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The People of Academic Medicine

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A list of leadership appointments, promotions, and departures in academic medicine.

Army Colonel Benjamin “Kyle” Potter, MD, was selected to chair the Department of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University’s Hebert School of Medicine, the Department of Defense medical school, effective August 2021. Dr. Potter will succeed Navy Capt. Eric Elster, MD, who was recently selected as the new Hebert School of Medicine Dean.
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Dolores B. Njoku, MD, has been named the director of pediatric anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and anesthesiologist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. With the post, she will become the new Rudolph L. and Mary Frances Wise Endowed Chair in Pediatric Anesthesiology. She also has been appointed a vice chair in the Department of Anesthesiology.
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Maria Markakis Zestos, MD, professor of anesthesiology, has been appointed chair of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology. Dr. Zestos is chief of anesthesiology at the Detroit Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
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Lisa R. Leffert, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine and chief of Anesthesiology at Yale New Haven Hospital and Bridgeport Hospital, effective Aug. 16. Dr. Leffert is associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Obstetric Anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital.
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Heidi Stuhlmann, PhD, the Harvey Klein Professor of Biomedical Sciences, has been named interim chair of the departments of Biochemistry and of Cell and Developmental Biology at Weill Cornell Medical College. The announcement came as Frederick Maxfield, PhD, recently stepped down from his role as chair of the departments. Dr. Maxfield will remain a member of the Weill Cornell faculty and will maintain his lab.

Amy J. Goldberg, MD, has been named interim dean of Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine. Dr. Goldberg previously served as chief of Temple University Hospital’s trauma/surgical critical care division, medical director of its trauma program and director of the university's general surgery residency program. She takes the helm at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine after the sudden death of former dean John M. Daly, MD, in late March.
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Michael Cain, MD, will retire from his position as vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, effective Aug. 31. Cain has served for 15 years as dean of the Jacobs School and 10 years as vice president for health sciences.
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The Lasker Foundation announced the addition of E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, to the Lasker Foundation Board of Directors. Reece is the executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM).
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Laura Castillo-Page, PhD, has been named the first chief diversity and inclusion officer at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, effective June 1. Dr. Castillo-Page currently serves as senior director for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the AAMC.
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Alicia Fernández, MD, has been named associate dean for population health and health equity at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, effective July 1. Fernández is a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine.
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Aaron Dieringer, MD, MPH, has been named assistant dean of admissions and chair of the admissions executive committee at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Dieringer is board certified in family medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), a CFAS member society.
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Grace Huang, MD, has been named dean for faculty affairs at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Huang will be responsible for strategic leadership, oversight, planning, and implementation concerning academic faculty, including all aspects of the faculty promotions and appointments process. At the AAMC, Dr. Huang has served as MedEdPORTAL editor-in-chief.
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William Merrick, PhD, has been named to the first class of fellows of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). Merrick is the CFAS rep for ASBMB, a member of the CFAS Biomedical Research and Education Committee, and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
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Jenny Womack, PhD, has been named the inaugural associate chair for faculty affairs in the Department of Allied Health Science at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, effective July 1. Womack is a professor in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at UNC School of Medicine.
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The University of Utah School of Medicine made three new leadership announcements: Wayne Samuelson, MD, has been appointed dean of medical education; Sara Lamb, MD, has been appointed vice dean of education; and Cynthia Best, MBA, has been appointed vice dean for finance and administration.
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Gwendolyn Sowa, MD, PhD, has been elected president of the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP), a CFAS-member society. Sowa is and endowed professor and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh/UPMC.
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Jameela J. Yusuf, MD, MPH, has been appointed the first woman chief medical officer at University Hospital of Brooklyn. Yusuf is chair of the SUNY Downstate Faculty and Professional Staff Personnel Policies, Promotions, and Appointments Committee.
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Rajiv Rajani, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. Rajani is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and orthopaedic oncologist.
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Ndidiamaka Amutah-Onukagha, PhD, has been appointed assistant dean for diversity and inclusion for the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine and the Public Health and Professional Degree Programs at the Tufts University School of Medicine. Amutah-Onukagha is associate professor and co-chair of the PHCM/PHPD Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism (DEAR) Council at the Tufts University School of Medicine.
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Alan Tita, MD, PhD, has been named associate dean for Global and Women’s Health at the UAB School of Medicine. Tita serves as the John C. Hauth, M.D., Endowed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, senior vice-chair for research and innovation, and director of the university-wide interdisciplinary Center for Women’s Reproductive Health at the UAB School of Medicine.
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Xiaowei Zhuang, PhD, has been named winner of the 2021 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences for pioneering the development of super-resolution microscopy and genome-scale imaging showing new spatial and functional organizations of cells and molecules. Dr. Zhuang runs her lab at Harvard University.
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FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock announced that Patrizia Cavazzoni, MD, has been named permanent director of the agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Dr. Cavazzoni previously served as the acting director of the center.
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Christopher P. Austin, MD, director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the NIH, wrote a farewell message upon his departure from the agency. “I am confident that the translational science team at NCATS and its thousands of grantees, contractors, supporters and collaborators will continue the logarithmic growth and flourishing of our field,” he wrote. Joni Rutter, PhD, will serve as acting NCATS director.
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Paul M. Katz, MD, has been named chair of the Department of Neurology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and chief of service at Temple University Health System. Dr. Katz has served as interim chair of the department since 2019.
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Matthew Tews, DO, has been named associate dean and director of Indiana University School of Medicine in West Lafayette. Dr. Tews serves as a professor of emergency medicine and associate dean for educational simulation at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.
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Behzad Soleimani, MD, has been appointed interim director of Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute, effective May 1. Dr. Soleimani previously served as surgical director of the Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at Penn State.
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Traves Crabtree, MD, has been named chief of Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine’s Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Dr. Crabtree is a professor and medical director of SIU’s Surgical Skills Laboratory in the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation.
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Peter Slavin, MD, announced plans to step down as president of Massachusetts General Hospital after more than 18 years of service at the helm of the institution. Under his leadership, hospital revenue nearly tripled and research funding more than doubled. Slavin, who is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, is also a former chair of the AAMC Board of Directors.
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Jack A. Elias, MD, announced plans to transition from the role of dean at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. A national search for his successor will begin in May. Brown has served as dean since 2013. He will take on a new senior position at Brown University to advance the development of a relationship with two local health systems to create the first integrated academic health system for Rhode Island.
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John C. Byrd, MD, has been named professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, effective July 1. Byrd is the D. Warren Brown Chair of Leukemia Research at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.
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Adam Friedman, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Friedman has served as interim chair of the department since Feb. 2019.
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Katharine Hsu, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist who specializes in immunology research and treatment of blood cancers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, has been named director of the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program, a joint program between Weill Cornell Medicine, The Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. 
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Lisa Massarweh, DNP, RN, PHN, has been named senior vice president and chief nursing officer for Albany Medical Center Hospital. She previously served as executive director of performance and workforce strategy for Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region.
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Kevin Harris, PhD, has been named interim senior associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion for the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine. Dr. Harris is a former assistant vice president for student initiatives and inclusion at VCU and the current associate vice president for strategic initiatives and engagement in VCU’s Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. He is also a former staff member at the AAMC.
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Craig Brater, MD, president and CEO of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM), will step down from his role in June 2022. Brater has served as president and CEO of AAIM for 15 years. AAIM is a CFAS member society.

R. Kevin Grigsby, DSW, will step down from his role as AAMC Senior Director of Member Organizational Development in May 2021. Grigsby has served at the AAMC since 2009, and is co-author of the three volume AAMC series, The Successful Medical School Department Chair. Prior to his arrival at the AAMC, he served as professor of Psychiatry and vice dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs for nearly a decade at Penn State College of Medicine.

Emelia J. Benjamin, MD, has been promoted to associate provost of Boston University Medical Campus Faculty Development. Benjamin was previously assistant provost of BUMC Faculty Development and is also a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine.
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Andrea Martinez Kondracke, MD, has been named director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Motefiore Medical Center. Kondracke previously served as division chief of medical psychiatry at Bellevue Medical Center.
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Leon “Lee” Jones, MD, has been named dean for medical education at Georgetown University School of Medicine, effective Aug. 1. Dr. Jones serves as health sciences clinical professor of psychiatry and associate dean for students at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He is also a member of the AAMC Board of Directors.
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E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced that he will complete his tenure as dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine at the end of the next academic year and will then return to the UMSOM faculty to lead a new center. Dr. Reece has served as dean for 16 years.
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Will Ferniany, PhD, will retire at the end of 2021 from his role as leader of the UAB Health System. Dr. Ferniany became CEO of the Health System in 2008, and is also the CEO of the new UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance. In this role, he oversees a $5 billion, 11-hospital health system. Selwyn Vickers, MD, senior vice president and dean of the UAB School of Medicine, will succeed Dr. Ferniany as CEO of UABHS and the Alliance, while continuing in his role of dean of the medical school.
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John M. Daly, MD, dean of Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine, died at home last Friday. Dr. Daly served as dean from 2002 to 2011 and was named to the post again about a month ago after serving as interim dean since October 2019.
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Michael L. Good, MD, has been appointed interim president of the University of Utah. Good previously served as CEO of University of Utah Health Sciences.
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Anne Messman, MD, has been appointed associate dean of graduate medical education at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Messman previously served as associate professor and vice chair of education for the School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine.
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Marietta Vázquez, MD, has been appointed associate dean for medical student diversity at the Yale School of Medicine, effective May 3. Vázquez is professor of pediatrics; vice chair of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine; and founder and director of the Yale Children’s Hispanic Clinic.
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Loren Laine, MD, has been named chief of Department of Internal Medicine’s Section of Digestive Diseases at Yale School of Medicine. Laine served as interim section chief since 2018.
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Justin M. Sacks, MD, has been named director of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Sydney M. Shoenberg Jr. and Robert H. Shoenberg Endowed Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
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Cecelia Calhoun, MD, MSPH, MBA, has been appointed director of the Adolescent-Young Adult Sickle Cell Program at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital. Dr. Calhoun is assistant professor of medicine and assistant professor of pediatrics at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital.
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Navy Captain Eric Elster, MD, has been named acting dean of Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine effective May 3. Elster serves as chair and Norman M. Rich Professor of Surgery for the USU Department of Surgery. He succeeds Louis Pangaro, MD, who has served as interim dean of the medical school since August 2020.
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Margaret Helton, MD, has been named chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Helton has served as interim chair of the department since the spring of 2019.
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Deborah Browning, MS, RN, has been named chief nursing officer for USA Health Children’s and Women’s Hospital. Browning most recently served as chief nursing officer at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
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Navkiran “Kiran” K. Shokar, MD, MPH, has been appointed chair of the Department of Population Health at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. Shokar is currently a tenured professor of family and community medicine and molecular and translational medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.
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Christopher Kratochvil, MD, has been appointed Global Center for Health Security Distinguished Chair at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Kratochvil serves as associate vice chancellor for clinical research, vice president for research at Nebraska Medicine and executive director for clinical research at the Global Center for Health Security at UNMC.
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Andrew Kerwin, MD, has been named chief of Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Kerwin previously served as the division chief of acute care surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville and as the associate chair of the Department of Surgery and the Trauma Medical Director of UF Health Jacksonville.
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Mary Ahn, MD, has been appointed vice provost for faculty affairs at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, effective May 1. Ahn serves as associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics and chief of child and adolescent psychiatry training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
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Asaf Keller, PhD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Keller has served as interim chair of the department for the past year and a half.
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Jeanne M. James, MD, MBA, has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s Mercy. James most recently served as chief of cardiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and was the Leigh Gabrielle Herma Endowed chair for cardiology.
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Susan Smyth, MD, PhD, has been named executive vice chancellor and dean of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine, effective June 1. Smyth serves as chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the director of the Gill Heart and Vascular Institute at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
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Gregory Postel, MD, has been named president of The University of Toledo. Postel has served in the interim role since last July and previously served as chair of the Department of Radiology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and held the positions of vice dean for clinical affairs and chair of the board at University Medical Center in Louisville.
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Marcus Lambert, PhD, has been appointed associate vice president for research strategy and operations at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. Lambert previously served as assistant dean of diversity and student life and assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University.
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J. David Baxter, MD, has been named senior associate dean for Mercer University School of Medicine’s Savannah campus. Baxter is associate professor of internal medicine at Mercer University School of Medicine.
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David Rakel, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, effective in July. Rakel serves as chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.
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Sharon Beall, MD, has been named medical director for the pediatric palliative care and hospice program at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Dr. Beall serves as associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia.
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Leslie R. Boyd, MD, has been named director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, which is part of NYU Langone’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Perlmutter Cancer Center. Dr. Boyd serves as associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship.
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Jennifer Wu, MD, MPH,  was named interim vice dean for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Wu serves as professor and senior vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and associate clinical service chief for women’s health.
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Ezequiel Silva III, MD, has been named chair of the American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee. Dr. Silva is a radiologist in San Antonio, Texas.
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Lavinia Kolarczyk, MD, has been named medical director for perioperative care redesign at UNC Health, effective March 1. Kolarczyk is associate professor of anesthesiology and division chief of cardiothoracic anesthesiology at the UNC School of Medicine.
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Gayle Halminiak has been named senior director of administration and finance at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and Jennie Parker has been named director of clinical operations and shared services at University Health. Halminiak previously served as director of operations and administration for internal medicine, pediatrics, and neurology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and Parker previously served as practice administrator for internal medicine and director of shared services.
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Gopal Thinakaran, PhD, has been appointed CEO of the Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute at University of South Florida Health. Thinakaran is a professor of molecular medicine and the Eric Pfeiffer Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s Research at USF Health.
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Chris Rokkas, MD, PhD, has been appointed the inaugural Frank P. Ittleman Chair in Cardiothoraric Surgery at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. Rokkas serves as chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery and a surgeon in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Program at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
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Ryan Calfee, MD, has been named director of the Hand and Microsurgery Service in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Calfee is an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and medical director of the Washington university and Barnes-Jewish Hospital Orthopedic Center.
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Yves Lussier, MD, has been named chair of biomedical informatics at University of Utah School of Medicine. Lussier is a professor at University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, where he also serves as associate vice president for health sciences and chief knowledge officer. He is currently director for the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics and associate director for informatics at the university’s Bio5 Institute.
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Amir Mesarwi has been named AAMC’s new chief financial and administrative officer. Bernard Jarvis previously held the role prior to his retirement earlier this month. In his new role, Mesarwi oversees all AAMC financial operations, including the accounting, business services, financial systems, procurement, budget, and payroll functions, in addition to the AAMC’s operating and capital budgets, investment portfolio, and real estate and facilities.
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