Medical School dean candidate visits campus, school officials

Amy Hackbarth

University Medical School dean candidate Dr. Eli Adashi met with school officials, faculty, students and citizens Monday on the first day of a two-day campus visit.

In an hour-long lecture delivered to more than 75 attendees, Adashi outlined his interpretation of the future of academic medical centers. He addressed the current downturn some centers have experienced and how to reshape those centers.

Adashi examined the history of academic medical centers by splitting it into two stages. Before 1973, he said, the government enacted legislation such as the 1965 Medicaid and Medicare acts that nurtured the centers.

After 1973, Adashi said, the congressional atmosphere for academic medical centers took a turn for the worse.

“Most acts that followed in 1973 Ö in a sense began the undoing of the (academic medical center),” he said.

In his guidelines for evolving centers, Adashi suggested less dependence on state funding. Instead, he advocated grants from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health.

Members of the Medical School’s student council attended Adashi’s speech to get an understanding of his beliefs before they meet with him Tuesday.

“He laid out a lot of general things, which is good, but I’d like to ask him his thoughts on education at the University in specific,” said Paul Odenbach, a fourth-year medical student and secretary of the council.

Michele Thieman, a second-year medical student and the council’s vice president, said students want to hear about education affordability and the quality of teaching at the University.

In his lecture, Adashi spoke generally on both topics and said strong leadership to govern centers’ clinical, educational and research branches is important.

“I’ve had experience in those three areas and can bring my insight to those areas,” he said.

Adashi is currently the obstetrics and gynecology chairman at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, where he directs several programs and leads an ovarian cancer research group. He has also taught at the University of Maryland.

Adashi said he considers the dean position to be a natural progression at this point in his career.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Now, I’ll have to see if it will work out,” he said.

Adashi is one of five candidates for the dean position. Other candidates will be announced if they accept the University’s invitation for a campus visit.

Dr. Alfred Michael, the current dean, will retire in June.