Dean Goldschmidt inspires med students with fitness regime

THE U: Dean Goldschmidt received a medal at the Miami Marathon. COURTESY DEAN GOLDSCHMIDT

At 18-years-old, Pascal Goldschmidt – now the dean of the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine – was on Belgium’s junior national field hockey team.

Now, at 54, he is working just as hard and has a workout regimen that allows him to compete in marathons and triathlons while maintaining his professional life.

“People are surprised [about my workouts],” Goldschmidt said. “It’s not a typical image of deans, but these workouts are important. It helps me maintain a high level of good health.”

In addition to his position as dean, Goldschmidt is the senior vice president for medical affairs and the CEO of UHealth, the university’s health system.

His workouts, although time consuming, only facilitate these duties.

“My day is very long and challenging. These workouts give me a substantial amount of energy and help me manage it,” Goldschmidt said.

His routine consists of an hour of intense cardio and weight lifting each morning. Every Sunday, Goldschmidt either runs half marathons or full triathlons on Rickenbacker Causeway.

Students join him on his Sunday ventures. Although, they usually finish at the same time, Dan Cushman, a medical student that runs with Goldschmidt, testifies that the dean does not take it easy.

“You will be running along at a steady pace then, all of a sudden, he will turn on the jets and start flying,” Cushman said.

Cushman thinks Goldschmidt’s professional life benefits from exercise in more ways than having increased energy.

“It is nice to have someone running the medical school that cares about fitness,” Cushman said. “I am sure most deans are not of the same mindset.”

On these runs, the dean will converse with students on a range of topics.

“You can run with him and talk to him, but if Goldschmidt thinks we are going too slow, he will speed up and separate himself from the pack,” said Andy Ransford, a first-year medical student.

This group is made up of mostly accomplished runners that train for triathlons and marathons.

Goldschmidt has recently competed in the 2007 Miami Marathon and the 2008 Miami Half Marathon. In both races, he placed in the top 25 in his division. He seeks to improve his standings next year.

“I look forward to moving up to the 50 to 55 age group,” Goldschmidt said. “It will be easier to rank higher.”

He credits his success in athletics to discipline.

Goldschmidt wakes up between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. to work out on the weekdays and follows a strict diet.

“I only eat fish and seafood,” Goldschmidt said. “I do not eat anything that can recognize its mother.”

His diet is not based strictly on discipline; he strongly supports animal rights.

Goldschmidt’s healthy lifestyle dates back to the early 1980s when he lived in Belgium.

He came to America in 1983 to study severe infections associated with immune deficiency at the University of San Francisco before going to the Medical University of South Carolina and then Johns Hopkins University.

Before coming to UM, Goldschmidt worked at Duke University.

“I think he has a great competitive drive to be in the position as dean and be as fit as he is for his age,” Ransford said.

Other UM Deans’ Workouts

Teresa Anne Scandura, dean of the Graduate School

Workout: Spinning

Sam Grogg, dean of the Communication School

Workout: Yoga and karate; he has earned a black belt in Taekwondo and hapkido and will test for a black belt in Shotokan karate this winter. He works out for one hour each day.

Michael Halleran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Workout: three to four days a week, he speed-walks on the treadmill or cycles on the elliptical; he weight trains two times a week and is training for the Miami Half Marathon.