School of medicine

School Notes: School of Medicine
September/October 2014

Robert J. Alpern | http://medicine.yale.edu

Dean appointed to third term

Robert J. Alpern, dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine, has been appointed to a third five-year term as dean of Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Alpern’s tenure at YSM is widely regarded as one of the most productive in the school’s recent history. His commitment to scientific excellence has facilitated the establishment of two new departments and many collaborative programs and centers, as well as the successful recruitment of numerous leading physician-scientists and administrators. Since his arrival in 2004 from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he served as dean, YSM’s faculty have been recipients of the Lasker Prize, the Gairdner Prize (three times), the Breakthrough Prize, and the Nobel Prize (twice), among others. Additionally, YSM has expanded its physical footprint with the construction of the Amistad Building and acquisition of more than 450,000 square feet of lab space on Yale’s West Campus. Alpern’s tenure has seen the reorganization and expansion of Yale Medical Group, the faculty clinical practice, and a heightened commitment to medical education, visible in the establishment of the Teaching and Learning Center and a redesigned medical curriculum, which will be introduced in June 2015. Alpern’s third term as dean began July 1.

Aspirin cuts pancreatic cancer risk

Continued use of low- or regular-dose aspirin could cut a person’s risk of pancreatic cancer by half, according to a study by a team of researchers at the Yale School of Public Health and the Yale Cancer Center led by Harvey A. Risch, professor of epidemiology. One in 60 adults will get pancreatic cancer, and the five-year survival rate is less that 5 percent. Study subjects—362 cancer cases and 690 controls—were recruited between 2005 and 2009 from 30 hospitals around Connecticut. The results of the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that regular aspirin users had a 48 percent reduction in their risk of pancreatic cancer, but the earlier a person started regularly taking low-dose aspirin, the greater the pancreatic cancer risk reduction. Those who took aspirin regularly for more than ten years saw a 60 percent reduction in their risk.

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