Dr. Paul Gladden knows what it’s like to work under an intense amount of pressure. The orthopedic trauma surgeon recently stepped into a new role at the School of Medicine, a role that comes with a lot of expectations: Associate Dean and Designated Institutional Official for Tulane University’s Graduate Medical Education program. Dr. Gladden talks about his past work and his future plans in his own words.
I’ve always been drawn toward a challenge and toward people in need. Before becoming an orthopedic trauma surgeon, I spent decades as a first responder. Sadly, I have seen many people at their worst and have always worked my hardest to get them better.
I started as the youngest crew chief for Brown University Emergency Medical Services. Seemingly a simple medical experience, it proved to be anything but as we helped cover Providence, Rhode Island. In New York City in the 90s, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons along with Albert Einstein School of Medicine consumed me for medical school and residency. I next did my fellowship in orthopedic trauma surgery at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. An exceedingly busy trauma hospital, it also had one of the busiest flight systems in the country. For years, even after fellowship, I would find myself hopping out of a Metro Life Flight helicopter into some of the most challenging situations imaginable. When I thought work had gotten too busy at the University of Florida in Jacksonville, I stopped flying, and, quickly to my surprise, found a more local and - much to my Mom’s disappointment - more dangerous challenge. I had always cared for police officers going back to my time in New York, where I had established many relationships. What I would soon come to realize is there is a huge amount of care officers, victims and even suspects need acutely. After graduating the police academy, I was privileged to be an officer and surgeon with the Jacksonville’s Special Weapons and Tactics team and their bomb team. There was no limit to opportunities to be helpful in stressful situations. Although physically I’m past my prime, mentally I feel I have learned some valuable life lessons about doing the right thing for people.
In 2009 I moved to Tulane University from the University of Florida. As I took on creating an orthopedic trauma program here, I was also able to get involved further in Graduate Medical Education. I was the Orthopedic Program Director for nearly a decade and the Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education for three years.
Currently, I am excited to be Tulane University’s new Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education and the Designated Institutional Official. I am committed to doing my part in making progress and helping bring more success for the University, enhancing teamwork and equity, diversity and inclusion. These are two areas I am particularly passionate about. Most importantly, I want to get back to being unanimously thought of as a world-renowned institution providing outstanding education all the while continuing to provide exemplary care that we can be proud of.