Amid Plagiarism Dispute, Medical Dean Steps Down

June 20, 2011

The University of Alberta announced Friday that Philip Baker is stepping down as medical dean (although staying on as a professor). The move follows a dispute over his speech to graduates this month -- a talk that students discovered was nearly identical to one that Atul Gawande, a surgeon, gave to Stanford University medical students last year. Gawande's speech was subsequently republished in The New Yorker, and students said that one of the few changes made by Baker was leaving out a few lines about the U.S. Medicare system. In a statement Friday, Baker said he did not want to detract from the accomplishments of the graduating class. "My hope is that the university and the faculty will be able to put this unfortunate incident behind them, and that this will bring closure for the university, the faculty and my family," he said.

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