Thursday, May 24, 2012
After 38 years of dedicated service to the University of Maryland School of Medicine and its students, Jordan E. Warnick, PhD, professor of Pharmacology, and associate dean for Student Research, retired on May 31, 2012.
Dr. Warnick led the Office of Student Research from its inception in the 1980s with great distinction, creating a model program through which medical and other health profession students as well as high school, undergraduate and graduate, students can avail themselves of research experiences and improve their respective scientific backgrounds. Dr. Warnick nurtured the research careers of thousands of young scientists and physicians, not just at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, but throughout the University System of Maryland and elsewhere, providing them with practical training and mentorship and a better understanding of the ethical and responsible conduct of research.
Dr. Warnick fondly reflected, “When I first took on the Office of Student Research role in the early ‘80’s, the first Medical Student Research Day I oversaw was the eighth one in the history of the University of Maryland School Medicine. I’ve been here so long, that the same event this fall will be its 36th! It has matured into a wonderful, educational and time-honored event with more than 50 participants. Also, I am particularly proud of our 30-plus years of success in providing research traineeships to many medical and undergraduate students and the successes they have had in publishing and obtaining further research support from various professional societies. Enabling medical and other students to pursue their research interests and seeing the fruit of their labor is immensely gratifying.”
In the past several years, more than 75 percent of the freshman class has sought individual assistance in the Office of Student Research in pursuit of research placement and funding with faculty in the School of Medicine and at other national and international institutions. For the past two years alone, more than 80 medical students participated in summer research projects, clinical fellowships or research fellowships each year, and these students successfully competed for total grant awards in excess of $500,000 from the NIH, AOA, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Among those are some singular and prestigious awards earned by only a handful of medical students nationwide. The assistance provided to University of Maryland medical students is unique among U.S. medical schools, and perhaps anywhere, in providing the necessary development, mentoring and nurturing of interests, as well as the successful matching and placement of our students with faculty and funding opportunities.
Dr. Warnick was also responsible for developing numerous dual MD/Masters degree programs, including those in Bioengineering, Business Administration, Clinical Research, Epidemiology, Health Services Administration, Public Health and Public Policy. As a result of his work, there are now plans to add tracks for a MD/MS in Bioethics and an MD/MS in Translational Medicine in cooperation with Graduate Program in Life Sciences. These offerings, along with two senior research electives, have provided an increasing number of students with the opportunity to learn about conducting research and gain early specialization while in school.
After Dr. Warnick completed his graduate work at Purdue University in 1968, he was the recipient of an NIH postdoctoral fellowship and a Special Individual NIH Award at the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Warnick was a faculty member at the School of Pharmacy in Buffalo from 1971 to 1974. In 1974, he joined the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, rising to the rank of professor. Dr. Warnick has been a highly successful scientist and research training director, receiving more than $8 million in research grants, training grants, and contracts since 1974.
He also maintained extensive teaching and mentoring responsibilities for nearly three decades, including that of course director for Medical Pharmacology (1982 to 1993), for Pathophysiology & Therapeutics I and II in the sophomore year (1993 to 2011), and as the unit leader for various parts of these courses, also in the sophomore year. He also was co-course director for the new Foundations of Disease course, as well as lecturing and leading small groups in these courses. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including his induction as an inaugural member of the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Pass and Susel Academy of Educational Excellence (2008). He also served as the training director for the NHLBI, NIEHS and Fogarty Minority International Training grants and is currently the director of the NIA Health Professions – Student Training in Aging Research program at the School of Medicine and campus Principal Investigator for the University of Maryland’s NSF Alliance for Graduate Education and The Professoriate.
“As a course director, the richness I derived from interacting with numerous faculty from all our basic science and clinical departments, and enlisting more than 150 of them to teach in Year II is priceless. Here at the School of Medicine, I have met a large number of remarkable individuals—my thanks are out to them all and to the large numbers who volunteered as research mentors,” said Dr. Warnick.
Appropriately enough, Dr. Warnick was the honorary mace bearer at the 2012 convocation ceremony. He filled that role as proudly, as he’s filled the myriad of other roles at the School of Medicine.
Dr. Warnick leaves us with these parting words, “This medical school has been my home for more than half my life. In working here, my passion has been our students. It’s those truly rewarding interactions with our medical students that I will always fondly remember, and while I may not be here physically in the future, both my heart and mind will be.”
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