James N. Woodruff, MD

Professor of Medicine
Dean of Students

James N. Woodruff, MD, is the Dean of Students for the Pritzker School of Medicine. In this role, he supports medical students in their professional development, specialty selection, and residency application. A graduate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Woodruff completed his internal medicine residency and Chief Residency in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago. His eight year tenure as Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program and six year tenure as the Department of Medicine’s Vice Chair for Education provide him with broad perspective on the medical training pathway. Dr. Woodruff remains Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency with responsibility for managing 14 fellowship training programs.

Dr. Woodruff’s major educational focus has been on professional development in both student and resident medical trainees. Examples of initiatives he has led include novel programming to prepare students for their clinical clerkships, critical event counseling to harness transformative learning opportunities, aggressive longitudinal counseling to promote resident scholarship, and the creation of a formal physician scientist residency training pathway. He co-authored a chapter in the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine Program Director’s Handbook on “Mentoring in Academic Medicine”. Other work has focused on the centralization and development of new administrative resources to enhance residency and fellowship training in the age of the Accreditation Committee of Graduate Medical Education’s “New Accreditation System”.

An important feature of Dr. Woodruff’s efforts to promote professional development in both residents and students is an emphasis on social justice. As a residency director he enhanced diversity in the residency program through the implementation of a visiting clerkship program and the development of a minority resident organization. He created the University of Chicago Medicine’s first resident continuity clinic caring exclusively for uninsured patients. This clinic continues to be based in Englewood, one of Chicago’s most impoverished neighborhoods. He has enhanced quality and ethical standards of practice at the Pritzker School of Medicine’s five free clinics, at which over ninety percent of Pritzker students serve before graduation. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Provident Foundation, a community based organization that strives to enhance opportunity for South Side youth interested in health careers.

Dr. Woodruff is a practicing General Internist, caring for patients in both ambulatory and inpatient settings. For the past two years, he has served as the director for a course at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on Primary Care for Women, a unique cross-specialty collaboration between the American College of Physicians and ACOG. Dr. Woodruff is the guest editor for an upcoming edition of the North American Clinics of Obstetrics and Gynecology focusing on primary care for women, and is in the process of building out a nationwide primary care training program for Planned Parenthood.