In 2007 when Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., was looking for someone to establish the clinical components for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), he wanted someone with an outstanding track record in medicine and medical education—as well as the qualities of astute business acumen and enduring compassion—to help deliver UHealth’s (University of Miami Health System) quality care to Palm Beach County’s growing and diverse population.
That someone was Steven Falcone, M.D., M.B.A., associate professor of radiology, neurological surgery, and ophthalmology, a 16-year UM faculty member and three-time alumnus. He received his undergraduate degree from the University before going on to the Miller School and UM’s School of Business Administration. Appointed executive clinical dean for the regional campus at FAU in September 2007, Falcone and the outstanding circle of leaders he helped assemble have been the architects of some of the most robust growth throughout the entire UHealth system.
“Our regional campus and our plans for growth in Palm Beach County require day-to-day leadership that’s focused and strongly backed by a desire to always do what’s right for our patients and students,” says Goldschmidt. “Our success in Palm Beach County underscores the fact that we made the right decision in choosing Dr. Falcone.”
The following milestones, all accomplished on Falcone’s watch, point to the great strides made in Palm Beach County:
• The opening of new UHealth practices—University of Miami Physicians at 3848 FAU Boulevard—making more University-based physicians available to county residents. The practices are staffed by an array of physicians who provide excellent clinical care for patients and cutting-edge education for medical students. In addition to several top-notch internists, patients have access to specialists in areas such as obstetrics and gynecology, neurology, hepatology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, and otolaryngology.
• A new UHealth 10,000-square-foot imaging facility opened in February 2008. Falcone, a radiologist, is particularly proud of this facility, which boasts the most sophisticated equipment available.
• In 2008 the Palm Beach County Medical Society Alliance honored the regional campus program with its Heroes in Medicine award for advancements in health care.
• After offering the first two years of medical school in Boca Raton (students attended the Miller School in Miami for the final two years), the Miller School at FAU Class of 2011 became the first that will spend all four years at the regional campus.
• Last summer, the first allopathic medical residency program in Palm Beach County was established; it is an affiliation among the Miller School, Florida Atlantic University, JFK Medical Center, and the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. On June 30, 2008, the inaugural class of 49 internal medicine residents began training at the two hospitals. Falcone says the achievement was orchestrated in large part by Jeanette Mladenovic, M.D., M.B.A., senior associate dean for graduate medical education.
“This is key to providing practicing physicians for the region because residents—more than medical students—tend to practice where they train,” says Falcone. “What we, the team, are starting here is something that will lay the groundwork for increased medical attention for countless people, and there are more residency programs to come.
“This is a historic milestone that could not have been accomplished during the preceding two years without the hard work and dedication of Jeanette and the team of physicians and administrators at FAU, JFK, and the West Palm Beach VA,” Falcone says. “We have begun the process to launch surgical, pediatric, and Ob/Gyn residency programs at multiple facilities in Palm Beach County.”
Falcone stresses the “team” aspect of whatever he is involved in and never fails to credit people to be thanked, a list that includes Daniel Lichtstein, M.D., senior associate regional dean for medical education, Michael L. Friedland, M.D., regional dean of the Miller School at FAU and vice president for medical programs at FAU, and various others.
“Dr. Falcone accepted a difficult and largely undefined responsibility,” says Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., Miller School executive dean for education and policy. “In one year, he has defined the role, provided strong leadership for our colleagues at the regional campus, and begun the development of the clinical practice in Boca Raton. His role in the recruitment of clinical faculty has been especially effective.”
In his role as executive clinical dean, Falcone draws on his long experience at the University, which includes a radiology residency and a neuroradiology fellowship at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. He not only knows and can easily relate to nearly everyone on the Miami campus, he brought those skills to Palm Beach—where they are serving him well in a demanding job that takes him from meetings with students and prospective faculty to engagements with Palm Beach politicians and donors.
“It has been a most rewarding and personally satisfying time in Palm Beach County,” Falcone says. “I have developed so many new friends and colleagues who are as committed to the Miller School as I am. They come to work every day with a goal for us to work together to deliver the best education and the best health care possible.”