Chang Named New Dean for Medical Education

Neurologist has long record of medical education service at HMS

Chang, left, helps a student don his jacket during white coat ceremonies in 2021.  Image: Steve Lipofsky
Chang, left, helps a student don his jacket during white coat ceremonies in 2021. Image: Steve Lipofsky

Following an intensive national search, Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley has announced that Bernard Chang will become the School’s next dean for medical education, effective July 31.

Chang, a noted neurologist, dedicated HMS faculty member and educator, and advisory dean for the Francis Weld Peabody academic society, succeeds Dean Edward Hundert, who announced last November after nine years helming the Program in Medical Education that he is transitioning to a new role as senior philanthropic advisor in the HMS Office of Alumni Affairs and Development while continuing to serve as associate director for the Center for Bioethics and a senior faculty member in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine.

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“I am confident that Dr. Chang has the experience, spirit, and vision to lead our Program in Medical Education into a new era of distinction. Inquiry, discovery, and scholarship will be at the heart of what we do as we cultivate a new generation of physicians, well equipped to meet the challenges of the next age of medicine and health care,” said Daley in a letter to the HMS community on June 7.

A Harvard College graduate in biochemical sciences, Chang earned his MD from the New York University School of Medicine and an MMSc degree in clinical investigation from HMS. He completed his residency and fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he is now an HMS professor of neurology, vice chair for education in neurology, and chief of the Division of Epilepsy.

Over the years, his clinical practice has centered on the care of patients with seizure disorders, and his research has helped uncover the mechanisms by which developmental brain malformations lead to epilepsy and learning difficulties.

“I am honored and humbled to be taking on this role. Medical education is my passion, and there is no better place than HMS to learn to be a doctor. With all of my incredible colleagues here, I am excited to tackle our mission of preparing our students to be the next generation of physician leaders,” said Chang.

Recognized by peers

Chang’s career in medical education began as a neuroanatomy lab instructor for second-year HMS students in 2000. He has been recognized by peers and students as a gifted and creative leader and educator who has demonstrated remarkable dedication to advancing the academic mission of the School.

"Many of the students are already quite familiar with Dr. Chang, having gotten to know him through his roles as a society leader, pre-PCE director, and teacher. I am so excited for him to take on this new role,” said Adam Berger, a sixth-year MD-PhD student.

“I look forward to all the institutional knowledge and the fresh mindset he will bring to the position as he seeks to continue making medical education at HMS the best for me and my fellow students amidst new technologies and evidence, systemic challenges in health care, inequity, and ethical quandaries," Berger said.

As a society advisory dean, Daley said Chang has wholeheartedly promoted the well-being of students, including those from historically underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds.

“Dr. Chang has consistently shown a commitment to inclusive excellence, and he understands that fostering an environment where diversity, in its multiple dimensions, as well as inclusion and belonging, are valued — and where potential is recognized — is foundational to medical education,” said Joan Reede, HMS dean for diversity and community partnership.