Woodward’s influence on medical education grows, as does Mississippi’s
Published on Monday, August 8, 2022
By: Gary Pettus, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, has been empowered to help her home state shape the training of future physicians across the country.
Woodward has been elected chair of the board of directors for the Association of American Medical Colleges, whose members are all 155 accredited U.S. medical schools, as well as 16 accredited Canadian schools, plus more than 70 academic societies and around 400 teaching hospitals and health systems.
For Woodward, it’s an opportunity to bring to bear her state’s concerns and values as it contributes to the course of academic medicine well beyond its borders.
“It’s an honor to help lead an organization that has such a powerful voice in determining the agenda for health care across the country,” said Woodward, whose term begins November 15.
“Academic medical centers like ours are facing enormous issues. Decisions made by the AAMC board have a tremendous impact when it comes to protecting our nation’s health and determining how medicine will be practiced in this country.
“So it’s important that a state like Mississippi has a seat at the national table. I look forward to serving its people in my new role.”
Woodward, who is also a professor of emergency medicine, earned her undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University and, in 1991, her MD from the School of Medicine at UMMC, where she also completed her emergency medicine residency.
She later joined the faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine, and now holds the rank of tenured professor there. As vice chancellor, she has led UMMC since March 1, 2015.
The Carroll County native has represented Mississippi for many years through the AAMC. In 2013, Woodward was appointed as a member of the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body for all medical schools in the United States and Canada; it’s co-sponsored by the AAMC and the American Medical Association.
She became chair of the LCME in July 2017, serving a one-year term, and remained a full member until 2019, for a total tenure of six years. In previous years, Woodward worked on the LCME’s executive committee and as chair of its subcommittee on international relations.
The LCME’s impact on medical education is sweeping. Most state boards of licensure require that medical schools earn LCME accreditation, indicating that, in the awarding of a medical degree, they meet national standards for the areas of institutional setting, educational programs for the MD, medical students, faculty and educational resources.
An institution must be accredited by the LCME in order to receive federal grants for medical education and participate in federal loan programs.
In November 2019, Woodward’s rise in the AAMC continued when she was appointed to its board of directors and began serving as chair-elect of the organization’s Council of Deans, which she began leading one year later.
Woodward became chair-elect of the 19-member AAMC board in November 2021; as she assumes the chairmanship later this year, she will succeed Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun, president of the University of Texas (UT) at Tyler.
“I am grateful to Dr. Woodward for her leadership in each of the AAMC roles and am eager to work with her as board chair starting this November,” said Dr. David J. Skorton, president and CEO of AAMC.
“I am honored to work alongside her,” Skorton said. “Her leadership embodies the AAMC’s mission to lead and serve academic medicine – not only in Mississippi, but also across the country.”
Woodward will have a major say in an organization serving millions of academic medicine employees, including more than 191,000 full-time faculty members, 95,000 medical students, 149,000 resident physicians, and 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.
In 2022, the AAMC merged with Association of Academic Health Centers and the Association of Academic Health Centers International; this enlarged the AAMC’s U.S. membership and extended its impact to international academic health centers.