Med School dean resigns; U launches replacement search

Amy Hackbarth

University Medical School Dean Alfred Michael announced Thursday he will step down from his position in June 2002.

A national search to refill the position began immediately.

Michael said he thinks the Medical School dean should only serve a five-year tenure.

“I’ve been at the University for many years,” Michael said. “It’s a matter of heart, letting go of this position for the next person to come along.”

Michael came to the University as a post-doctoral fellow in 1960. He became a professor in 1968, teaching pediatric nephrology and in 1987 led the pediatrics department.

Michael began his stint as dean in an interim position in 1996. In the following five years he said he oversaw the sale of the hospital, improved inter-disciplinary efforts and increased funding for the school.

“Under Michael’s direction, this school is in the best shape it’s ever been in,” said Frank Cerra, University senior vice president.

Michael worked with school faculty and students in 2001 to convince the Legislature that the state needs increased funding for health care education. His efforts led to a $374 million endowment to the Academic Health Center that will be used for creating new educational programs and hiring new scientists.

The school has also operated profitably since Michael has been dean.

“When I started, the school was taking money from its reserves at a high-burn rate,” Michael said. “We’ve been able to balance the budget in ways that will support the future.”

Michael was also instrumental in strengthening the school’s focus on research, said Sarah Youngerman, Academic Health Center spokeswoman.

“Michael has done a lot in the five years he was at the helm. He’s made a lot of changes and returned this school to the research institution it used to be,” Youngerman said.

After stepping down as dean, Michael said he plans to continue his work in pediatrics as a University professor.

Cerra is currently forming a committee to determine what qualities the school will look for in a new dean.

“We’re confident that a national search will find someone of the leadership qualities that Dean Michael has given to the medical school,” Cerra said.

The school expects to have a new dean in place when Michael steps down in June, Youngerman said.

 

Amy Hackbarth welcomes comments at [email protected]