December 17, 2020

Year in Review 2020: Leadership appointments bolster VUMC’s missions

New leadership appointments during the past year helped strengthen Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s core missions.

Matthew Bacchetta, MD, MBA, MA, associate professor of Thoracic Surgery, was named associate chair of the Department of Thoracic Surgery.

Bacchetta, an internationally renowned National Institutes of Health-funded investigator, joined the department in 2018.


André Churchwell, MD, was named vice chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer for Vanderbilt University, a position he has held on an interim basis since June 2019.

Churchwell also continues in his role as Chief Diversity Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


Ken Clarke, MBA, MHA, joined VUMC as Senior Vice President for Laboratory Services.

From 2013 to 2017 Clarke was founder and president of Hospital Lab Partners, a company that consulted with and advised hospital and commercial labs.


Alice Coogan, MD, professor and interim chair of the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (PM&I), was named the department’s next chair. Coogan will be the seventh chair of the department and the first female chair.

Coogan, who is also executive medical director of Anatomic Pathology at VUMC, has served as the department’s interim leader since October 2019.


Shon Dwyer, MBA, RN, was named the new president of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital (VUAH). Previously, she was executive director of Michigan Medicine’s (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) University Hospital and Frankel Cardiovascular Center.


Rachel Forbes, MD, MBA, associate professor of Surgery, was appointed chief of the Division of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation in the Department of Surgery at VUMC.

Forbes, who has served as the division’s associate chief since January 2019, succeeded David Shaffer, MD, professor of Surgery, who has served as the division’s leader since 2001.


Katherine Hartmann, MD, PhD, associate dean for Clinical and Translational Scientist Development, was named Vice President of Research Integration.

The new position in research leadership was established to enhance synergy across the Medical Center.


Erik Hess, MD, MSc, was named chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. Previously, he was interim chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine.

Hess, a physician-scientist, succeeds Corey Slovis, MD, who has served as the department’s leader for the past 28 years.


Lee Ann Liska, was named chief operating officer of VUAH.

In this role, Liska is responsible for operational, people, financial, quality, safety and patient experience goals for the hospital in alignment with enterprise-wide goals.


After serving as interim director, Ben Ho Park, MD, PhD, Donna S. Hall Professor of Breast Cancer Research at VUMC, was named director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology.

He is associate director for Translational Research, co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program and director of Precision Oncology at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC).


Lori Anne Parker-Danley, PhD, was named director VUMC’s Department of Patient Education.

Parker-Danley succeeded Lane Stiles, who retired after serving as the director of Patient Education since the office was created in 2010.


Mary Pawlikowski, MA, MEd, Chief Operating Officer of Vanderbilt Behavioral Health, was named interim president of the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital (VPH), succeeding Jameson Norton, MBA.

Norton left VUMC to join Newport Healthcare as chief operating officer.


Josh Peterson, MD, MPH, professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine, was named director of the Center for Precision Medicine.

The center was founded in 2015 by Joshua Denny, MD, MS, who in January transitioned to adjunct faculty status and moved to Washington, D.C., to assume leadership of the federal government’s massive precision medicine initiative, the All of Us Research Program.


John Pope IV, MD, professor of Urologic Surgery and Pediatrics, was named director of the Division of Pediatric Urology at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

He succeeded John W. Brock III, MD, Senior Vice President of Pediatric Surgical Services, Monroe Carell Jr. Professor and Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus, who stepped down from the Division of Pediatric Urology after serving as its first and only director for 28 years. Brock continues to see patients.


After serving as interim chair, Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, Cornelius Abernathy Craig Professor of Medicine, was named chair of the Department of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief for the VUAH and Clinics.

Rathmell succeeded Nancy Brown, MD, who departed Vanderbilt to join Yale University as dean of the Yale School of Medicine.


Russell Rothman, MD, MPP, Vice President for Population Health Research, was named director of the Institute for Medicine and Public Health (IMPH), and Senior Vice President for Population and Public Health.

Rothman succeeded Robert Dittus, MD, MPH, the IMPH’s founding director, who took on a new leadership role as Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer for the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network.


After serving as interim president of Children’s Hospital, Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, was named to permanently fill the role of president.

Succeeding Rush in the role as hospital’s chief of staff is John Thomas, MD, associate professor of Pediatric Urology. Thomas previously served as an associate chief of staff.


Wesley Self, MD, MPH, was appointed Vice President for Clinical Research Networks and Strategy.

The new title recognizes the increasing leadership roles Self is playing in several important institutional initiatives, including the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) and the Trial Innovation Center (TIC).


After serving as the department’s interim leader, Eric Shinohara, MD, MSCI, vice chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at VUMC, was named as the department’s chair.


Jenny Slayton, MSN, RN, who has served as Vice President of Quality, Safety and Risk Prevention since 2016, was promoted to Senior Vice President for Quality, Safety and Risk Prevention.

In this new position Slayton serves as the Chief Quality, Safety and Risk Prevention Officer (QSRP) for VUMC and all VUMC-related entities.


Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI, a leader in health equity at VUMC and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, joined Gordon Bernard, MD, as co-principal investigator (co-PI) of Vanderbilt’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).

The $8-million-a-year federal grant supports the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR).


Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD, was named executive director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance. Previously she was director of the Office of Cancer Health Equity at Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Winkfield succeeded Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI, who served as the Alliance’s director since 2012.