Medical School interviews final dean candidate

Amy Hackbarth

The search for a new University Medical School dean is winding to a close as the final candidate for the position visited the University on Monday.

Dr. Nicholas LaRusso, chairman of the internal medicine department at the Mayo Medical School, is one of five candidates vying for the dean position slated to open when Dr. Alfred Michael retires in June.

“I’m happy at Mayo, but if I were to leave and stay in academics, the logical step would be to become a dean,” LaRusso said. “I like building things and I like making a difference, and I hope this would give me the opportunity to do that.”

Roby Thompson, co-chairman of the dean search committee and Medical School administration vice provost, said LaRusso – like the other candidates – appears to be an impressive person for the job.

“Everything we’ve seen about him in preliminary reviews indicates he is a very stable, mature and respected individual,” Thompson said.

After LaRusso’s visit, the
13-person search committee will recommend three of the five candidates May 1 to be reviewed by University officials, who will make the final decision by the end of June.

The search committee reviewed more than 45 applicants’ skills and experience earlier this year. Judging on leadership qualities and educational experience, they reduced the candidate pool to 13.

After interviewing the 13 candidates, the committee selected five candidates to visit the campus and meet with University officials, faculty and students.

Dr. Eli Adashi, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, visited the University at the end of March.

Dr. Sharon Murphy, pediatrics professor at Northwestern Medical School, and Dr. Thomas Krummel, chairman of the surgery department at the Stanford University School of Medicine, met with University officials two weeks ago.

Dr. Deborah Powell, the fourth candidate, visited the campus last week. Powell is the executive dean and vice chancellor for clinical affairs at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

“I’m extremely pleased with the candidates we’ve had on campus for interviews,” Thompson said. “The faculty and students who have been to the interviews have been very impressed.”

Thompson said the committee hopes to makes its decision in the two weeks before deadline to allow University officials approximately two months to select the next dean.

If a candidate is not chosen by July 1 the officials might have to employ an interim dean, Thompson said.

Currently, Michael said he has plans to continue his work as a pediatrics professor after his retirement.