Dean BradfordListening legend Dr. Ralph G. Nichols famously said, “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”

So as I embark on a new journey as dean of The Ohio State University College of Medicine and vice president for Health Sciences at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, my first order of business is simple: I will listen.

I will listen thoughtfully to understand how we provide innovative education to our learners, advance life-altering biomedical discoveries, and improve health in Ohio and across the world. I will listen carefully to understand how we’re delivering on our values—to each other and to the community. And I will listen closely to faculty, staff and learners to understand your professional goals and development needs.

I will not merely hear you with the goal of formulating an immediate solution. Rather, I will listen with the intent to understand. I want to hear you completely to show you that—honing in on our value of empathy—I care deeply. Through close listening and caring, I will gain a solid understanding of our organization, of our culture, of you. I will gain knowledge about the way—and the reasons why—we do what we do at Ohio State.

All of the information I hear and synthesize will allow me to prioritize goals.

There’s never been a better time for all of us to listen, to really listen. During this pandemic, we’ve certainly heard many themes, including uncertainty, fear and anger. But we’ve also heard stories of pride about the way Ohio State has come together to deliver unparalleled care and how we have worked in interdisciplinary teams to combat COVID-19 and health disparities.

Through listening to understand, we can learn ways to eliminate racism, embrace our differences, value individual perspectives and create a thriving environment of equity and well-being.

I’m very excited to listen, and I’m even more excited to gain a deep understanding of Ohio State and our incredible people.

By the way, when people ask me if I’m an ears-nose-throat specialist, I always proudly tell them that I am an otolaryngologist – head and neck surgeon. But for now, I’m all ears.

Carol Bradford, MD, MS
Dean, College of Medicine
Leslie H. and Abigail S. Wexner Dean’s Chair in Medicine
Vice President for Health Sciences, Wexner Medical Center