Building the best residencies
Lisa Dixon talks about her new role as associate dean of graduate medical education.
By Laura Castro
A South Carolina native, Lisa Dixon, M.D., joined The Gator Nation in 2004 for her fellowship in gastrointestinal and liver pathology. She decided to stick around.
“Gainesville’s a perfect fit for my family — we never wanted to go anywhere else,” Dixon said. In 2005 she became an assistant professor in the College of Medicine department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine. She is currently director of the pathology residency program and earned a UF Exemplary Teacher Award in 2011. Earlier this year, Dixon took on her latest challenge as the College of Medicine’s new designated institutional official and associate dean for graduate medical education.
Her 10 years of experience at UF, coupled with a passion for teaching and education, guide her in her
“I have a keen appreciation of the resourcefulness you have to have as a residency program director,” Dixon said. “I see a major role of GME as helping College of Medicine program directors have the resources and skills they need to ensure innovation and creativity on behalf of our housestaff.”
The Graduate Medical Education Office supports residents and fellows for an average of three to seven years while they work as housestaff at UF Health Shands. The office conducts orientation, manages complaints, offers free counseling and ensures housestaff have a positive and successful experience.
The office is also responsible for evaluating and advancing housestaff education and ensuring the college and hospital system meet accreditation standards to train residents and fellows.
Dixon plans to expand professional development opportunities for program directors through workshops and classes. She also will meet individually with each leader to discuss their needs and objectives.
“Being a program director is a really big job with extensive responsibilities — you are a mentor to housestaff and a spokesperson for them to the faculty,” she said. “I want them to know that they can pick up the phone and call me at any time to try to solve a problem or bolster an initiative.”
Dixon also plans to boost residency involvement in Housestaff Affairs office programs.
“Residents are in an interesting role because they’re equal part teacher and student — they’re learning to be practicing physicians while also conveying knowledge to patients and other trainees,” Dixon said. “Resources provided by the GME office can give them skills they need to thrive and grow in this environment.”
Dixon began her new position in March. She took the reins from Michael Mahla, M.D., who served as associate dean and designated institutional official since 2011.
“I’m fortunate because I am inheriting an organization that is very well-run by extremely capable people who put a lot of hours in to ensure accreditation requirements are met,” Dixon said. “The step now is to see how we can take it up a notch by offering professional support and opportunities for faculty in GME, coordinating efforts and directives between residency programs, and establishing a more streamlined approach that is malleable to fit individual program needs.”