Dr. Italo Subbarao was installed as the fourth dean of the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine during a formal ceremony Jan. 11 in Hattiesburg. At 44, he is the youngest dean of an osteopathic medical school in the United States.
“I’ve never thought about age, but what I hope to bring to our students is a creative approach, an enthusiasm. I want them to embrace technologies. In today’s world, there’s a digital revolution upon us and I want our students, and our graduates, to be leaders in that revolution,” Subbarao said.
During her remarks as guest speaker, global health strategist Dr. Elin Gursky said Subbarao’s role as a developer of the HiRO medical drone makes him a leader of this digital revolution. The drone can fly into inaccessible or dangerous situations and establish live communication with a doctor who can help people provide life-saving care until medical professionals arrive.
“The innovative technical and operational capabilities of HiRO are seminal. It can guide the delivery of healthcare to people geographically remote from clinics and hospitals. In a battlefield environment, HiRO’s capabilities will help save the lives of soldiers,” Gursky said.
“In developing countries, HiRO will enable the diagnosis of symptoms that might foretell a possible pandemic and help prevent large-scale illness and social disruption while using technology that will reduce the numbers of people potentially exposed to a virulent pathogen.
“With Dr. Subbarao’s ability to envision possibilities and harness innovation, this is just a prelude of more to come.”
In his remarks, Subbarao thanked the WCU Board of Trustees and WCU President Dr. Tommy King: “I am deeply humbled and profoundly appreciative for the opportunity to lead this amazing osteopathic medical school – one with a unique mission to put doctors in communities that have for many years have not had access to healthcare. It is a truly noble and righteous cause.”
Subbarao reinforced the osteopathic mission to serve.
“William Carey rests on a fortified foundation of Christian principles and a promise to improve the lives of all we meet. Carey will lead the development of the next generation of primary care physicians and leadership for the state of Mississippi, the Gulf South and beyond,” Subbarao said.
“We will embrace new and existing partnerships and build those relationships to meet and exceed healthcare needs. We will foster innovation, digital methods, artificial intelligence and, yes, even drones to expedite clinical and emergency innovation.”
The day also included a Global Health Seminar for WCU medical students. It featured a distinguished panel of three nationally known physicians – keynote speaker Dr. Elin Gursky, Dr. Vikas Kapil of the Centers for Disease Control, and Dr. Jim James, a retired brigadier general in the U.S. Army.
After the ceremony, Dr. King hosted a luncheon for the medical school and its guests.
“We are pleased to have Dr. Subbarao as the new dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine,” King said.
“I am confident he will continue, and expand, the medical school’s record of excellence. Our prayers are with him as steps into this new leadership role and we look forward to seeing his ideas unfold.”
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