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AAMC Names Alison J. Whelan, MD as Chief Medical Education Officer

Washington, D.C., May 31, 2016—The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) announced today that Alison J. Whelan, MD, has been named as the association’s new chief medical education officer after a nationwide search. Whelan is currently senior associate dean for education and professor of medicine and pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She will join the AAMC on Oct. 3.

As chief medical education officer, Whelan will lead initiatives to transform the current models of education and workforce preparation across the full continuum of medical education. She also will direct AAMC efforts that support medical education officers, regional campuses, education researchers, students, and residents.

“Dr. Whelan’s extensive experience in educational innovation across the continuum of medical education—and her efforts to align that work with institutional goals to advance medical education, patient care, and research—distinguished her among many outstanding candidates,” said Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC president and CEO. “She has been a driving force in professionalizing the teaching of medical students, and we are delighted to bring her expertise to the AAMC and our members.”

A member of the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine since 1994, Whelan was appointed associate dean for medical student education in 1997. During her tenure, she coordinated the creation of the Practice of Medicine curriculum and played a key role in launching the standardized patient program. She has been instrumental in developing faculty education programs and in fostering research in medical education methods.

“I am thrilled to join the AAMC during a time of change and challenge for medical education. The rapid expansion of clinical knowledge, an explosion of biomedical information, paradigm shifts in how the nation thinks about patient care, and new approaches to teaching and assessment are all occurring at a time when academic physicians are feeling increasing pressures,” said Whelan. “This is a unique opportunity for transformative change. I look forward to working with the nation’s medical education leaders to meet these challenges.”

A member of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) governing board, Whelan has received four Washington University School of Medicine Distinguished Service Teaching Awards, the Emerson Electric Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Samuel R. Goldstein Leadership Award in Medical Student Education.

Whelan received her bachelor’s degree from Carleton College in 1981. She earned her medical degree from Washington University in 1986 and completed her postgraduate work and residency at the former Barnes Hospital, now Barnes-Jewish Hospital.


The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 147 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their nearly 160,000 faculty members, 83,000 medical students, and 115,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at


Alison J. Whelan, MD

Press Contact
Brooke Bergen, AAMC