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COM Executive Dean Position Named for Dr. Robert Kaplan


To UTHSC Faculty, Students and Staff,

It is with great pleasure that we share news of the continued generosity and foresight of Dr. Robert J. Kaplan, UTHSC College of Medicine alumnus and benefactor. By virtue of his most recent contribution, we have named the college’s top executive position after Dr. Kaplan. Dr. David Stern, who has led the COM since April 2011, is now the Robert Kaplan Executive Dean for the UTHSC College of Medicine.

“I am truly honored to be the first Robert Kaplan Executive Dean of our college,” Dr. Stern said. “Bob is a phenomenal dermatologist, revered by his colleagues and patients, and he is a generous philanthropist, a beloved colleague and a wonderful friend. The College of Medicine could not have a stronger ambassador and supporter than Bob Kaplan and we are extremely proud that the executive dean’s position now bears his name.”

The naming became effective on the first day of classes for this academic year, and was announced at the COM annual White Coat Ceremony in August. Dr. Kaplan was the keynote speaker for the ceremony, which is an annual tradition to welcome new medical students and their families to the college.

“The practice of medicine is a privilege and honor that cannot be taken for granted,” Dr. Kaplan said. “It is our goal to create the best possible environment for medical students to learn the science and art of medicine.”

Dr. Kaplan has been a longtime patron of the University of Tennessee. In 2013, his support led to the creation of the Kaplan-Amonette Department of Dermatology at UTHSC, and the University of Tennessee System named him Philanthropist of the Year. In 2005, Dr. Kaplan’s philanthropy allowed for the creation of the nationally recognized Kaplan Clinical Skills and Assessment Center at UTHSC, where teaching, simulation and standardized patient encounters enhance medical students’ abilities to take patient histories, perform physical exams and communicate effectively with patients. In 2002, Dr. Kaplan and close friend, Dr. Rodney Wolf, also a UTHSC College of Medicine alumnus and a cardiovascular surgeon in Memphis, provided support to create the Wolf-Kaplan Athletics Recruiting Center at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville inside Neyland Stadium.

Dr. Kaplan practices medicine in Memphis at Kaplan and Kaplan Dermatology and holds multiple leadership positions at UTHSC, including serving on the UTHSC Foundation’s Board of Directors and the UTHSC College of Medicine Alumni Council. He earned his medical degree from the UTHSC College of Medicine in 1973, and is a 1969 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While at the UTHSC College of Medicine, he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Dr. Kaplan has been a longtime member of the Tennessee Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Dermatology and the Memphis Medical Society. A native of Englewood, New Jersey, Dr. Kaplan has lived in Memphis since 1970.

We are extremely grateful for Bob’s ongoing support of the UTHSC COM. He exhibits a level of dedication, leadership and constancy for which we are truly grateful.

Steve J. Schwab, MD