Paul Wallach, MD, has already put some miles on his car in the few months since he joined Indiana University School of Medicine. In fact, he has already visited all nine of the school’s campuses at least once. You may have even seen him running around in a “Where’s Wallach?” outfit.
Deciding to visit each campus was a no-brainer for Dr. Wallach. During each visit he took the time to talk to students, staff and faculty about the unique culture, opportunities and struggles they face. For Dr. Wallach, understanding each campus is imperative to building equitable partnerships and ensuring the school’s trajectory as one of the nation’s top institutions for medical education.
“These campus visits are very important to me,” Dr. Wallach said. “I discover wonderful strengths at each campus, and enjoy meeting our faculty and students. As a result of these visits, I feel that I am better equipped to advocate for the campuses and our school overall.”
Breaking down barriers across the state
Dr. Wallach is all about innovation and breaking down barriers for students. He approaches students as partners, affording them the same respect and candor he would an old friend or colleague.
Even in large lecture spaces, Dr. Wallach finds ways to make his chats intimate and personable by sharing stories and advice. For example, did you know that when Dr. Wallach was diagnosed with testicular cancer in the 1980s, his life was forever changed by Larry Einhorn, MD, the IU School of Medicine researcher who cured testicular cancer? Dr. Wallach advises students not to let test scores get in the way of their education. Instead, he hopes that their focus is on the life-changing impact they will have on their future patients, much like Dr. Einhorn did on him.
“I thought it was cool how open and down to earth Dr. Wallach was,” said Cally Miller, a Class of 2021 student at the Terre Haute campus. “He was really honest with us and I appreciated that.”
Dr. Wallach also takes student needs seriously and does everything he can to ensure he’s an accessible advocate. Whether it’s by sharing his personal cell phone number or traveling across the state.
“It meant a lot to me that Dr. Wallach is making an effort to come to every campus,” Kaitlyn Sawyer, another member of the Class of 2021 in Terre Haute, said. “It’s really important for us to be meeting faculty members who are based in Indianapolis but make decisions for all campuses. It felt really nice to know that he was listening to me and wanted my voice to be heard.”
A culture of collaboration
During his visits, Dr. Wallach also ensures he engages with faculty and staff about their work, setting the tone for an open, innovative and collaborative culture.
“Dr. Wallach quickly established great rapport which allowed meaningful conversation during his very first visit,” said Mari Hopper, PhD, an associate professor of cellular & integrative physiology at IU School of Medicine-Evansville.
Dr. Wallach joined IU School of Medicine as the executive associate dean for educational affairs and institutional improvement on Feb. 1, 2018. Read the top five things you need to know about Dr. Wallach and more in this Q&A.