Category: Children's Health, Health Magazine

Title:Q&A with new dean for medical education Lee Jones, MD

Author: Jane Varner Malhotra
Date Published: November 8, 2021

This summer Dean Jones joined Georgetown from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, where he served as health sciences clinical professor of psychiatry and associate dean for students. He is a nationally recognized leader in areas of inclusivity, learning environments, and academic medicine. He earned his medical degree at Columbia and his undergraduate at Dartmouth College. I sat down with him in early August to see how things were going.

How has your first week been?

We welcomed two classes so far. The first-year students arrived last week, and I didn’t know my way around campus so I just followed them to LA6. I thought I’d do the same thing yesterday for the second-year class but then I realized they hadn’t been to campus since they interviewed. This class was entirely virtual until the start of their second year. Incredible.

Coming from California, I was surprised I didn’t see any flip flops in the crowd. I was glad I wore a tie for orientation!

What would you want Georgetown alumni in health care to know about you?

I’m a firm believer in interprofessional education, team building, and collaborative care. In consultation liaison psychiatry, we take care of people in hospitals in cancer treatment, surgery, or with a preexisting psychiatric condition. I couldn’t do my job without the entire team—nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy—because that’s how I get the total picture of what’s going on.

Will you be seeing patients in this new role?

I’ve been advised to settle in before I start seeing patients. I will probably take six months to see how things fall into place. I’m one of those people who gets up at 4:30 every morning to exercise and be with the dogs, and then I come in to work. I’ll do some teaching, and get to know the different teams here.

Do you have a vision for what the student experience could become at Georgetown?

My work nationally at the Association of American Medical Colleges has been focused on the learning environment and the student experience around inclusion, equity, and diversity. I hope to increase the sharing and dispersal of what Georgetown does so well. Our first-year class is the most diverse in medical school history. As the classes get more diverse, we need supports. People tend to think of diversity in terms of race and ethnicity and that’s very important, but there’s also geography, ability, economic standing.

This year we had almost 18,000 applications, out of around 60,000 across the whole country. Almost 1 of 3 applied to Georgetown! We have the responsibility to make sure the people who come here can handle the rigors, but also be the people that they are. How do we create a learning environment that’s welcoming, inclusive, and ultimately supportive, that holds onto the part of them who we want taking care of someone we love? We need to keep moving forward with Georgetown programs like the Racial Justice Committee for Change.

What would surprise our readers about you?

I’m a major extrovert, but I’m also a major homebody. My mother lives with my husband and me. If you came to my house you’d meet our English Mastiff and two Saint Bernards. I love sitting on the couch with my dogs and a cup of tea listening to music. That’s over 400 pounds of dogs, by the way.

More from this Issue

Children in masks

In recent months, pediatrician Elizabeth Chawla (M’09), MD, FAAP, has treated two children for a disorder she had not encountered previously—a phobia of vomiting, resulting in a refusal to eat.

Parent and child walking illustration

1 of 1 Next Slide Prvious Slide Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center’s youngest patients receive research-guided, holistic care throughout the cancer journey Jeffrey…

Teddy in blanket

Answering the call to serve families in need When Staceyann Smith, MD, MPH (NHS’09), began practicing pediatrics in the Bronx, New York City’s northernmost borough, she knew she was choosing…