For more than two decades Susan Anderson Kline, M.D., vice provost for university student affairs and executive vice dean for academic affairs, had been an integral part of the lives of medical students at New York Medical College—from the sage advice she gives to first-years during orientation to the proud congratulations she offers to fourth-years at Match Day, and the countless interactions and unwavering support in between.
In 1984, she joined the faculty as associate professor of medicine and senior associate dean for student affairs. Her responsibilities spanned an unusually broad range: medical school admissions, financial aid, the registrar’s office, the medical education program, student counseling, student health services and student life. She served as a residency advisor, oversaw and wrote dean’s letters, and even handled special events such as the senior honors ceremony.
In 1994, Dr. Kline was tapped to become interim dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs, stepping in when Karl P. Adler, M.D., left the post to become president of Saint Vincent’s Hospital and MedicalCenter in New York City. During her 18-month tenure, which ended with the arrival of Ralph A. O’Connell, M.D., as provost and dean, she appointed three chairmen, reunited the departments of Pathology and Experimental Pathology into one unit, and made significant progress in improving relations between the College and its affiliates, most notably WestchesterMedicalCenter.
In 1996, she was appointed executive vice dean for academic affairs and vice provost for university student affairs. As executive vice dean, her responsibilities included educational programs, admissions, student affairs and student activities for the medical school. Her university responsibilities as vice provost included oversight of the library, registrar, student financial planning, international student and scholar advising, health services and student housing.
Her experience in student affairs harks back to her years at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she held positions as associate dean for student affairs and associate dean for admissions, as well as faculty appointments in medicine and in public health. During the same period, she broadened and deepened her skills as a cardiologist, rising to physician-in-charge of the Cardiopulmonary Laboratory, and then becoming director of the Adult Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, one of the first women to achieve such distinction.
Dr. Kline’s leadership earned her a reputation on national and international stages. During her career she had been a member of more than 35 organizations, boards and committees, frequently serving as chair or president. She held numerous positions with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the prestigious and influential organization that supports students, faculty, residents and administrators in accredited medical schools, as well as teaching hospitals and health centers.
Yet what may be her most widespread and enduring contributions to academic medicine have resulted from her extensive service to the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), the nationally recognized authority for the accreditation of medical education programs in the United States and Canada. She was an AAMC-appointed member from 1998 to 2004, and a member of the LCME Committee on Review of Standards, which she subsequently chaired. She also served as a member of the Executive Committee and the Committee on Policy. In 2006, she chaired an international team of medical school experts invited to visit Pakistan’s top-rated medical school for an external review of its educational programs using LCME standards.
Dr. Kline participated in 18 LCME site survey visits which, along with a school’s institutional self-study, comprise the key components of accreditation. When the College underwent its own LCME accreditation reviews—four of them between 1986 and 2007—Dr. Kline first contributed to and then orchestrated the exhaustive preparations required for the institutional self-study and site visit. Hers was a Herculean task: hands-on direction of the task force and executive committee charged with completing the massive institutional databases and comprehensive 12-18 month institutional self studies that were prepared in advance of the ad hoc LCME survey teams’ visits with students, faculty and administrators.
In 1996, she became a member of the board of directors of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), chairing committees and serving as its appointed president. When the complex process of applying for residency programs evolved to a web-based system, Dr. Kline helped usher in the AAMC’s Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), first serving and then chairing its advisory committee when the internet age was still in its adolescence.
Dr. Kline developed New York Medical College's first computerized student record system, and wrote numerous handbooks and bulletins that have been used as guides by thousands of medical students throughout their medical school years. She also was instrumental in acquiring the cardiology patient simulator program, Harvey, at New York Medical College in 1999.
Born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in the Midwest, Dr. Kline received her undergraduate degree with highest distinction from Ohio University, and her M.D. degree from Northwestern University, where she ranked first in her class. Elected to Alpha Omega Alpha, the national honor medical society, she went on to achieve numerous distinctions and awards for her leadership and scholarship well before completing her residency training in medicine at Case-Western Reserve’s University Hospitals of Cleveland. Later she completed a fellowship in cardiology at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.
Dr. Kline was a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine, Subspecialty of Cardiovascular Disease. She was a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the New York Cardiological Society, and the Council on Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association. From 1977 to 1981 she was a member of the board of the National Board of Medical Examiners. Subsequently she served on its Medical School Liaison Steering Committee and as a member of its Test Accommodations Committee. She published in the field of cardiac research, presented her work at national meetings, and contributed to several textbooks.
Susan Anderson Kline, 77, passed away on March 28, 2015.