February 25, 2013
|Douglas Girod, M.D. Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs|
First order of business: Thanks to all of our crews who plowed parking lots, cleared sidewalks, kept the shuttle running (and delivered shuttle-riders to their destinations in four-wheel-drive vehicles when the shuttles got stuck) and kept other essential functions up and running during last week's snowstorm. Closing a campus of our size and complexity, with operations tied so closely to The University of Kansas Hospital and The University of Kansas Physicians, is not a decision we take lightly, so Vice Chancellor for Administration Steffani Webb, Police Chief Johnson and I are grateful to all of our colleagues who worked hard to manage a major weather event. And, as you know, another major storm is predicted for the region in the next 48 hours. We are monitoring the weather closely and keep you informed
Meanwhile, another group began a different type of heavy lifting. I'm pleased to report that we have officially begun the process of searching for a new executive dean for the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Richard Barohn, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurology and director of Frontiers: The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, has agreed to chair a search committee. Also agreeing to serve:
The executive dean is responsible for advancing the educational, clinical and research programs of the medical schools in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina. The School of Medicine is a complex organization, with numerous programs and activities spread across multiple sites. We need a proven leader who can think strategically, articulate a vision and empower the faculty and staff, and I am confident that our colleagues will find that person.
The search presents an exciting opportunity. The School of Medicine has not had a chief academic and administrative officer who has been able to concentrate solely on the school since 2005, when Barbara Atkinson, M.D., then the executive dean, added the responsibilities of executive vice chancellor. Separating the roles of executive vice chancellor and executive dean will, I believe, lead to a more engaged and creative atmosphere. Of course, I will expect the new executive dean to assist in fulfilling the three promises I have made to Kansans - that KU Medical Center will:
1. Expand the 21st century health care workforce for Kansas
2. Become a top 25 school of medicine in the U.S. News rankings
3. Be recognized as a national leader in biomedical research.
As the search for an executive dean continues, Adrian Fitzmaurice has been chairing a committee to identify a new associate vice chancellor of information resources. After a national search, Adrian and his colleagues screened 71 applicants and narrowed the field to 12 preliminary candidates who have been interviewed by telephone. From there, Adrian and his committee will narrow the field to three or four. They have several strong candidates, both internal and external, and will be conducting in-person interviews in the weeks ahead. Information technology is a crucial component of the work we do as educators, researchers and engaged members of the community. I want us to continue to improve our current systems and be ready to meet challenges that lie ahead in this fast-moving field.
A search committee is also being formed to identify a new chair for our Department of Surgery, from whom James Thomas, M.D., will retire as chair in November. Brantley Thrasher, M.D., chair of our Department of Urology, has agreed to chair that committee.
My gratitude to all of you who put in the extra effort last week, and who will be helping to find us excellent new leaders in the weeks and months ahead. Spring is just around the corner, everyone!