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Big shoes to fill


Indiana University School of Medicine is fortunate to have many thoughtful and visionary leaders serving our school—many of whom have dedicated decades to advancing our mission.

I am using today’s column to announce that several of our faculty leaders are now planning to retire or step back from their administrative roles. In addition to recognizing their contributions, I want to share some thoughts on the types of individuals we expect to succeed them.

Among those who will be retiring are:

Robert M. Einterz, MD, the founding director of the IU Center for Global Health, will retire in January after 35 years of service to IU School of Medicine. Bob was one of four IU School of Medicine physicians who partnered with a Kenyan academic health center to form the IU-Kenya partnership three decades ago. The partnership eventually became AMPATH.

Barry P. Katz, PhD, will retire as chair of the Department of Biostatistics in June 2020. Barry joined the faculty of IU School of Medicine more than 35 years ago as one of our first biostatisticians. He helped establish the discipline as a division within the Department of Medicine and later as an independent department and was named its first chair in 2011.

Robert G. Presson, Jr., MD, chair of the Department of Anesthesia, will retire in May 2020 after nearly 33 years with IU School of Medicine, the last eight as chair. Robin has helped grow the department in part through the development of an anesthesiology assistant program and has added critically important infrastructure to support the department’s research mission.

In addition, we recently announced that Patrick J. Loehrer Sr., MD, a founding member of the IU Simon Cancer Center and its leader for the past 10 years, is stepping down as director once a successor is identified. Pat successfully led the center to receiving Comprehensive status. Robert Pascuzzi, MD, plans to relinquish his role as chair of the Department of Neurology—a title he has held in either an acting or permanent capacity for 16 years—when the next chair is in place. And Stanley Spinola, MD, will take a step back from his administrative responsibilities in January when Mark Kaplan, PhD, becomes chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. Stan has held the position since 2010.

Clearly, we are entering a time of change for the school.

It is impressive to note that each of these individuals has been with IU School of Medicine for decades—an average of 33 years—demonstrating that we are an environment where people can grow and fulfill their professional goals. Each of these leaders has built strong programs that will make us a magnet for physicians and researchers looking to make an impact.

As dean, recruiting and retaining talented leaders is one of my highest priorities. The field of medicine has experienced tremendous advances in scientific knowledge, and it is now imperative we translate that knowledge to improve care for patients. I expect that IU School of Medicine will be at the forefront of that work.

To achieve this, we need leaders who can envision the future and who can realize the promise of academic medicine and research to change people’s lives. We want individuals who are thinking broadly about how to prevent disease, and how to deliver health care that meets the needs of entire populations.

And we require leaders from diverse backgrounds who inspire excellence and who will contribute to a culture that enables everyone to do their best work.

Each of the individuals I cited leaves big shoes to fill, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service. We will celebrate Bob, Barry, Robin, Pat, Bob and Stan at the appropriate time. But, more importantly, we will honor them by building on the important groundwork they have laid.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA

Executive Vice President for University Clinical Affairs

Jay L. Hess MD, PhD, MHSA became Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice President for University Clinical Affairs at Indiana University in September 2013. Read his full bio.