The Lewis Katz School of Medicine celebrates a new dean: Amy J. Goldberg, MD, FACS, the George S. and Louise C. Peters Chair of Surgery and Temple University Health System Surgeon-in-Chief.
As stated in Temple University Provost Gregory Mandel’s announcement, Dr. Goldberg served as interim dean for 18 months.
“Interim, however, does not reflect Dr. Amy Goldberg’s character,” said Temple University President Dr. Jason Wingard. “Her commitment to leading Katz to best-in-class status was absolute from moment one.”
Tenacity – and Temple – are in Amy Goldberg’s blood.
She was born and raised Temple. Her parents were enthusiastic Temple alums.
After medical school, she landed a spot in her top-choice residency program: general surgery at Temple.
Then, in 1991, a fantastic first faculty position at Temple.
Dr. Goldberg exceeded expectations in that role, and in typical Goldberg fashion, in every promotion thereafter to positions including Director of Temple’s General Surgery Residency Program; Chief of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care; and Chair, Department of Surgery.
Dr. Wingard calls Dr. Goldberg “a keenly intelligent leader who sees opportunity everywhere and is motivated by what is fair, right, and best.
“Dr. Goldberg has cross disciplinary expertise and comprehensive command of operational functions at the school – and the savvy to lead it to new heights of innovation and difference-making,” he said.
Time to Reimagine
Intensely committed to problem-solving and potential-reaching -- be it for patients, students, faculty, or entire schools and communities – Dr. Goldberg is quick to assess a situation, craft a game plan, and stay with it. Until she sees things going in the right direction, she will not rest.
“Remarkable progress has been made at Katz these last 18 months with Amy Goldberg at the helm,” said Provost Mandel.
She bolstered the school’s commitment to building an inclusive environment for students, staff, and faculty.
She reconfigured the MD program curriculum for better sequencing of content, smoother transitions between phases, and improved overall continuity. Appointed deans to oversee specific phases, along with dedicated academic coaches and a career-advising dean – all part of her bold reorganization and expansion of the offices of medical education and student support for MD program.
In addition, she launched a methodical comb-through of MD program lecture content to delete “ist” material (racist, sexist, age-ist, etc.).
And added a vital new component to the curriculum: POCUS, point of care ultrasound, a pocket-sized diagnostic tool that shows moving images of what is happening under a patient’s skin.
“All clinicians will be using POCUS someday – and Katz students will be ready,” she said.
In fact, they are not just learning POCUS. They own a POCUS device. Dr. Goldberg worked with the school’s office of Institutional Advancement to secure a gift enabling a brand-new device to be placed in the hands of every MD candidate in the Classes of 2024, 2025, and 2026.
In summary, Dr. Goldberg has launched lots of initiatives with a single throughline: to serve students better. It’s part of her broader vision “to ‘reimagine’ the student experience at Katz.
As detailed in a March 2022 article in Nature Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, never has the pressure on medical students been greater – and their health worse. Research shows that while students begin medical school with better mental health better than their peers, the situation ‘quickly reverses, with medical student mental health ultimately becoming worse than control populations.’”
“This is unacceptable – and preventable,” said Dr. Goldberg, who is adamant to set Katz on a fast track to a desperately needed cultural shift in medical education toward wellness and wholeness for students.
“If we don’t take good care of students, how can we expect them to take good care of patients?” she said. “At Katz, we want students to flourish and thrive.”
Michael Young, the CEO of Temple University Health System, appreciates Dr. Goldberg’s “forward-thinking observations – and astute ability to see the global picture as well as the details.”
Mr. Young and Dr. Goldberg partner to oversee Temple’s academic medical enterprise. Their collaboration has already advanced several strategic aims – including more deeply integrating Fox Chase Cancer Center deeply into operations and the medical school and health system. Both are excited about the mutual benefits a closer alliance will yield for patient care, medical education, research, and community connection.
She’s especially eager to see historically disenfranchised minority patients in Temple University Hospital’s care enroll in Fox Chase’s cutting-edge trials for new modes of cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. “Better access, equal access. That is essential,” said Dr. Goldberg, who will prioritize the research enterprise at the school and whose own research has focused on breast cancer risk in minority families, intervention for critically ill patients, and radiographic assessment for early identification of complications from penetrating trauma.
A Director of the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Goldberg provides leadership at the national level – lecturing, teaching, and writing. Her work appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association and other leading journals, and she serves on editorial and review boards for key publications such as The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. She has also contributed more than a dozen chapters to textbooks, including The Trauma Manual: Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Fifth Edition (2019).
Dr. Goldberg is a trauma surgeon. She spent 13 years leading Temple’s trauma service. She maintained trauma on-call duty during her time as interim dean -- and intends to keep her hand in going forward. “It’s a big a part of who I am,” she says.
A long time ago, Dr. Goldberg learned that “a single bullet can inflict catastrophic damage on an entire community,” as she told the Huffington Post.
She has treated thousands of gun violence victims, saving life and limb. But right from the get-go she felt dissatisfied, driven to do something to prevent the carnage, keep people out of her trauma bay.
The community-focused anti-gun violence programs that Dr. Goldberg created -- Cradle to Grave, Fighting Chance, and other unique initiatives -- have touched the lives of thousands of Philadelphians – also drawing the attention of national media like National Public Radio, ABC World News, CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
These programs have also earned her multiple honors, such as the 2019 Philadelphia Award recognizing extraordinary civic commitment and social responsibility to the city -- which Dr. Goldberg humbly accepted “on behalf of people who can’t necessarily speak for themselves.”
Dr. Goldberg’s surgical acumen and teaching skills are showcase material too. Best Doctors in America; The Great Teacher Award (2018), Temple University’s highest teaching honor; the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2006); multiple Golden Apples. Two classes at the medical school dedicated their yearbooks to her.
And, in 2021, the American College of Surgeons, an organization with international membership, named Dr. Goldberg a “Master Surgical Educator.” Only a tiny percent of surgeons across the globe are so designated —and only a small percentage are women.
Dr. Goldberg is accustomed to being an outlier. Women are scarce in surgery and in medical leadership. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, women make up just 22 percent of practicing surgeons and just 22 percent of U.S. medical school deans.
Dr. Goldberg, a 30-year Temple veteran, was the first woman to serve as Temple’s chair of surgery (2015) and now the first to serve as medical school dean.
So, did Temple give Dr. Goldberg her tenacity?
Or has Dr. Goldberg given Temple hers?
Maryellen Gusic, MD, Katz’s senior associate dean for education, puts it like this: “It’s hard to tell where Amy Goldberg ends and Temple begins.”