Michael Friedlander honored by the Association of American Medical Colleges

Michael J. Friedlander, Ph.D.

Michael J. Friedlander, Ph.D.

The Association of American Medical Colleges has named Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, a Distinguished Service Member.

"You have made truly extraordinary contributions to advance our mission," Darrell Kirch, president and chief executive officer of the AAMC, stated in a letter informing Friedlander of the AAMC Board of Directors' decision to honor him. "Given your dedication and service to AAMC and the Council of Academic Societies over the years, this is an honor you richly deserve."

"I am extremely honored to be recognized by my colleagues and the leadership at AAMC," said Friedlander. "The AAMC is an organization of the highest principles that is dedicated to advancing better health for all Americans through improved education, training, research, and service. Just being able to serve that mission in a small way by working with the outstanding clinicians, scientists, and administrators is a privilege, as is representing Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic in this national medical enterprise."

Friedlander has been active with the AAMC for the past dozen years, with service on a range of committees and task forces, including the AAMC Task Force on Conflicts of Interest between Industry and Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute/AAMC Task Force on the Scientific Foundations of Future Physicians (SFFP). He served as chair of the AAMC's Council of Academic Societies from 2006 to 2007 and as a member of the AAMC's Executive Council from 2005 to 2008.

Most recently, Friedlander has served on the AAMC's Advisory Committee for the MR5, the fifth comprehensive review of the Medical College Admission Test. Based on that committee's work, the AAMC recently announced that, starting in 2015, aspiring doctors will need more than a solid basis in the natural sciences; they also will need an understanding of the psychology, sociology, and biology that underpin the human and social components of health. These changes to the MCAT, the first since 1991, are designed to help students prepare for the rapidly changing health care system, the evolving body of medical knowledge, and the needs of a growing, aging, and increasingly diverse population. The work of the MR5 committee was strongly informed by the insights of the SFFP. During the past six years, Friedlander has been one of only two people selected to serve on both panels and thus provide that continuity.

In addition to his position at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Friedlander serves as the senior dean for research at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and as a professor of biological sciences and of biomedical engineering and sciences at Virginia Tech. Before joining Virginia Tech in 2010, Friedlander was the Wilhelmina Robertson Professor of Neuroscience, chair of the Department of Neuroscience, and director of neuroscience initiatives at Baylor College of Medicine.

Friedlander is the current president of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, the associate editor for neuroscience at the Journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine, and an editorial board member of both the Journal of Neuroscience and Eye and Brain. He also serves as the principal investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense on the cellular processes that underlie learning in the brain in health, during development, and after traumatic brain injury.