Letter from Sarah Creekmore Woodall
Dear Vanderbilt Medical Alumni:
Greetings from Nashville to all of our Vanderbilt medical alumni! On July 1, I took over the leadership of the Vanderbilt Medical Alumni Affairs, following in the footsteps of Dr. Ann Price. We are fortunate that she will be staying on as a physician liaison, and I am grateful for her leadership over the past 17 years, as well as her knowledge and her continued support.
I consider Vanderbilt University and the School of Medicine to be home. After graduating from Vanderbilt’s College of Arts and Science in 2000, I have spent most of my professional career working for our alma mater. Over the course of my studies and experiences, it became clear to me that I was mission-driven. Both the Vanderbilt University and the School of Medicine missions — fulfillment of human potential and advancement of impactful discovery, servant leadership and lifelong learning — align with my own personal values. Being able to work with alumni who are improving the health care of individuals and communities across the globe makes this work all the more transformative.
Early in my professional career, I had the opportunity to work directly with our University alumni in Vanderbilt’s Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) department. Making connections with fellow alumni as well as sharing my own passion for our shared alma mater was so rewarding. I transitioned to work with our doctor of medicine students in the Medical Student Affairs office, which I have done for the past 10 years. I truly enjoyed working with fellow alumni, but when the opportunity presented itself to work with professional students in the Medical School, I was excited to be more involved on the medical side of campus. I saw the passion and commitment of the next generation of Vanderbilt physicians firsthand and became invested in and committed to their success.
Many of our VUSM graduates will remember Janelle Owens in the program’s office — I succeeded her in January 2011. I’m so thankful to Dr. Scott Rodgers, VUSM Class of 1994, who was serving as VUSM’s associate dean of Medical Student Affairs at the time, for bringing me over to VUSM, and to Dr. Amy Fleming, current associate dean of Medical Student Affairs, for her support. Through the major milestones in our students’ undergraduate medical education — from watching each class enter the doors at Orientation and seeing them find their residency, to overseeing all the extracurricular activities and planning the school’s major events, I have considered myself very lucky to have gotten to work so closely with our students as part of their “life education” in medical school.
The opportunity to combine these two areas that I have loved into one professional opportunity just seemed like the perfect fit for my career. To stay connected to the world of medical education and get to work in alumni engagement, keeping you all connected to each other and to Vanderbilt, was an opportunity — a calling really — that I could not turn down.
Whether your connection with Vanderbilt is through your undergraduate medical education, graduate medical education, or your continuing professional positions (or a combination of all of these), I look forward to this opportunity to nurture your own lifelong relationships and learning with Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Sarah Creekmore Woodall