‘GeorgeSquared’ Launches Biomedical Master’s Program

Posted: April 25, 2011 at 1:05 am, Last Updated: April 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

By Tressa Kirby and Leah Kerkman Fogarty

Howard Federoff of Georgetown University, left, and Vikas Chandhoke, dean of Mason's College of Science, shake hands during the GeorgeSquared memorandum of understanding signing. Mason President Alan Merten stands at right. Photo courtesy of Georgetown University

Two of the Washington, D.C., area’s prominent universities came together “in a celebration of education” on April 14 at a signing ceremony for the next phase of GeorgeSquared, an academic collaboration in biomedical education between George Mason University and Georgetown University.

During a ceremony held at Riggs Library on the Georgetown campus, a memorandum of understanding was signed by Alan Merten, president of Mason; Vikas Chandhoke, dean of Mason’s College of Science; John DeGioia, president of Georgetown University; and Howard Federoff, executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine at Georgetown.

The signing ceremony was the official launch of the new joint master’s program in biomedical sciences. This 34-credit graduate degree brings together the expertise of Georgetown’s existing Special Master’s Program in physiology and the potential of Mason’s growing Prince William Campus, which houses the university’s biomedical sciences departments.

Courses for the new GeorgeSquared master’s program will take place at the Prince William Campus and will be taught by faculty from both Georgetown and Mason.

“Combining the resources, expertise and experience available at Georgetown and Mason offers our students an unparalleled opportunity to prepare for biomedical careers in a variety of health professions or research,” says Chandhoke.

Federoff addresses the audience assembled to celebrate the launch of the joint master's program in biomedical sciences. Photo courtesy of Georgetown University

“At the same time, we are working together to address the regional and national demand for highly qualified physicians and other medical professionals.”

GeorgeSquared allows both institutions to help meet the growing demand for biomedical sciences and healthcare industry specialists for the next two decades.

“This is a forward-thinking program that addresses the emerging medical needs, both in clinical practice and in research, of the 21st century,” says Donna M. Fox, who directs the GeorgeSquared program at Mason.

“Through this program,” Fox adds, “Mason continues its tradition of innovation by tapping into the faculty talent pool of two excellent universities in order to produce superbly trained graduates who have the ability to make a positive difference in medicine and the medical research arena.”

The 11-month program is designed for those interested in continuing on to medical school. The curriculum includes six of the Georgetown University Medical School required first-year medical courses, as well as graduate courses that have an emphasis on systems biology and systems medicine.

This latest collaboration builds on the joint Advanced Biomedical Sciences Certificate Program that the two institutions launched last fall.

“Our first year with the certificate program was a success, and we’re looking forward to a banner second year,” Federoff said at the signing.

“The collaboration with Mason responds to the Association of American Medical Colleges’ call for specialists in biomedical sciences; together we have served 52 students [through the certificate program],” said DeGioia, who also addressed those gathered for the signing. “These students have contributed to local hospitals and medical facilities, and this program will only continue to evolve as long as we have our partnership with George Mason.”

Merten acknowledged the growing demand in the biomedical sciences and said the program will be a model for universities in the future.

“I know that we will continue to create the programs that are important and, more and more, create those programs across institutions,” Merten said.

For more information about GeorgeSquared, see the website.


Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu