Meet Dr. Lourdes Estrada: MSTP Associate Director of Academic Programs and Operations
by Maggie Axelrod (M2)
Dr. Lourdes Estrada is joining the MSTP leadership team as an Associate Director, stepping into Michelle Grundy’s position, officially starting in September. Dr. Grundy will be with us until the end of December, and will serve on the Senior Oversight Committee after that. I got to know Dr. Estrada as a Case-Based Learning Facilitator last year and caught up with her last week for an interview to introduce her to the rest of the MSTP.
A short biography of Dr. Estrada’s early professional experiences
Dr. Estrada is from Puerto Rico and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. As an undergraduate, Dr. Estrada did three years of research with support from the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program. This experience convinced her to pursue a PhD in the United States, ultimately ending up at the University of Michigan where she completed a PhD in pharmacology and stayed for five additional years as a postdoctoral scientist. She then moved to Kentucky where she got involved in continuing medical education at a private company. In 2004, the lure of returning to an academic environment brought her to Vanderbilt. Dr. Estrada originally worked as a scientific and education coordinator for the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Vanderbilt.
A synopsis of Dr. Estrada’s time at Vanderbilt leading up to her involvement with the MSTP
During her time at Vanderbilt, Dr. Estrada has been involved in education at both the graduate school and the medical school. She has helped develop a graduate cancer systems biology course and engaged in medical school curricular development. She has been a Case-Based Learning Facilitator for three and half years, from the very beginning of the program. She has also been a part of the MD Admissions Committee for over five years and served as a portfolio coach. Along with Dr. Cutrer, Dr. Estrada was Co-Director of the immersion phase of Curriculum 2.0. Through this, she has appreciated having the voices of both physicians and scientists at the table and is looking forward to figuring out how to ensure the immersion phase curriculum supports the learning of all MSTP students returning from the lab.
Thoughts on her new role as an Associate Director of the MSTP
Dr. Estrada is looking forward to thoughtful discussions about how to tailor the curriculum to students’ individual career goals. She is excited to work with Dr. Williams to foster collaboration with the Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) and strengthen the physician scientist pipeline. Additionally, Dr. Estrada is enthusiastic for the opportunity to work with MSTP students professionally and getting to know us personally.
How Dr. Estrada spends her free time
Dr. Estrada was a competitive swimmer until college. Now she enjoys running, cycling and competing in triathlons. She lives with her husband, their 15 year old son and their yellow lab.
Final thoughts to share with the MSTP students
“I’m excited to work with the students and I welcome their input… I know you are very hands on with your program.” Dr. Estrada has been impressed by the student leadership she has seen in seminar and in the advising colleges and is looking forward to working with us.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Estrada to the MSTP!