PHILADELPHIA — Arthur H. Rubenstein, MBBCh, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System, and Dean, School of Medicine, will receive the Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The award will be presented on Saturday, Nov. 7, during the association’s annual meeting in Boston.
The Flexner Award was established by the AAMC in 1958 to recognize extraordinary individual contributions to medical schools and to the medical education community as a whole. In 1910, Abraham Flexner published the Flexner Report, which examined the state of American medical education and led to far-reaching reforms in the way doctors were trained.
According to the AAMC, “Dr. Rubenstein's career epitomizes what Abraham Flexner envisioned for the future of U.S. medical education, with a greater emphasis on research, an integrated, institutional focus on learning, and a joy for the university environment and academic medicine as a profession.”
In describing Dr. Rubenstein, the AAMC went on to say, “Nearly 50 years after publication of the Flexner Report, a young physician educated in South Africa began his career in U.S. academic medicine. Now with the Flexner centennial fast approaching, that young physician has become his generation's most influential purveyor of the Flexnerian method … [and] the complete academic medicine physician leader."
“I am deeply honored by this award from my peers,” said Dean Rubenstein. “To be awarded for doing something I truly love is a great joy. To train new physicians and medical researchers is a vital undertaking, for they contribute immensely to making all of our lives better. I’m privileged to play a part in it.”
An internationally renowned endocrinologist, Dr. Rubenstein was part of a team that, in 1979, demonstrated how a genetic mutation led to an abnormal form of insulin and, in turn, diabetes. But it was “his pursuit of these findings at the clinical level and new therapeutic interventions that elevate his efforts to a Flexnerian level,” said Michael S. Brown, MD, former Penn board member and currently director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
Similarly, Dr. Rubenstein has worked to create a translational research infrastructure at Penn strengthened by many interdisciplinary research institutes, including the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. The latter, said Dr. Brown, has "redefined the model of translational research as a distinct academic discipline in the American medical center."
Dean Rubenstein previously served as chair of the department of medicine at the University of Chicago and as dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Ralph Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, said, “It has been a tremendous honor to work with our great dean over the years. His devotion to teaching and clinical excellence is testimony to his deep-rooted commitment to improving health care for all Americans. His record as a developer of talent is preeminent in modern medical history. And he has an extraordinary capacity to inspire everyone around him to do their very best.”
Dean Rubenstein received his MBBCh degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.