Getting to the 'Heart' of Medical Education With Dr. Guy Reed

Getting to the 'Heart' of Medical Education With Dr. Guy Reed

By Nick PrevenasUniversity Communications
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Dr. Guy Reed (Photo by Sun Czar Belous, University of Arizona)
Dr. Guy Reed (Photo by Sun Czar Belous, University of Arizona)
Dr. Guy Reed addresses the audience at his first "Dean's Hour" at the College of Medicine – Phoenix on Aug. 1. (Photo by Sun Czar Belous, University of Arizona)
Dr. Guy Reed addresses the audience at his first "Dean's Hour" at the College of Medicine – Phoenix on Aug. 1. (Photo by Sun Czar Belous, University of Arizona)
Dr. Guy Reed (right) shakes hands with College of Medicine student Weston Frazier during the school's White Coat Ceremony on July 21. (Photo by Sun Czar Belous, University of Arizona)
Dr. Guy Reed (right) shakes hands with College of Medicine student Weston Frazier during the school's White Coat Ceremony on July 21. (Photo by Sun Czar Belous, University of Arizona)

What separates great doctors from good ones? Dr. Guy Reed would tell you that it takes a heart – and not because of his background in cardiology.

"It's our responsibility to instill a lifelong appreciation of compassionate, high-value care with our medical students so they can become physicians and leaders that improve the overall wellness of their communities," Reed said. "It's impossible to do that if your heart isn't fully invested in it."

Reed, an internationally renowned cardiologist, physician-scientist and administrator, was named dean of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix in April. His official start date wasn't until July 24, but Reed flew to Phoenix early in order to take part in one of the college's most prestigious rites of passage – its White Coat Ceremony for new medical students on July 21.

"One of the truly special and unique aspects of our program is our scholarly project requirement," Reed said. "As soon as our students receive their white coats, they start learning how to do research alongside their medical school training, which helps them gain valuable specialized training and serves as a real differentiator when applying for residencies."

Prior to joining the UA, Reed served as the Lemuel Diggs Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and interim executive vice president for Methodist Le Bonheur HealthCare. He was intrigued by the opportunity to train medical students in Phoenix – a place he sees as a "dynamic, growing city" with leadership "committed to developing a world-class medical school."

Upon the announcement of Reed's appointment, Dr. Leigh Neumayer, interim senior vice president of health sciences at the UA, said that his "leadership will result in a huge leap forward for the college."

Reed steps in as the third dean of the college, which is based in downtown Phoenix on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. In the past 11 years, the college has graduated 355 physicians.

Reed arrives in Arizona at a pivotal time for health care, both for the state and the nation. The state faces a critical physician shortage, while health coverage is among the most hotly debated topics at all levels of government.

"It is up to us to recruit and graduate students who understand the value of primary care," Reed said. "Through strengthening clerkships with hospital partners and enhancing our graduate medical education, it is our goal to provide the best possible training, while providing enough incentive for our best and brightest to practice medicine in Arizona."

Reed views the future of health care through a preventive lens, as opposed to a treatment-based approach.

"We have to move away from focusing exclusively on acute illness treatment and more toward improving people's overall health," Reed said. "Our physicians will emphasize lifelong health strategies that address the root causes of chronic conditions."

As a physician, Reed is perhaps best known for his research on the mechanism of blood clots and vascular disease. Through grant support from the National Institutes of Health, Reed translated his laboratory research findings into innovative, clot-dissolving therapies to treat patients after strokes and heart attacks.

Another new arrival on campus, UA President Robert C. Robbins, shares Reed's cardiac background. Prior to joining the UA, Robbins was an internationally recognized cardiac surgeon.

"As a cardiologist, I would've worked alongside Dr. Robbins in tandem to treat heart disease, which is still one of the leading causes of death in the United States," Reed said. "My career has taken me on a path toward education in order to create a system of medicine that treats the overall health of the community."

A Colorado native, Reed graduated from Columbia University in New York City, where he received his bachelor's degree in English literature and premedical studies. He earned a master's degree in mathematical statistics and a medical degree from Stanford University.

Reed completed his internship, residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Yale University. He completed his fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Massachusetts General Hospital and a postdoctoral research fellowship in biochemistry and molecular biology at Harvard Medical School, where he later worked as a faculty member for more than a decade.

In his spare time, Reed assists his wife, Elizabeth, with her dog rescue advocacy programs.

"At any given time, we always have multiple dogs running around our house. We love them so much, and it fills our heart with such joy to help rehabilitate these amazing animals," Reed said.

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