As a GW MD alum and former resident, professor, associate dean, and department chair, Dr. Jeffrey S. Akman understands his constituency. Today, he serves as Vice President for Health Affairs (VPHA) and the Dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) and is leading the charge to transform healthcare education, expand research to improve lives, and become a preeminent health care system, known for the highest quality indicators and patient satisfaction.
Responsible for a globally recognized academic medical center, Dr. Akman was named VPHA and Dean in 2013 after serving as interim VPHA and Dean since December 2010. As VPHA, he serves on GW President Thomas J. LeBlanc's senior leadership team and manages the relationships between the university and its many academic and clinical partners. In 2013, he was installed as the Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine. As Dean, he leads the oldest medical school in the nation's capital, the 11th oldest medical school in the United States, and one of the most prestigious medical research schools in the U.S.
Early in his tenure, to promote excellence, Dr. Akman led the effort to develop a new mission, vision, and strategic plan. Having set out to advance biomedical, translational, and health services delivery research with an emphasis on multidisciplinary collaboration, Dr. Akman made attracting talented faculty, establishing the first SMHS Office Diversity and Inclusion, providing for professional development, and increasing productivity his top priorities. Between 2013 and 2017, research proposal submissions increased by 45% while the number of actual awards increased 217%, an impressive return on investment. To promote interdisciplinary collaborations, during his tenure, the GW Cancer Center, the GW Autism Institute, the GW Institute for Neuroscience , the Rodham Institute, the D.C. Center for AIDS Research and the Center for Healthcare Innovation & Policy Research opened their doors to serve others.
Dr. Akman has advanced the faculty's ability to educate a diverse workforce of tomorrow's leaders in medicine, science, and health sciences. Under his direction, in 2014, SMHS opened a new Clinical Learning and Simulation Skills (CLASS) Center, to transform the way GW students learn medicine. Dr. Akman oversaw a major curriculum revision to the MD program that was implemented for the Class of 2018, expanding team-based learning, interprofessional education and service learning and led the efforts to secure the Liaison Committee on Medical Education's full accreditation in 2016 for an eight-year term. He spearheaded the integration of "clinical public health" into the MD curriculum and expanded opportunities for medical students to gain additional capacity to be leaders in population health, health policy and public health. In addition, under his leadership the MD curriculum evolved to include enhanced opportunities in medical humanities, community and urban health, and entrepreneurship and innovation.
Dr. Akman has been a champion for innovation and growth in health sciences programs that led to a major revision of the curriculum for nationally-ranked Physician Assistant Program and the 2015 launch of a PhD program in Translational Health Sciences. SMHS has become accessible worldwide with the expansion of online and hybrid learning opportunities, which now includes 14 diverse programs with revenue having more than doubled during his tenure.
Under Dr. Akman's leadership significant investments have been made to support faculty development in education, research and leadership through the opening of the Center for Faculty Excellence, the Fundamentals of Leadership Program, the expansion of mentorship programs and the creation of a deanship in research workforce development.
Dr. Akman has been an advocate for the GW clinical enterprise and the central partner working with the GW Medical Faculty Associates and the GW Hospital to advance the aspiration to become a preeminent health care system known for the highest quality indicators and patient satisfaction. Dr. Akman played an essential role stewarding the complex project among SMHS, the GW Medical Faculty Associates and the GW University Hospital to establish the GW Cancer Center, which opened in 2016. With a focus on healing through innovative and compassionate care, other expansions of the clinical enterprise include the opening of the GW Comprehensive Breast Center, the GWUH Transplant Institute and the GW Ron and Joy Paul Kidney Center. Dr. Akman has long promoted the strong partnership with Children's National Health System, which is ranked among the top children’s hospital research institutions, is home to the SMHS Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Genomics and Precision Medicine and hosts a prestigious NIH Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
Expanding SMHS's relationships through community partnerships and pipeline programs and through global partnerships has been a central part of Dr. Akman's strategic vision. During his tenure international affiliations have grown to over 150 and new programs have expanded to include global research partnerships and a broad range of educational and training opportunities for GW students and residents as well as students and physicians from around the world. Funded through a generous bequest from the late Leonard Akman, MD '43, Dean Akman created an Akman Professorship in Global Psychiatry and Akman Scholarships to support international travel for GW medical students on the global health track in the MD program.
Dr. Akman received his bachelor's degree from Duke University before beginning his career at GW as a medical student. He received his medical degree from GW in 1981. He completed his psychiatry residency at GW in 1985, having served as chief resident. He then joined the GW SMHS faculty in psychiatry where he served as Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry and developed a national reputation in the field of HIV/AIDS psychiatry and LGBT mental health. Between 1991-2000, Dr. Akman was tapped to serve as the SMHS Assistant Dean for Student Educational Policies and then Associate Dean for Student and Faculty Development and Policies. He was appointed as the Leon M. Yochelson Professor and Chair of the GW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in 2000. As chair he led the department's financial turnaround, recruited nationally recognized faculty, and set a vision that led to national recognition for the department's residency training and medical student education programs.
Dr. Akman is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, an elected member of the American College of Psychiatrists and a Distinguished Life Member of the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Akman is a recipient of the GW Distinguished Alumni Service Award.