nation. Temple has 106 faculty positions to fill, with 70 new teachers and researchers expected to be on campus this fall.

“This represents a very significant moment in the history of the University,” President David Adamany told The Philadelphia Inquirer last month. “It’s a moment of major change in the faculty, and the faculty are the most important component of the University.”

Temple has committed $2.5 million to support the research interests of newly recruited faculty; is embarking on a multi-year, $20 million effort to upgrade and renovate laboratories and research facilities; and is offering appointments to academic couples and making joint appointments in multiple schools and colleges to attract leading scholars.

-Eryn Jelesiewicz

Related stories:

Boom crop of new faculty hires arrives (9/2/04)

Recruitment drive is bringing the best to North Philadelphia (5/6/04)