Dean of the School of Medicine resigns and remains on staff |  The Emory Wheel

Dean of the School of Medicine resigns and remains on staff | The Emory Wheel

Dean of Emory University School of Medicine Vikas Sukhatme, who is also the Academic Director of Emory Healthcare, announcement on November 22 that he will step down in March 2023. He tenuous both positions for five years.

Sukhatme will remain in the School of Medicine community as a full-time faculty member. He will continue to lead the Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine, which Sukhatme co-founded with his wife, Vidula Sukhatme, at promote research, education and advocacy for affordable medical treatments with a focus on repurposed drugs. In addition, Sukhatme will teach and contribute to the “Clinics of the Future” initiative, which is still in its infancy.

“While it has been an honor and a privilege to be Dean of our medical school, it is a 24/7 job and the past few years have been particularly busy,” Sukhatme wrote in an email to the wheel. “I made the decision to resign because I wanted to spend more time with my family and pursue activities that could quickly lead to innovative, affordable, and scalable medical treatments in the near future. The Morningside Center and the Clinics Initiative of the Future both aim to do so.

The Dean of Emory University School of Medicine, Vikas Sukhatme, will step down in March 2023. Courtesy of Emory University

He wrote in a message to the School of Medicine community that he has “enormous confidence” in the current leadership, including university president Gregory Fenves, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs Ravi Bellamkonda, executive vice president for health affairs David Stephens and incoming Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Ravi Thadhani.

Emory will announce the next steps for leadership at the School of Medicine in the coming weeks. Thadhani, who will join Emory on January 1, 2023, will consult on the plans.

Sukhatme’s announcement follows a vague administrative changes over the past semester. Three of Emory’s four undergraduate schools – Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Oxford College and Goizueta Business School – were led by new deans this year, although Emory College and Oxford are still looking for permanent replacements. . The Rollins School of Public Health also has a new dean.

Before coming at Emory in November 2017, Sukhatme worked at Harvard University (Massachusetts), where he served as Director of Studies and Dean of Harvard Faculty for Academic Programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He Noted in the press release that he was inspired to join Emory because of the University’s pioneering work in medicine.

“I believed – and still believe – that Emory had the right mix of faculty excellence, a spirit of collaboration, and strategic partnerships to tackle some of medicine’s most intractable problems with a decent chance. to succeed,” Sukhatme wrote.

The School of Medicine is the largest of Emory’s nine schools, according to the press release. Sukhatme supervised more than 3,300 full-time and part-time faculty and nearly 2,500 staff. The school has more than 1,000 students.

During his tenure as Dean, Sukhatme focused on improving health outcomes across the world by removing barriers to medical innovation and developing new ways to integrate research into education and practices. patient care.

University President Gregory Fenves called Sukhatme a “transformational” leader of the medical school.

“He set ambitious goals — in training, recruiting faculty, and research to treat and cure disease — and surpassed them,” Fenves wrote in the press release. “I am grateful to him for his dedication over the past five years. He elevated the School of Medicine and set it on the path to continued success.

Sukhatme led the development of the School of Medicine Excellence to eminence strategic plan, which included the hiring of more than 90 game-changing faculty in biomedical sciences. It has also worked to enhance current faculty research through the Imagine, Innovate, Impact awards, which provides grants for proposals “with the potential to have a transformational impact on basic biomedical knowledge or translational impact”. These seed grants garnered a return on investment of more than 6:1.

Stephens and other health sciences leaders worked alongside Sukhatme to lead the construction and programming of the Health Sciences Research Building II. The project will be Emory’s largest research building and is expected opening in spring 2023.

Sukhatme has also prioritized diversity throughout his deanship. According to the press release, 30% of Emory medical students identify as historically underrepresented in medicine. In 2019, underrepresented minorities compound 24% of the MD class, skip to 33.8% by 2022.

The School of Medicine also launched its first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategic plan. Sukhatme noted that he was “delighted” with the progress of the medical school.

“The world we live in today is increasingly fractured, but medicine has incredible power to heal and connect – across race, across religious beliefs, across everything,” Sukhatme said.

The second half of Sukhatme’s tenure was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that he was “so grateful and proud” of the medical school’s successes despite these challenges. Under his leadership, the medical school reached a total of $588 million in research funding in fiscal year 2022 and saw an increase in the number of researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“I had not anticipated a global pandemic to occur during my tenure or the tumultuous times that followed, but each of you rose to the challenge with remarkable courage and resilience,” Sukhatme said. wrote. “For that, I can’t thank you enough.”

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