Helen Boucher was announced as the dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine, effective immediately, in an email to the Tufts community on Friday from University President Anthony Monaco and Michael Dandorph, president and CEO of Tufts Medicine. Boucher, who will also serve as the chief academic officer for Tufts Medicine, is the first woman in the medical school's 129-year history to serve as dean.
Boucher has served as dean ad interim for the school since July 2021. She has nearly 30 years of experience as a practicing physician after receiving a medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. She served as the director of Tufts Medical Center’s Infectious Diseases Fellowship program for 14 years and is globally recognized for her work researching staph bacteria, according to the Friday email.
Monaco and Dandorph explained that Boucher serves as both the dean and CAO in order to “help strengthen and deepen the relationship between Tufts University and Tufts Medicine.”
“There is no one more qualified than Helen to continue this work,” Monaco and Dandorph wrote. “Over the past 15 months, Helen has led the integration effort between the two organizations and has brought fresh vision and ingenuity to her role as dean ad interim.”
They also highlighted Boucher’s responsibility in advancing the school's research programs, philanthropic goals and commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution.
In an interview with TuftsNow, Boucher pointed to the Tufts Center for Black Maternal Health and Reproductive Justice and the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medicine, which is the only one in the United States, as examples of the school and Tufts Medicine’s commitment to healthcare justice, an issue Boucher is passionate about.
“I'm thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to continue to grow and evolve the school's culture of excellence, and to ensure that we're developing the health care workforce that our world needs now and in the future,” Boucher told TuftsNow. “We face a growing national physician shortage, and Tufts has a huge role in educating the doctors of the future to meet the demand for more physicians in our country, as well as other health care professionals through our physician assistant, physical therapy and public health programs.”
Boucher reflected on how her appointment to this position welcomes her as the first woman in charge of the school.
“It's a huge privilege, a big responsibility, and I take it very seriously,” Boucher told TuftsNow. “I am still one of few women — and sometimes the only woman — at the table. I feel an obligation to set a good example of the excellent work that women do in this space, and I mentor young women who are interested in careers in science and medicine.”
She explained how her identity informs her commitment to healthcare justice and her work as dean.
“It's very important to advocate for equitable access to health care for all people, especially for women and children,” Boucher said to TuftsNow. “I’m a practicing Catholic. … But in all things, especially the aftermath of the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, it is imperative that we focus on the importance of health care being available for every person and medical decisions being doctor-patient decisions.”