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Medical Center Leadership

January 19, 2010

To: The University Community
From: Joel Seligman
Re: Medical Center Leadership

I am pleased today to report that Dr. Brad Berk will resume as chief executive officer of the Medical Center on March 1. I also am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Mark Taubman to be the dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for health sciences beginning on March 1, 2010.

Brad Berk and Mark Taubman
Bradford Berk, M.D., Ph.D. and Mark Taubman, M.D.

I am confident that Brad will resume as an effective and inspiring leader of the Medical Center on March 1. I base my confidence in part on a detailed written report from Brad’s physician, Dr. K. Rao Poduri, chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Medical Center, and on a second examination of Brad conducted by Dr. Stephen Lebduska, a specialist in spinal cord injury and chief of the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Service at the Veterans Administration in Syracuse. Both unequivocally agree that Brad will be able to effectively function as chief executive officer of the Medical Center beginning March 1, although he will continue a reduced schedule of occupational and physical therapy for some months after that.

The conclusions of Dr. Poduri and Dr. Lebduska are consistent with my own observations and those of other Medical Center senior leaders and board members with whom I consulted concerning Brad. Brad has been inspiring in public addresses. He has met with me and with the Medical Center senior leadership group on a regular basis during the past several weeks. His analytical ability is as effective as it was before his accident.

Indeed Brad is passionate about translating his personal experiences as a patient into changes that will make our Medical Center even safer, higher quality and more attentive to patients than before. Brad also intends to devote more time to Advancement initiatives as we approach the largest capital campaign in our history.

When Brad resumes as Medical Center chief executive officer, his core functions will largely continue as before, including responsibility for overall direction of the Medical Center; oversight of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health and Medical Center principal officers; strategic planning; budgets; and determining priorities for strategic planning at the Medical Center.

When he resumes there will be some changes in his direct reports so that he can devote himself to new priorities.

I am today announcing that as of March 1, 2010, Mark Taubman, who is serving with great effectiveness as Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Center, will become dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for health sciences. In these capacities, he also will serve on the University Cabinet and Senior Leadership Group. Until Brad returns as Chief Executive Officer, Mark will continue as Acting Chief Executive Officer.

Before Brad’s accident, Mark served with distinction as chair of the Department of Medicine, which is the largest single department in the Medical Center with more than 1,000 faculty and staff. Mark has more than fulfilled my belief that he was the right leader to be acting CEO of the Medical Center. He is an accomplished scientist, educator and clinician who has earned the respect of faculty and administrative leaders. He also will provide a vital sense of continuity to the Medical Center as it addresses pivotal issues, including potential new federal health care legislation.

All of us at the University and the Medical Center are grateful for the outstanding job Dr. Lissa McAnarney has performed as acting dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. I am all the more grateful to her for returning to a leadership position in the Medical Center after retiring as chair of pediatrics.

Mark soon will announce plans for a national search for the chair of the Department of Medicine. Dr. Jeffrey Peters, who is Seymour I. Schwartz Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery, will chair the search for the new chair of the Department of Medicine. Finding an outstanding new chair for the Department of Medicine is a top priority for the Medical Center. This search will begin as soon as a search committee is in place.

Let me close by expressing my special gratitude to Dr. Paul Levy for serving again as acting chair of the Department of Medicine. Paul and his leadership team have done an outstanding job in maintaining the momentum of the Department.

I am confident that the decisions announced today will strengthen the Medical Center as it continues to implement its strategic plan and to provide outstanding clinical care and community service to our community and region. We have a great leadership team at the Medical Center, which has been further strengthened by these announcements.